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age. Wither, Ben Jonson, and Warton have extolled its merits in the warmest terms.
Sidney was disappointed in love, having been sincerely attached to Lady Penelope Devereux, to whom he addressed several of his sonnets and minor poems, under the fictitious names of “ Philoclea” and “Stella.” She did not return his affection, and married another. This disappointment did not prevent him from forming a matrimonial connexion with the only daughter of his old friend, Sir Francis Walsingham, which took place in 1583. Shortly after his nuptials the Queen conferred upon him the honour of knighthood. In about two years from the date of his marriage, he projected, with Sir Francis Drake, an expedition against the Spaniards, in the West Indies. Her Majesty, however, retaining her friendship for him, ordered him not to leave the kingdom; and it is asserted that the same feeling of attachment on the part of the Queen, prevented him from accepting an offer of the crown of Poland. In 1585 his royal mistress, to mark the high sense she entertained of his merits, and the admiration with whicb she regarded his genius and talents, appointed him governor of Flushing. A war was going on at this time between the Spaniards and the Hollanders, which afforded Sir Philip Šidney an opportunity of exhibiting his skill and courage in a military capacity. He commanded the troops in an engagement which took place under the walls of the town of Zutphen, in Guelderland. In this encounter he behaved with the utmost coolness and gallantry. He had one horse shot under him; and in his third charge received a wound from a musket ball in his left thigh, which proved mortal. After several days of acute suffering, this eminent individual expired in the arms of Lady Sidney, and of his faithful Secretary, Sir William Temple, on the 7th of October, 1586, in the thirty-third year of his age. His remains were conveyed to England, and interred in old St. Paul's Cathedral on the 16th February, 1587. The body lay several days in state; and as a testimony of respect for his high character and attainments, a general mourning was observed throughout the kingdom. His funeral
was conducted with great pomp, and attended by seven deputies, one from each of the seven provinces, and by a considerable number of the English nobility. Elegies on his death were written by men distinguished for learning and genius, amongst whom was Edmund Spenser.
In addition to the works we have enumerated, Sidney wrote several miscellaneous productions. Of these, the most admired are his songs and sonnets, some of which are of the highest order of poetical merit. The most interesting account of him that has appeared is his life by Dr. Zouch. The few facts contained in the preceding narrative have been taken from a memoir in « The Penny Cyclopedia." His character and accomplishments have been the theme of universal panegyric. The well-known anecdote related of his noble conduct to the dying soldier on the field of battle, after he was wounded, exhibits one of the many fine traits which adorned his character. It is thus narrated by his biographer: “in which sad progress, passing along by the rest of the army, where his uncle the general was, and being thirsty with drink, which was presently brought him; but as he was putting the bottle to his mouth, he saw a poor soldier carried along, who had eaten his last at the same feast, ghastly casting his eyes op to the bottle, which Sir Philip perceiving, took it from his head before he drank, and delivered it to the poor man with these words. “Thy necessity is greater than mine."" This rare instance of humanity to a suffering fellow-creature, unmixed with any selfish motive to detract from its merit, is beyond all praise. Campbell, in his “Specimens of the British Poets," observes with reference to this interesting occurrence: “traits of character will distinguish great men independent of their pens or swords; perhaps the anecdote of Sir Philip Sidney's generosity to the dying soldier, speaks more powerfully to the heart than the whole volume of elegies in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, that were published at his death by the Universities.”
There seems to be no diversity of opinion as to the high character and varied accomplishments of this eminent individual. The judgment of the public, however, is not
unanimous with regard to his claims as an author. By one class of critical writers, his works have been praised much beyond their merit; by another, including Hazlitt and Campbell, they have not been cordially appreciated; whilst it has been admitted by all, that Sidney's talents and acquirements, his refined manners and polished taste, his gallantry and nobleness of disposition, placed him in an exalted rank amongst the most distinguished persons of his age and nation. The author of the masterly criticism on his works, in the second volume of “The Retrospective Review," from which we have already made an extract, sums up a review of his character with the following eloquent remarks: -“Few characters, indeed, appear so well fitted to excite enthusiastic ad. miration as Sir Philip Sidney. Uniting all the accom plishments which youthful ardour and universality of talent could acquire or bestow-delighting nations with the varied witchery of his powers, and courts with the fascination of his address-leaving the learned astonished with his proficiency, and the ladies enraptured with his grace-and communicating wherever he went, the love and spirit of gladness—he was, and well deserved to be, the idol of the age he lived in. He was, indeed, if ever there was one, a gentleman, finished and complete, in whom mildness was associated with courage, erudition modified by refinement, and courtliness dignified by truth. England will ever place him among the noblest of her sons; and the light of chivalry, which was his guide and beacon, will ever lend its radiance to illuminate his tombstone and consecrate his memory.” Shakspeare's well-known lines are peculiarly applicable to this illustrious ornament of his country :
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword,
The observed of all observers. S. C. Hall, the editor of the “ Book of Gems,” a delightful and instructive volume, pays a brief but impressive tribute to the genius of this chivalrous poet.
