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CHARACTER OF SIR PHILIP SIDNEY.

times, who have celebrated in various forms the name of Sidney. Foreigners of the highest distinction claimed a share in the general sentiment. Du Plessis Mornay condoled with Walsingham on the loss of his incomparable son-in-law in terms of the deepest sorrow. Count Hohenlo passionately bewailed his friend and fellow-soldier, to whose representations and intercession he had sacrificed his just indignation against the proceedings of Leicester. Even the hard heart of Philip II. was touched by the untimely fate of his godson, though slain in bearing arms against him.

We are told that on the next tilt-day after the last wife of the earl of Leicester had borne him a son, Sidney appeared with a shield on which was the word Speravi," dashed through. This anecdote ;-if indeed the allusion of the motto be rightly explained, which it is difficult to believe ;would serve to show how publicly he had been regarded, both by himself and others, as the heir of his all-powerful uncle. The death of this child; on which occasion adulatory verses were produced by the university of Cambridge ; restored Sidney, the year before his death, to this brilliant expectancy; and it cannot reasonably be doubted, that the academic honors paid to his memory were, like the court-mourning, a homage to the power of the living rather than to the virtues of the dead. But though he should be judged to have owed to his connexion with a royal favorite much of his contemporary celebrity; and even in some measure his enduring fame, no candid estimator will suffer himself to be hurried, under an idea of cor

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recting the former partiality of fortune, into the gross injustice of denying to this accomplished character a just title to the esteem and admiration of posterity. On the contrary, it will be considered, that the very circumstances which rendered hím so early conspicuous, would also expose him to the assaults of malice and envy; and that if his spirit had not been in reality noble and his conduct irreproachable, it would have exceeded all the power of Leicester to shield the reputation of his nephew against attacks similar to those from which his own had suffered irretrievably.

Philip Sidney was educated, by the cares of a wise and excellent father, in the purest and most elevated moral principles and in the best learning of the age. A letter of advice which this exemplary parent addressed to him at the age of twelve, fully exemplifies both the laudable solicitude of sir Henry respecting his future character and the soundness of his views and máxims : in the character of his son, on advancing to manhood, he saw his hopes exceeded and his

fulfilled. No. thing could be more correct than his conduct, more laudable than his pursuits, while on his travels; young as he was, he merited the friendship of Hubert Languet. He also gained just and high reputation for the mannner in which he acquitted himself of an embassy to the protestant princes of Germany; though somewhat of the ostentation and family pride of a Dudley was apparent in the port which he thought it necessary to assume on the occasion. After his return, he commenced the life of a courtier, and that indiscriminate thirst

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for glory which was in some measure the foible of his character, led him into an ostentatious profusion, which, by involving his affairs, rendered it necessary for him to solicit the pecuniary favors of her majesty; and to earn them by some acts of adulation unworthy of his spirit : for all these, however, he made large amends by his noble letter against the French marriage. He afterwards undertook, with a zeal and ability highly honorable to his heart and his head, the defence of his father, accused, but finally acquitted, of some stretches of power as lord-deputy of Ireland. This business involved him in disputes with the earl of Ormond, his father's enemy; who seems to have generously overlooked provocations which might have led to more serious consequences, in consideration of the filial feelings of his youthful adversary.

These indications of a bold and forward spirit appear however to have somewhat injured him in the mind of her majesty; his advancement by no means kept pace either with his wishes or his wants; and a subsequent quarrel with the earl of Oxford ;-in which he refused to make the concessions required by the queen, reminding her at the same time that it had been her father's policy, and ought to be hers, rather to countenance the gentry against the arrogance of the great nobles than the contrary ;--sent him in disgust from court. Retiring to Wilton, the seat of his brother-in-law the earl of Pembroke, he composed the Arcadia. This work he never revised or completed; it was published after his death, probably contrary to his orders ; and it is of a kind long since obso

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lete. Under all these disadvantages, however ; though faulty in plan and as a whole tedious ; this romance has been found to exhibit extensive learning, a poetical cast of imagination, nice discrimination of character; and, what is far more, a fervor of eloquence in the cause of virtue, a heroism of sentiment and purity of thought, which stamp it for the offspring of a noble mind; which evince that the workman was superior to his work.

But the world re-absorbed him; and baffled at court he meditated, in correspondence with one of his favorite mottoes," Aut viam inveniam aut faciam ;"—to join one of the almost piratical expeditions of Drake against the Spanish settlements. Perhaps he might then be diverted from his design by the strong and kind warning of his true friend Languet; “to beware lest the thirst of lucre should creep into a mind which had hitherto admitted nothing but the love of truth, and an anxiety to deserve well of all men." After the death of this monitor, however, he engaged in a second scheme of this very questionable nature ; and was only prevented from embarking by the arrival of the queen's peremptory orders for his return to court and that of Fulke Greville who accompanied him.

It would certainly be difficult to defend in point of dignity and consistency his conspicuous appearance, as formerly recorded, at the triumph held in honor of the French embassy ; or his attendance upon the duke of Anjou on his return to the Netherlands.

The story of his nomination to the throne of Poland deserves little regard ; it is certain that

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such an elevation was never within his possibilities of attainment. His reputation on the continent was however extremely high ; Don John of Austria himself esteemed him ; the great prince of Orange corresponded with him as a friend ; and Du Plessis Mornay solicited his good offices on behalf of the French protestants. Unqualified praise is due to his conduct in Holland ; to the valor of a knighterrant he added the best virtues of a commander and counsellor. Leicester himself apprehended that it would be scarcely possible for him to şus, tain his high post without the countenance and assistance of his beloved nephew; and the event showed that he was right.

His death was worthy of the best parts of his life; he showed himself to the last devout, courageous and serene. His wife, the beautiful daughter of Walsingham; his brother Robert, to whom he had performed the part rather of an anxious and indulgent parent than of a brother, and many sor. rowing friends, sựrrounded his bed. Their grief was beyond a doubt sincere and poignant; as well as that of the many persons of letters and of worth who gloried in his friendship and flourished by his bountiful patronage.

On the whole, though justice claims the admission that the character of Sidney was not entirely free from the faults most incident to his age and station, and that neither as a writer, a scholar, a soldier, or a statesman ;-in all which characters during the course of his short life he appeared; and appeared with distinction ;-is he yet entitled to the highest rank; it may however be firmly maintained that, as

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