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It was indeed a critical time. The death of the Duke of Anjou and the assassination of the Prince of Orange made it imperatively necessary for the Protestant powers to keep a watchful eye on the Low Countries, and to prevent them from falling into the hands of Philip II. The Catholic powers, Spain, Rome, and the Jesuit faction in France, were becoming alarmingly active. In the summer of 1585 a deputation from the Netherlands offered Elizabeth the sovereignty of the United Provinces. This she declined, but she agreed to send over an army of five thousand foot and a thousand horse, equipping and paying them out of the English Exchequer, insisting however on holding the towns of Flushing and Brill as security for the liquidation of the debt. The conditions were accepted, and Leicester was nominated commander-in-chief of the queen's forces in the Netherlands, while Sidney was appointed governor of Flushing. He left Gravesend on November 16, and two days later arrived at Flushing. In his responsible post he had many difficulties to contend with ; and disappointment and sorrow added to his burdens. Leicester having appointed him to a military post, a rival candidate, one Count Hohenlohe, took exception to the appointment on the ground that Sidney was a foreigner and appealed to Elizabeth, and Elizabeth took the Count's part. Not long afterwards he heard first the news of his father's death and then of his mother's, to both of whom he was deeply attached. He was anxious to serve in the field, but his uncle wished him to confine himself to his duties at Flushing. In one brilliant action, however, he contrived, without his uncle's knowledge, to take a part, and that was in the capture of Axel, a village about twenty miles from Flushing ; but on joining the main army at Arnheim in hope of further military service, he was ordered by Leicester at once to return to his duties at Flushing. In September Zutphen was invested, and Sidney, still burning to obtain
distinction in the field, joined the forces as a volunteer and knight errant', attaching himself to Sir John Norris, who divided the command with Count Lewis William of Nassau. The circumstances under which he met his death were these. It had been reported to Leicester that a troop of Spaniards would, at daybreak on the 22nd of September, convey provisions into Zutphen. Leicester accordingly ordered Norris and Sir William Stanley, with three hundred horsemen, to intercept them. This force Sidney and his brother Robert joined. What ensued may be told in Fulke Greville's words:
.. Meeting the Marshall of the Camp lightly armed (whose honour in that art would not suffer this unenvious Themistocles to sleep) the unspotted emulation of his heart, to venture without any inequalitie, made him cast off his Cuisses; and so, by the secret influence of destinie, to disarm that part, where God (it seems) had resolved to strike him. Thus they go on, every man in the head of his own Troop; and the weather being misty, fell unawares upon the enemie, who had made a strong stand to receive them, near to the very walls of Zutphen; by reason of which accident their Troops fell, not only unexpectedly to be engaged within the levell of the great shot, that played from the Rampiers, but more fatally within shot of their Muskets, which were layd in ambush within their own trenches.
Now whether this were a desperate cure in our Leaders, for a desperate disease; or whether misprision, neglect, audacity, or what else induced it, it is no part of my office to determine, but onely to make the narration clear, and deliver rumor, as it passed then, without any stain, or enammel.
Howsoever, by this stand, an unfortunate hand out of those forespoken Trenches, brake the bone of Sir Philips thigh with a Musket-shot. The horse he rode upon, was rather furiously cholleric, than bravely proud, and so forced him to forsake the field, but not his back, as the noblest and fittest biere to carry a Martiall Commander to his grave. In which sad progress, passing along by the rest of the Army, where his Uncle the Generall was, and being thirstie with excess of bleeding, he
called for drink, which was presently brought him; but as he was putting the bottle to his mouth, there was a poor Soldier carryed along, who had eaten his last at the same Feast, gastly casting up his eyes at 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 yet greater than mine. And when he had pledged this poor souldier, he was presently carried to Arnheim.
At Arnheim he lingered in great pain, bearing it with unflinching fortitude, for twenty-five days. His last words, which were addressed to his brother Robert, were :
Love my memory: cherish my friends: their faith to me may assure you they are honest. But above all govern your will and affections by the will and word of your Creator: beholding the end of this world with all her Vanities.
