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Sir Philip Sidney
""Sir Philip Sidney from NPG.jpg
Sir Philip Sidney
Born (1554-11-30)30 November 1554
"Penshurst, "Kent, England
Died 17 October 1586(1586-10-17) (aged 31)
"Arnhem, Netherlands
Buried "St Paul's Cathedral
Spouse(s) "Frances Walsingham
Father "Sir Henry Sidney
Mother "Lady Mary Dudley

Sir Philip Sidney (30 November 1554 – 17 October 1586) was an English poet, "courtier, scholar, and soldier, who is remembered as one of the most prominent figures of the "Elizabethan age. His works include "Astrophel and Stella, "The Defence of Poesy (also known as The Defence of Poetry or An Apology for Poetry), and "The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.

Contents

Early life[edit]

Born at "Penshurst Place, "Kent, he was the eldest son of "Sir Henry Sidney and "Lady Mary Dudley. His mother was the eldest daughter of "John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland, and the sister of "Robert Dudley, 1st Earl of Leicester. His younger brother, "Robert Sidney was a statesman and patron of the arts, and was created "Earl of Leicester in 1618. His younger sister, "Mary, married "Henry Herbert, 2nd Earl of Pembroke and was a writer, translator and literary patron. Sidney dedicated his longest work, the "Arcadia, to her. After her brother's death, Mary reworked the Arcadia, which became known as The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia.

Philip was educated at "Shrewsbury School and "Christ Church, Oxford.

Politics and marriage[edit]

In 1572, at the age of 18, he was elected to Parliament as a "Member of Parliament for "Shrewsbury[1] and in the same year travelled to France as part of the embassy to negotiate a marriage between "Elizabeth I and the "Duc D'Alençon. He spent the next several years in mainland Europe, moving through Germany, Italy, "Poland, the "Kingdom of Hungary and "Austria. On these travels, he met a number of prominent European intellectuals and politicians.

Returning to England in 1575, Sidney met "Penelope Devereux, the future Lady Rich; though much younger, she would inspire his famous sonnet sequence of the 1580s, "Astrophel and Stella. Her father, "Walter Devereux, 1st Earl of Essex, is said to have planned to marry his daughter to Sidney, but he died in 1576. In England, Sidney occupied himself with politics and art. He defended his father's administration of Ireland in a lengthy document. More seriously, he quarrelled with "Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, probably because of Sidney's opposition to the French marriage, which de Vere championed. In the aftermath of this episode, Sidney challenged de Vere to a duel, which Elizabeth forbade. He then wrote a lengthy letter to the Queen detailing the foolishness of the French marriage. Characteristically, Elizabeth bristled at his presumption, and Sidney prudently retired from court.

During a 1577 diplomatic visit to "Prague, Sidney secretly visited the exiled "Jesuit priest "Edmund Campion.[2]

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Frances Walsingham

Sidney had returned to court by the middle of 1581 and in 1584 was MP for "Kent. That same year Penelope Devereux was married, apparently against her will, to Lord Rich. Sidney was knighted in 1583. An early arrangement to marry "Anne Cecil, daughter of Sir "William Cecil and eventual wife of de Vere, had fallen through in 1571. In 1583, he married "Frances, 16-year-old daughter of Sir "Francis Walsingham and the couple had one daughter, Elizabeth, in 1585, who later married married Roger Manners, 5th Earl of Rutland, in March 1599 and died without issue in 1614[3]. In the same year, he made a visit to Oxford University with "Giordano Bruno, who subsequently dedicated two books to Sidney.

Literary writings[edit]

His artistic contacts were more peaceful and more significant for his lasting fame. During his absence from court, he wrote "Astrophel and Stella and the first draft of The Arcadia and "The Defence of Poesy. Somewhat earlier, he had met "Edmund Spenser, who dedicated "The Shepheardes Calender to him. Other literary contacts included membership, along with his friends and fellow poets "Fulke Greville, "Edward Dyer, Edmund Spenser and "Gabriel Harvey, of the (possibly fictitious) '"Areopagus', a humanist endeavour to classicise English verse.

Military activity[edit]

Both through his family heritage and his personal experience (he was in Walsingham's house in Paris during the "St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre), Sidney was a keenly militant Protestant. In the 1570s, he had persuaded "John Casimir to consider proposals for a united Protestant effort against the Roman Catholic Church and Spain. In the early 1580s, he argued unsuccessfully for an assault on Spain itself. Promoted General of Horse in 1583,[1] his enthusiasm for the Protestant struggle was given a free rein when he was appointed governor of "Flushing in the "Netherlands in 1585. In the Netherlands, he consistently urged boldness on his superior, his uncle the Earl of Leicester. He conducted a successful raid on Spanish forces near "Axel in July, 1586.

