Page:Lives of Poets-Laureate.djvu/50

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incident to account in some plaintive pastorals; and, under the name of Menalcas, took satisfactory vengeance on his rival in the shape of satire.

To relieve his despondency, or perhaps to dissipate his idleness, Harvey urged him to remove to London, and obtained his introduction to Sir Philip Sydney. Sydney presented him to his uncle the Earl of Leicester. He was invited to Penshurst, the princely domain of the Sydneys in Kent, where he stayed a few months, doubtless assisting his patron in his studies, and returned with him to London, as, in October, 1579, we find him writing to Harvey from Leicester House.

In 1579, Spenser, in a letter to his friend, several times alludes to his prospect of travelling abroad; and in some Latin lines enclosed, intimates that his journey may stretch, not only to the Alps and Pyrenees, but beyond, to the inhospitable Caucasus and to Babylon. This was some proposed appointment as agent for the Earl of Leicester—a project, however, which proved abortive—as, from the first, had appeared likely, and probably as the poet hoped. In the following year, Lord Grey of Wilton, was appointed Lord Deputy of Ireland. This nobleman was a connection of the Earl of Leicester; and on his recommendation, took out Spenser with him as his secretary. This first offer of employment was speedily followed by a second, as in March of the following year, 1581, the poet became clerk to the Irish Court of Chancery; and in the same year the Queen conferred on him the grant of a lease of the Abbey of Iniscorthy or Enniscorthy, with the castle and manor attached, in the county of Wexford, at an annual rent of ₤300. 6s. 8d., on condition of keeping the buildings in repair. This property—the estimated value of which, at the commencement of the present century, was ₤8,000 per annum—he conveyed, by indenture, on the 9th December, 1581, to