Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage

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Sir James Ware


Sir James Ware (1594-1666) was educated at Trinity College, Dublin. As an antiquarian and historian of things Irish, his achievement is monumental. Sir James was the editor of Spenser's View. Apart from the notice of Spenser's life attached to that edition (which is all that is printed here), a briefer account can be found in De Scriptoribus Hiberniae (1639).

The Preface to A View of the Present State of Ireland (1633), sigs. 34; repr. Variorum Spenser, The Prose Works, pp. 531-2:

How far these collections may conduce to the knowledge of the antiquities and state of this Land, let the fit reader judge: yet something I may not passe by touching Mr Edmund Spenser and the worke it selfe, lest I should seeme to offer injury to his worth, by others so much celebrated. Hee was borne in London of an ancient and noble family, and brought up in the Vniversitie of Cambridge, where (as the fruites of his after labours doe manifest) he mispent not his time. After this he became Secretary to Arthur Lord Grey of Wilton, Lord Deputy of Ireland, a valiant and worthy Governour, and shortly after for his services to the Crowne, he had bestowed upon him by Queene Elizabeth, 3000. acres of land in the Countie of Corke. There he finished the later part of that excellent poem of his Faery Queene, which was soone after unfortunately lost by the disorder and abuse of his servant, whom he had sent before him into England, being then a rebellibus (as Camdens words are) e laribus ejectus at bonis spoliatus.1 He deceased at Westminster in the yeare 1599. (others have it wrongly 1598.) soone after his returne into England, and was buried according to his owne desire, in the collegiat Church there, neere unto Chaucer, whom he worthily imitated, (at the costes of Robert Earle of Essex,) whereupon this Epitaph was framed,

1Annal rer. Anglic, et Hibern. pag. 729, edit. 1625.


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