The story of Edmund Spenser is one of acceptance by one's peers but not by the populace. One of the very greatest of the Renaissance poets (which included William Shakespeare, Sir Philip Sidney, and Christopher Marlowe), Edmund Spenser, the "Poet's Poet", was born into a working-class family, unlike many of the other poets of the time. After attending the Merchant Taylors' School on a scholarship alotted to a poor man's son, he went on to Cambridge University as a "sizar". During just his first year at Cambridge his poems were published.

After graduating from Cambrige University with a M.A degree in 1576, Spenser served in a variety of positions, including that of secretary to the Earl of Leicester. While employed at this position, he met Sir Philip Sidney and become one in a select literary group.

In 1580 Spenser took the position of secretary to the Lord Deputy of Ireland, from whom he acquired Kilcolman Castle, where he did much of his writing. His unfinished work, The Faerie Queen, impressed a collegue to the point that he convinced Spenser to get it published. Well it was that he did, because The Faerie Queen established Spenser as the leading poet of his day. Dedicated to Queen Elizabeth I, it brought him a small pension, but not what he truly desired: a position at court. If one had a position at court, he could mingle with the other bigwigs of the poetry community. He later published his sonnet cycle Amoretti (written in his own arrangement, the Spenserian Sonnet).

Alas, Irish rebels destroyed his castle and he died on January 13, 1599, without ever attaining a position at court, or gaining acceptance outside the literary community. He died a broken man, indeed.