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and read him with attentive, studious painfulness; which constant desire whosoever hath in him, hath already past half the hardness of the way, and therefore is beholden to the philosopher but for the other half. Nay, truly, learned men have learnedly thought, that where once reason hath so much overmastered passion, as that the mind hath a free desire to do well, the inward light each man hath in itself, is as good as a philosopher's book: since in nature we know it is well to do well, and what is well and what is evil, although not in the words of art which philosophers bestow upon us; for out of natural conceit the philosophers drew it. But to be moved to do that which we know, or to be moved with desire to know, hoc opus hic labor est.
Now, therein, of all sciences (I speak still of human, and, according to the human conceit) is our poet the monarch. For he doth not only shew the way, but giveth so sweet a prospect into the way, as will entice any man to enter into it: Nay, he doth, as if your journey should lie through a fair vineyard, at the' very first, give you a cluster of grapes; that, full of that taste, you may long to pass farther. He beginneth not with obscure definitions; which must blur the margent with interpretations, and load the memory with doubtfulness; but he cometh to you with words set in delightful proportion, either accompanied with, or prepared for,
the well enchanting skill of music; and with a tale, forsooth, he cometh unto you, with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney corner; and pretending no more, doth intend the winning of the mind from wickedness to virtue; even as the child is often brought to take most wholesome things, by hiding them in such other as have a pleasant taste: which if one should begin to tell them the nature of the aloes or rhubarbarum they should receive, would sooner take their physic at their ears than their mouth. So is it in men (most of whom are childish in the best things, till they be cradled in their graves). Glad they will be to hear the tales of Hercules, Achilles, Cyrus, Æneas; and hearing them, must needs hear the right description of wisdom, valour, and justice; which, if they had been barely (that is to say, philosophically) set out, they would swear they be brought to school again.
3. Sidney wrote also a pamphlet, published among the Sidney-papers, in answer to the famous libel, entitled, "Leicester's Commonwealth;" in which he defends his uncle with great spirit; particularly in respect of what had been said of him in derogation of his honour.
Sidney's works complete were reprinted in 1725, in 3 vols. 8vo.`
As a writer, lord Brook says of him, "that his end was not writing, even while he wrote; nor his knowledge moulded for tables or schools; but both his wit and understanding bent upon his heart to make himself and others, not in words or opinion, but in life and action, good and great."
THE divine author of the Faery Queen be longs rather to a poetical than a prose series of writers; in prose, he has left only one small though valuable work. Spencer was born in London, about the year 1553; and descended from the ancient and honourable family of Spencer, of which himself was the greatest honour. "The nobility of the Spencers (says Gibbon) has been illustrated and enriched by the trophies of Marlborough; but I exhort them to consider the Faery Queen as the most precious jewel of their coronet." He was admitted, in 1569, at Pembroke-hall, Cambridge, in the humble academical rank of sizer; and having taken his degrees in arts, quitted the university, as supposed, and went
to reside with some relations in the north of
At Cambridge, he had become acquainted with Gabriel Harvey of Trinity-hall, by whose advice he removed, in 1578, to London. Here, Harvey introduced him to sir Philip Sidney, who extended towards him his generous and elevating friendship, and introduced him to the earl of Leicester, who gave him an appointment as agent in France and other parts, though it proved abortive. Soon after, however, or in 1580, lord Grey being appointed lord lieutenant of Ireland, Spencer attended him in quality of secretary; but his lordship being recalled two years after, Spencer returned with him to England, where he continued till the death of his noble-hearted friend, sir Philip Sidney-a loss he never ceased to lament.
He obtained, in 1586, a grant of above 3000 acres out of the forfeited lands of the earl of Desmond, which, as he was obliged by his patent to cultivate, caused his removal to Ireland. His residence was at the castle of Kilcolman, in the county of Cork, where he was visited by sir Walter Ralegh, in whose company he came to England, and by whom he was introduced at court. Elizabeth granted him