tained. Spenser was charged with detaining sixteen ploughlands which Roche claimed as his own property. At length, by a judgment of the court of chancery in Dublin, Lord Roche was, on 12 Feb. 1594, decreed possession of the lands in debate. Perhaps as a consequence Spenser resigned in the same year his clerkship of the Munster council.
In 1594 Spenser sent to Ponsonby for publication his ‘Amoretti and Epithalamion,’ which was licensed for publication on 19 Nov. 1594, and appeared next year with a dedication by the publisher to Sir Robert Needham, who brought the manuscript to London. In 1595 Ponsonby also issued ‘Colin Clouts come home againe,’ with an appendix of elegies on Spenser's late friend Sir Philip Sidney. Spenser was only author of the opening elegy—the beautiful ‘Astrophel, a pastorall elegie.’ On the eve of his marriage in 1594 he had completed three more books of the ‘Faerie Queene’ (sonnet lxxx.), and at the close of 1595 he himself brought them and some small pieces to London. The ‘second parte of the Faery Queen, containing the 4, 5, and 6 bookes,’ was licensed for publication by Ponsonby on 20 Jan. 1595–6, and appeared soon afterwards, again in quarto. The new instalment illustrated allegorically the characters of Justice, Friendship, and Courtesy respectively. The popularity of the second volume (with which a second edition of the first was often bound up) was as pronounced as that of its forerunner. But a part of its subject-matter exposed it to censure. In the fourth book—on Justice—the poet reflected unsympathetically on the fate of Mary Queen of Scots, whom he portrayed under the name Duessa. James VI of Scotland complained to Robert Bowes, the English ambassador at Edinburgh, of these dishonouring reflections on his mother, and Bowes, in repeating the king's complaint to Burghley, urged that Spenser might be punished (cf. Cal. Scottish State Papers, 1509–1603, pp. 723–4, 747). But friends abounded, especially in court circles. In the autumn he was with the court at Greenwich, still hopeful of preferment. From Greenwich on 1 Sept. 1596 he dated his dedication to two ladies of rank (Margaret, countess of Cumberland, and Mary, countess of Warwick) of his ‘Foure Hymnes made by Edmond Spenser’ (London, by Ponsonby, 1596). Two of the poems—hymns in honour of love and beauty—had been long in circulation in manuscript. The two new poems celebrated ‘heavenly love’ and ‘heavenly beauty,’ and he described them, perhaps not quite literally, as ‘a palinode in regard to the earlier efforts.’ In November Spenser was staying with the Earl of Essex at Essex House, where he had lived in former years while it belonged to Leicester. On 8 Nov. 1596 there were married at Essex House two daughters of Edward Somerset, fifth earl of Worcester [q. v.], and in honour of this double marriage Spenser penned the latest, and one of the most fascinating, of his poems—his ‘Prothalamion’ (London, for William Ponsonby, 1596, 4to).
The most elaborate work that Spenser wrote during this London visit was in prose, and, although licensed for issue on 14 April 1598, was published posthumously. This was his ‘View of the Present State of Ireland, discoursed by way of a Dialogue between Eudoxus and Irenæus,’ a work of very considerable knowledge and shrewdness, the fruit of keen observation and assiduous thought. Spenser wrote of Ireland altogether from the point of view of the Elizabethan Englishman. He allowed no recognition of Irish claims and rights. English laws were to be enforced and Irish nationality to be uprooted by the sword. Sir James Ware, who first printed the tract, deplored Spenser's want of charity, and other Irish writers assert that Spenser's harsh sentiments long rendered his name abhorrent to the native population (cf. Hardiman). But in his ‘View’ the poet acknowledged defects in the existing English rule, and denounced, in anticipation of Swift, the ignorance and degradation of the protestant clergy and the unreadiness of the new settlers to take advantage by right methods of cultivation of the natural wealth of the soil. Spenser contemplated another work on the antiquities of Ireland of which there is no trace.
Very early in 1597 Spenser returned from London to Kilcolman depressed in mind and in failing health. In the ‘Prothalamion’ he wrote of himself as one
whom sullein care,
Through discontent of my long fruitless stay
In Princes court and expectation vayne,
Of idle hopes which still doe fly away
Like empty shaddowes, did afflict my brayne.
On 30 September 1598 he was appointed sheriff of Cork, and was described in the royal letter as ‘a gentleman dwelling in the county of Cork who is well known unto you all for his good and commendable parts, being a man endowed with good knowledge and learning, and not unskilful or without experience in the wars.’ The storm that had long been gathering among the native Irish was then on the point of bursting. On 14 Aug. 1598 Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone [q. v.], the great Irish chieftain, had defeated an English army at the Yellow Ford on the Blackwater. The spirit of discon-