Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

141

CHAP. VIII.

Punctual to the moment of appointment, Mr. Wilmot led his young friends into the gallery; and, after giving them leave to range round it, he begged that they would select a subject for the morning's entertainment.

"Then, Sir," said Susan, "I should like to be informed who that wounded officer is, and that poor soldier, who, even whilst drinking with eagerness, seems to fix his eyes so intently on him."

"That officer," answered Mr. Wilmot, "is Sir Philip Sidney, one of the brightest ornaments of queen Elizabeth's court; and whose personal endowments were only equalled by his valour and humanity.

"When, at the battle of Zutphen, in the United Provinces, in which he had distinguished himself, his thigh-bone was broken by a musket-shot, in the agony of his wound he called for water: some was brought him, but, as he was lifting it to his lips, the ghastly looks of a dying soldier met his eye. 'Take this,' said he, holding the water to him, 'thy necessities are yet greater than mine.''. We can better estimate the self-denial of this generous act, when we remember that the wound was mortal, and that, after sixteen days of acute suffering, it terminated his valuable life.

"Thus perished, at the early age of thirtytwo, this Marcellus of the English nation; at once the pride and ornament of his time—the theme and favourite of song and story.

"The beautiful anecdote which I have just related to you, inspires a love and esteem for his virtues, which will be retained as long as the name of Sidney shall exist. He is described by the writers of that age, as the most perfect model of an English gentleman, that could be formed, even in imagination; and when to this we add his amiable disposition, his elegant erudition, his rare talents and dauntless valour, we are prepared to estimate the demonstrations of grief which were expressed for his loss, and the almost unexampled honours paid to his memory. The court went into mourning for him, and his remains received a magnificent funeral in St. Paul's: the United Provinces having in vain requested permission to inter him at their own expence, promising that he

[graphic][merged small]

should have as fair a tomb as any prince in Christendom. Elizabeth, who had called him 'her Philip,' always spoke of him with affectionate regret. The kings of France and Scotland lamented him in verse. Cambridge and Oxford published three volumes of 'Lachryma?' on his death. Spenser in rhyme, and Camden in prose, commemorated and deplored their patron. Lord Brooke was so proud of his friendship, that he directed it to be part of his epitaph, 'Here lies Sir Philip Sidney's friend.' A crowd of humbler votaries emulously strove who best should paint his excellence and loss; and it would be endless to enumerate the names of those who have, in latter times, celebrated, in various forms, the name of Sidney.

"Envy, for a while, seemed to have expired, whilst foreigners and countrymen alike joined in the tribute of respect offered to his memory. Du Plessis Mornay, a celebrated Hugonot leader, condoled with Walsingham on the loss of his incomparable son-in-law, in terms of the deepest sorrow: Count Hohenloe passionately bewailed his friend and fellow-soldier: and even the obdurate heart of Philip the Second, was touched by the untimely fate of his godson.

"Henry Sidney, the father of this accom

« ZurückWeiter »