Publication Date



borderer, English settlements in Ireland, colonialism


In 1581[–82], Lodowick Bryskett wrote to Sir Francis Walsingham about giving up his position as an administrator to take up the 'perillous' life of a 'borderer', one who sought social and financial 'securitie' from land on the borders of English settlements in Ireland: 'I meane to make proofe (God willing) whether the lyfe of a borderer in this land be a lyke perillous vnto all men, and to see if a just and honest simple lyfe, may not even among the most Barbarous people of the world breede securitie to him that shall live nere them or emong them'. The concerns that Bryskett raises here are common to his time and to his position as an Englishman involved in the colonial settlement of Ireland. These concerns are shared by Bryskett's friend, Edmund Spenser, also a 'borderer' in Ireland. Indeed, the notion of the border, with its attendant anxieties and defenses, is of key interest in Spenser's political and historical work, A View of the Present State of Ireland. The View, presented as a dialogue between Eudoxus, the English voice, and Irenius, the voice of the English official in Ireland, sets out strategies and defenses by which the English can secure their claim to Irish territory.