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clination ; so are they not without good and fitting use, even in the generality of wisdom to be known. As in France, the courts of parliament, their subaltern jurisdiction, and their continual keeping of paid soldiers. In Spain, their good and grave proceedings; their keeping so many provinces under them, and by what manner, with the true points of honour; wherein since they have the most open conceit, if they seem over curious, it is an easy matter to cut off when a man sees the bottom. Flanders likewise, besides the neighbourhood with us, and the annexed considerations thereunto, hath divers things to be learned, especially their governing their merchants and other trades. Also for Italy, we knew not what we have, or can have, to do with them, but to buy their silks and wines ; and as for the other point, except Venice, whose good laws and customs we can hardly proportion to ourselves, because they are quite of a contrary government; there is little there but tyrannous oppression, and servile yielding to them that have little or no right over them. And for the men you shall have there, although indeed some be excellently learned, yet are they all given to counterfeit learning, as a man shall learn among them more false grounds of things than in any place else that I know; for from a tapster upwards, they are all discoursers in certain matters and qualities, as horsemanship, weapons, painting, and such are better there than in other countries; but for other matters, as well, if not better, you shall have them in nearer places.”
The second of the two epistles (dated from Leicester House, Oct. 18, 1580) contains more personal matter. “ Look to your diet, sweet Robin,” he says, “ and hold up your heart in courage and virtue; truly great part of my comfort is in you.” And again : “Now, sweet brother, take a delight to keep and increase your music; you will not believe what a want I find of it in my melancholy times." It appears, then, that Philip, unlike many gentlemen of that age, could not touch the lute or teach the “saucy jacks” of the virginal to leap in measure. Then follows another bit of playful exhortation : "I would by the way your worship would learn a better hand; you write worse than I, and I write evil enough; once again have a care of your diet, and consequently of your complexion; remember Gratior est veniens in pulchro corpore virtus.” If Ben Jonson was right in what he said of Philip's complexion, this advice had its ground in tiresome experience. On the subject of manly exercises he has also much to say: "At horsemanship, when you exercise it, read Crison Claudio, and a book that is called La Gloria del Cavallo, witbal that you may join the thorough contemplation of it with the exercise; and so shall you profit more in a month than others in a year; and mark the biting, saddling, and curing of horses."
“When you play at weapons, I would have you get thick caps and brasers, and play out your play lustily, for indeed ticks and dalliances are nothing in earnest, for the time of the one and the other greatly differs ; and use as well the blow as the thrust; it is good in itself, and besides exerciseth your breath and strength, and will make you a strong man at the tourney and barriers. First, in any case practise the single sword, and then with the dagger; let no day pass without an hour or two such exercise; the rest study, or confer diligently, and so shall you come home to my comfort and credit.”
Studies come in for their due share of attention. “Take delight likewise in the mathematicals; Mr. Savile is excellent in them. I think you understand the sphere; if you do, I care little for any more astronomy in
Arithmetic and geometry I would wish you were well seen in, so as both in matters of number and measure you might have a feeling and active judgment. I would you did bear the mechanical instruments, wherein the Dutch excel.” It may be said with reference to this paragraph that Mr. Savile was Robert Sidney's travelling governor. The sphere represented medieval astronomy. Based upon the traditional interpretation of the Ptolemaic doctrine, it lent itself to theoretical disquisitions upon cosmology in general, as well as to abstruse speculations regarding the locality of paradise and heaven, the elements, and superhuman existences. On the point of style Philip observes: “So you can speak and write Latin, not barbarously, I never require great study in Ciceronianism, the chief abuse of Oxford, qui dum verba sectantur res ipsas negligunt.” History being Robert Sidney's favourite study, his brother discourses on it more at large.
I have quoted thus liberally from Philip's letters to Robert Sidney, because of the agreeable light they cast upon his character. It is clear they were not penned for perusal by the public. “My eyes are almost closed up,
overwatched with tedious business,” says the writer; and his last words are, “Lord! how I have babbled.” Yet, though hastily put together, and somewhat incoherently expressed, the thoughts are of excellent pith; and one passage upon
history, in particular, reads like a rough sketch for part of the “ Defence of Poesy."
After weighing the unaffected words of brotherly counsel and of affectionate interest which Philip sent across the sea to Robert, we are prepared for Sir Henry Sidney's warm panegyric of his first-born to his second son. He had indeed good hopes of Robert; but he built more on Philip, as appears from the following sentence in a letter to Sir Francis Walsingbam: “I having three sons, one of excellent good proof, the second of great good proof, and the third not to be despaired of, but very well to be liked.” Therefore he frequently exhorted Robert to imitate the qualities of his “best brother.” " Perge, perge, my Robin, in the filial fear of God, and in the meanest imagination of yourself, and to the loving direction of your most loving brother. Imitate his virtues, exercises, studies, and actions.
He is the rare ornament of this age,
very formular that all well disposed young gentlemen of our Court do form also their manners and life by. In truth I speak it without flattery of him or of myself; he hath the most rare virtues that ever I found in any man. Once again I say imitate him.” And once more, at a later date: “Follow your discreet and virtuous brother's role, who with great discretion, to his great commendation, won love, and could variously ply ceremony with ceremony."
The last extant letter of Languet to Philip was written in October of this year. The old man congratulates his friend upon returning to the Court; but he adds a solemn warning against its idleness and dissipations. Familiarity with English affairs confirmed his bad opinion of Elizabeth's Court circle. He saw that she was arbitrary in her distribution of wealth and honours; he feared lest Philip's merits should be ignored, while some more worthless favourite was being pampered. Once he had hoped that his service of the queen would speedily advance him to employment in public affairs. Now he recognised the possibility of that young hopeful life being wasted upon formalities and pastimes; and for England he prophesied a coming time of factions, complicated by serious foreign troubles. It is the letter of a saddened man, slowly declining towards the grave, amid forebodings which the iinmediate future of Europe only too well justified. Languet had now just eleven months more to live. He died in September 1581 at Antwerp, nursed through his last illness by the wife of his noble friend Philip du Plessis Mornay, and followed to the tomb by William, Prince of. Orange. Among the poems given to Phillisides in the Arcadia is one which may perhaps have been written about the time when Languet's death had brought to Philip's
meniory the debt of gratitude he owed this faithful counsellor :
"The song I sang old Languet had me taught,
Languet the shepherd best swift Ister knew
For faithful heart, clean hands, and mouth as true;
With his sweet skill my skilless youth he drew
“He said the music best thilk powers pleased
Was sweet accord between our wit and will,
And lowest sink not down to jot of ill;
With old true tales he wont mine ears to fill,
“He liked me, but pitied lustful youth ;
His good strong staff my slippery years upbore;
Till forced to part, with heart and eyes even sore,
On New Year's Day, 1581, Philip presented the queen with a heart of gold, a chain of gold, and a whip with a golden handle. These gifts symbolised his devotion to her, and her right to chastise him. The year is marked in his biography by his first entrance into Parliament, as knight of the shire for Kent. He only sat two months; but during that short period he joined the committees appointed to frame rules for enforcing laws against Catholics, and for suppressing seditious practices by word or deed against her Majesty. The French match was still uppermost in Elizabeth's mind. She hankered after it; and some of the wisest heads in Europe, among them William the Silent,