Spenser in Ireland

Spenser in Ireland

Spenser in Ireland

Spenser in Ireland

Excerpt

To consider Spenser as a poet, to travel through his "realme of Faerie," sharing in the adventures of his heroes and heroines, be they creatures of heathen mythology, or embodied conceptions of Christian virtues, would be a pleasant task. The many enchanting pictures with their dream-like atmosphere, the matchless melody of the verse, could charm one to forget that it is an allegory, and meant to instil moral lessons. Furthermore, one might cease to remember that Spenser was not always the unpractical weaver of magic fancies, but could become on occasion the ruthless apostle of coercive government, the grimly precise exponent of the statecraft of Elizabethan England.

Few of the Poet's admirers care to dwell on this harsh side of his personality; there is an uneasy feeling that some apology is needed for the violence of his views on Ireland, and consequently, his political tract gets only brief notice, or an attempt is made to justify him by assuming that the Irish were indeed as uncivilised and as brutal as he paints them. The case from the opposite point of view . . .

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