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P R E F A C E.

S every original work, whether of the poet, philofopher, or historian, represents, mirrour-like, the sentiments,

ideas and opinions, of the writer; so the knowledge of what relates to the life, family, and friendships of such an author, must in many instances illustrate his writings; and his writings again reflect the image of the inward man. What wonder therefore, if our curiosity is excited to get some kind of intimacy with those, whom from their writings we cannot but esteem, and that we listen to every tale told of them with any degree of probability, or even suffer ourselves to be imposed on by invented stories? We have several traditionary tales of very uncertain authority recorded of ancient authors; because commentators and critics, knowing the inquisitive dispositions of the readers, and oftentimes not furnished with true materials, set their inventions to work to impose with mere conjectures. But while they are thus inventing, they often forget to attemper their tales with proper time and circumstances ; and consequently the ill-supported story falls to the ground; and if not well invented is soon despised. There are various sorts of traditionary tales told of Spenser; some of which want chronology to support them, and others, better supported, have gain'd credit. The following is one of those ill-timed stories handed down to us, first mentioned, I believe, by the editor of his works in Folio, anno 1679. “ Mr. Sidney (after“ wards Sir Philip) then in full glory at Court was the person, " to whom Spenser designed the first discovery of himself; and


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“ to that purpose took an occasion to go one morning to Lei“ cester-house, furnisht only with a modest confidence, and the « IXth canto of the ift Book of his Fairy Queen. He waited « not long e're he found the lucky season for an address of the

paper to his hand; who having read the XXVIIIth stanza of « Despair (with some signs in his countenance of being much ~ affected and surpriz’d with what he had read) turns suddenly os to his fervant, and commands him to give the party, that pre“ sented the verses to him 50 pounds; the steward stood speech

less, and unready, till his malter, having past over another “ stanza, bad him give him a hundred pounds; the servant some" thing stagger'd at the humour his master was in, mutter’d to “ this purpose, That by the semblance of the man that brought “ the paper, five pounds would be a proper reward; but Mr.

Sidney having read the following stanza commands him to

give him 200 pounds, and that very {peedily, least advancing « his reward proportionably to the height of his pleasure in read« ing, he should hold himself obliged to give him more than he « had : Withal he sent an invitation to the poet, to see him at « those hours, in which he would be most at leisure. After this “ Mr. Spenser by degrees so far gained upon him, that he be« came not only his patron, but his friend too; entred him at “ Court, and obtained of the Queen the grant of a pension to “ him as Poet Laureat: But in this his fate was unkind; for it “ prov'd only a poetical grant; the

payment after a “ time being stopt by a great councellour, who studied more " the Queen's profit than her diversion, and told her 'twas be

yond example to give so great a pension to a ballad-maker.” *This story is deficient in point of Chronology, otherwise not illinvented, because 'tis plain from Spenser's Pastorals, first published in the year 1579, and from the notes printed with them by his friend E. K. (whose name was Kerke, if I guess right) that he was known to Sir Philip Sidney before the publication of them. Hear what Hobbinol fays in the Fourth Eclogue,

very short


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