He passed away on the 17th of October, 1586. On October the 24th his body, having been embalmed, was removed to Flushing. Thence it was conveyed to England, and three months afterwards, on February 16, 1587, was interred after a magnificent public funeral in St. Paul's Cathedral.
of the innumerable elegies which his death called forth—they number between two and three hundred—the most memorable are Spenser's Astrophel, Lady Pembroke's Doleful Lay of Clarinda, and Matthew Royden's Friend's Passion for Astrophill. In this last poem there is a beautiful description, drawn no doubt from nature, of Sidney's face.
A sweet attractive kinde of grace,
A full assurance given by lookes,
The lineaments of Gospel bookes ;
Whose thoughts are legible in the eie.
both to admiration and to affection as Sir Philip Sidney. In the truest and most comprehensive sense of the term he belonged to the aristocrats of mankind, eminent alike in character and in achievement. He is one of those men with whom it is good to be in communion, for in such communion is inspiration. And faithfully as in a mirror is the beautiful personality of Sidney reflected in his writings; therein indeed is their charm. His poetry is full of blemishes and flaws, now uncouth, now tortuously fantastic; but what beauty, what power, what fascination it has ! The Arcadia may be tedious, even unreadable, as a story, and revolt us with its pedantry and prolixity, but on what intelligent and sensitive reader has it ever failed to cast a spell ? And that spell is the mirrored reflection of the personality of its author. In its pictures of chivalrous friendship and chivalrous love, in the solemn and lofty themes so often and so earnestly discussed in its pages, in the sympathies and the antipathies of which it is the expression, in its note, in its accent generally, Sidney as a man seems to live again. The noble treatise here printed may be left to speak for itself; for its author it certainly speaks.
INTRODUCTION TO THE "APOLOGIE'
In 1579 appeared-written by Stephen Gosson, a Kentish man, educated at Oxford-a treatise bearing the following title: 'The Schoole of Abuse, Conteining a plesaunt inuectiue against Poets, Pipers, Plaiers, Iesters and such like Caterpillers of a Commonwealth! Setting vp the Flagge of Defiaunce to their mischieuous exercise and ouerthrowing their Bulwarkes by Prophane Writers, Naturel reason and common experience,' &c. This treatise was dedicated to Sir (then Mr.) Philip Sidney. There can be little doubt that if this work did not actually inspire the Apologie for Poetrie, it was in Sidney's mind when he wrote the Apologie, and that in parts of the work though he nowhere makes any mention of Gosson, he was directly replying to him. That from the first he had no sympathy with Gosson is clear from a letter written by Spenser to Gabriel Harvey, dated October, 1579: Newe books I heare of none but only one that writing a certain booke called The Schoole of Abuse, and dedicating it to Maister Sidney was for his labour scorned: if at leaste it be in the goodnesse of that nature to scorne.' The exact date of the composition of the Apologie cannot be settled, but it was probably written either at the end of 1580, when Sidney was in retirement at Wilton, or some time in 1581. In any case it remained in manuscript till nine years after his death, till 1595, in which year two editions were printed, one for Henry Olney having the title An Apologie for Poetrie, the other for William Ponsonby having the title The Defence of Poesie. From this it would seem that the manuscript itself was without a title.
Historically the work is of great importance, for it may be said to have struck a new note in English prose and to have marked an era in the history of English criticism. Prose writing had indeed been carried in some of its branches to a high pitch of excellence-by Tyndall and the translators of the Bible, for example, and by Cranmer and the compilers of our Liturgy in Theology, in other departments by Elyot and Cheke, in others again by Fisher, by Sir Thomas North, and Sir Thomas More as the author of the History of Richard the Third, while the first part of Lyly's Euphues had appeared certainly a year, possibly two years, before Sidney could have begun the composition of his treatise. But no prose had blended so happily familiarity with dignity, colloquial ease and grace with