"It is impossible to look through an impartial medium at the genius of Sir Philip Sidney. It has the same
privileges that adorned his life. His wit and understanding,' says his friend, Lord Brooke, beat upon his heart, to make himself and others, not in word and opinion, but in life and action, good and great.' Thie beating of the heart includes almost all that we would say. The sweetness of his poetry, its exquisite and pensive softness, its delicacy and fanciful richness, may be all referred to this, and to this alone, for in no other poet are they felt, as we feel them in Sidney, joined in immediate and most subtle union with the personal refinement of the poet's nature. Its main defects arise, as we apprehend, from the occasional ill-harmonized connexion which is seen in it between the high heroic, and the simple pastoral. His sonnets we consider exquisite. Judge Sir Philip Sidney in all things by his own standard, and he will be found in all things more than worthy of his undying fame."
The late Charles Lamb, an excellent judge of poetry, and himself a poet of no ordinary merit, has praised the sonnets of Sir Philip Sidney as models of grace
and sweetness. “I speak of the best of them,” says he, " as the very best of their sort, though they fall below the plain moral dignity, and sanctity, and high, yet modest spirit of self-approval of Milton in his compositions of a similar structure. The general beauty of them is, that they are so perfectly characteristical. The spirit of learning and of chivalry shines through them. But they are not rich in words only—in vain and unlocalized feelings——the failing too much of some poetry of the present day, they are full, material, and circumstantiated. Time and place appropriate every one of them. An historical thread runs through them, which almost affixes a date to them-marks the when and where they were written."
Dr. Nathan Drake, in his agreeable work, published under the title of " Mornings in Spring, or Retrospections, Biographical, Critical, and Historical,” has written an interesting memoir of Sir Philip Sidney and his accomplished sister, the Countess of Pembroke. The account of the young soldier's death, and of the pious way in which his last hours were spent, is feelingly described.
Its manifest tendency is to awaken in the youthful mind reflections of a religious nature. “It can scarcely be necessary to say," says his biographer, “after record ing this almost unrivalled instance of self-denying virtue, that the period which elapsed between his wound and his departure was passed by Sir Philip in preparing for eternity, with the faith and devotional fervour of a Christian. As an example which might greatly benefit others, he made a public confession of his faith to the ministers who encircled his bed—a confession which is said 'to have been such as no book but the heart could truly and feelingly deliver. Nothing indeed could transcend the piety and tranquillity with which this great and amiable man awaited the approach of death. He had delighted, notwithstanding his pain and languor, to discourse with his friends on the sublimest truths of religion, on the immortality of the soul, and the state of the blessed hereafter; and such, on the day of his decease, was the perfect serenity of his mind, that, after dictating a codicil to his will, he expressed a wish for music, and particularly for the performance of a solemn ode, which he had composed on the probable issue of the accident which had befallen him. And thus, with every faculty soothed to peace and harmony, he turned his dying eyes upon his brother, and bade him farewell, in language worthy of being held in everlasting remembrance : 'Love my memory,' he exclaimed ; cherish my friends : their faith to me may assure you that they are honest. But, above all, govern your will and affection by the will and word of your Creator, in me beholding the end of this world, with all her vanities;' and having said this, he expired.”
The portraits drawn by Dr. Drake, and by other biographers of an earlier date, of Sir Philip Sidney's intellectual and moral character, leave no doubt of the fact, that he was not only a finished model of what a perfect gentleman should be --- learned and accomplished, even beyond the intellectual age which his genius adorned, but that he was something still better, a virtuous, honest, and noble-minded man.
He was sin gularly fortunate in possessing parents endowed with