Injury and death[edit]

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Memorial for Sir Philip Sidney at the spot where he was fatally injured

Later that year, he joined "Sir John Norris in the "Battle of Zutphen, fighting for the Protestant cause against the Spanish.[4] During the battle, he was shot in the thigh and died of "gangrene 26 days later, at the age of 31. As he lay dying, Sidney composed a song to be sung by his deathbed.[5] According to the story, while lying wounded he gave his water to another wounded soldier, saying, "Thy necessity is yet greater than mine".[6] This became possibly the most famous story about Sir Phillip, intended to illustrate his noble and gallant character.[6] It also inspired evolutionary biologist "John Maynard Smith to formulate a problem in "signalling theory which is known as the "Sir Philip Sidney game.[7]

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The funeral of Sir Philip Sidney, 1586

Sidney's body was returned to London and interred in the Old "St. Paul's Cathedral on 16 February 1587. The grave and monument were destroyed in the "Great Fire of London in 1666. A modern monument in the crypt lists his among the important graves lost.

Already during his own lifetime, but even more after his death, he had become for many English people the very epitome of a "Castiglione courtier: learned and politic, but at the same time generous, brave, and impulsive. The funeral procession was one of the most elaborate ever staged, so much so that his father-in-law, "Francis Walsingham, almost went bankrupt.[4] As Sidney was a brother of the "Worshipful Company of Grocers, the procession included 120 of his company brethren.[8]

Never more than a marginal figure in the politics of his time, he was memorialised as the flower of English manhood in "Edmund Spenser's Astrophel, one of the greatest English Renaissance elegies.

An early biography of Sidney was written by his friend and schoolfellow, "Fulke Greville. While Sidney was traditionally depicted as a staunch and unwavering "Protestant, recent biographers such as "Katherine Duncan-Jones have suggested that his religious loyalties were more ambiguous.

Works[edit]

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The Fatal Wounding of Sir Philip Sidney by "Benjamin West

In popular culture[edit]

A memorial, erected in 1986 at the location in Zutphen where he was mortally wounded by the Spanish, can be found at the entrance of a footpath (" 't Gallee") located in front of the petrol station at the Warnsveldseweg 170.

In Arnhem, in front of the house in the Bakkerstraat 68, an inscription on the ground reads: "IN THIS HOUSE DIED ON THE 17 OCTOBER 1586 * SIR PHILIP SIDNEY * ENGLISH POET, DIPLOMAT AND SOLDIER, FROM HIS WOUNDS SUFFERED AT THE BATTLE OF ZUTPHEN. HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR OUR FREEDOM". The inscription was unveiled on 17 October 2011, exactly 425 years after his death, in the presence of Philip Sidney, Viscount De L'Isle, a descendant of the brother of Philip Sidney.

The city of "Sidney, Ohio, in the United States and a street in "Zutphen, Netherlands, have been named after Sir Philip. A statue of him can be found in the park at the Coehoornsingel where, in the harsh winter of 1795, English and Hanoverian soldiers were buried who had died while retreating from advancing French troops.[10]

Another statue of Sidney, by "Arthur George Walker, forms the centrepiece of "Shrewsbury School's war memorial to alumni who died serving in "World War I (unveiled 1924).[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "History of Parliament". Retrieved 2011-10-29. 
  2. ^ Duncan-Jones (1991), pp. 125–127.
  3. ^ "Hutchinson, Robert (2007) Elizabeth's Spy Master: Francis Walsingham and the Secret War that Saved England. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. "ISBN "978-0-297-84613-0, pages 266–267
  4. ^ a b The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Sixteenth/Early Seventeenth Century, Volume B, 2012, pg. 1037
  5. ^ The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Sixteenth/Early Seventeenth Century, Volume B, 2012, pg 1037
  6. ^ a b Charles Carlton (1992). Going to the Wars: The Experience of the British Civil Wars, 1638–1651, Routledge, "ISBN "0-415-10391-6. p. 216
  7. ^ "Maynard Smith, John; "David Harper (2003). Animal Signals. Oxford: Oxford University Press. "ISBN "0-19-852685-7. 
  8. ^ "Timbs, John (1855). Curiosities of London: Exhibiting the Most Rare and Remarkable Objects of Interest in the Metropolis. D. Bogue. p. 394. 
  9. ^ Works by Sir Philip Sidney at "Project Gutenberg
  10. ^ Bert Fermin en Michel Groothedde: 'De Lunetten van Van Coehoorn', Zutphense Archeologische Publicaties 34, 2007, page 7
  11. ^ Francis, Peter (2013). Shropshire War Memorials, Sites of Remembrance. YouCaxton Publications. pp. 74–75. "ISBN "978-1-909644-11-3. 

Further reading[edit]

Works

Books

Articles

Other

External links[edit]

Military offices
Preceded by
"The Earl of Warwick
"Master-General of the Ordnance
(jointly with "The Earl of Warwick)

1585–1586
Succeeded by
"The Earl of Warwick
) )