Spenser, Edmund (1552?–99), English poet. His most famous poem, The Faerie Queene (1590, 1596), considered a classic in English literature, is an allegory—a story in which people or personified things represent qualities and virtues in addition to their human character. Spenser projected that his masterpiece would contain 12 sections, or books, but at the time of his death only 6 of those books were completed. He lived in the Elizabethan age, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Through her, monies and political position (sheriff of Cork, in Ireland, 1598) were granted to Spenser. Some of his other poems include The Shepheardes Calendar (1579), Colin Clouts Come Home Againe (1595), and Amoretti (1595)—a collection of sonnets that includes a famous poem about marriage, “Epithalamion.” Although born and educated in England, Spenser lived his adult life in Ireland.