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[143] 1580, he accompanied Lord Grey de Wilton to Ireland as Secretary, and in that country he spent the rest of his life, with occasional flying visits to England to publish poems or in search of preferment. His residence in that country has been compared to that of Ovid in Pontus. And, no doubt, there were certain outward points of likeness. The Irishry by whom he was surrounded were to the full as savage, as hostile, and as tenacious of their ancestral habitudes as the Scythians1 who made Tomi a prison, and the descendants of the earlier English settlers had degenerated as much as the Mix-Hellenes who disgusted the Latin poet. Spenser himself looked on his life in Ireland as a banishment. In his ‘Colin Clout's come Home again’ he tells us that Sir Walter Raleigh, who visited him in 1589, and heard what was then finished of the ‘Faery Queen,’—

'Gan to cast great liking to my lore
And great disliking to my luckless lot,
That banisht had myself, like wight forlore,
Into that waste, where I was quite forgot.
The which to leave thenceforth he counselled me,
Unmeet for man in whom was aught regardful,
And wend with him his Cynthia to see,
Whose grace was great and bounty most rewardful.

But Spenser was already living at Kilcolman Castle (which, with 3,028 acres of land from the forfeited estates of the Earl of Desmond, was confirmed to him by grant two years later), amid scenery at once placid and noble, whose varied charm he felt profoundly. He could not complain, with Ovid,—
Non liber hic ullus, non qui mihi commodet aurem,
for he was within reach of a cultivated society, which gave him the stimulus of hearty admiration both as poet and scholar. Above all, he was fortunate in a seclusion

1 In his prose tract on Ireland, Spenser, perhaps with some memory of Ovid in his mind, derives the Irish mainly from the Scythians.

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