« PredošláPokračovať »
Here, however, we find the fault, degree between earls and gentlemen;" which prevails throughout this work; and “how the gentleman's neglect of an indistinctness of description, which the nobility taught the heasant to inloses itself, in what we may term, sult both.” Sidney, with adroit flatthe volubility of the pen. Had the tery, converted the argument of her author freed himself from some of majesty to its own confutation, by apthis redundance of language, he might pealing to her, who had willed that have found leisure to give us the fact her sovereignty should be guided by to which he alluded. We recollect the same laws as her people. The what Philip of Spain, no admirer of earl of Oxford was a great lord ; yet hereticks, declared on the death of he was no lord over him,—and thereSidney, that "England had lost in fore the difference of degrees between one moment, what she might not freemen, could not challenge any produce in an age !"
other homage, than precedency.” Sidney distinguished himself as The queen was not displeased with the advocate of his father, against à this elevated strain from her knight. faction who had drawn up articles of Sidney, however, incapable of subimpeachment on his administration in mission, retired from court. Some Ireland. His father was reinstated in of these particulars may be found in the queen's favour. But the fervent the narrative of Fulke Greville. They spirit of Sidney, in every thing which are not detailed in Dr. Zouch. touched his romantick feelings of In his retreat at Wilton, the seat of honour, had nearly involved him in his brother-in-law, the earl of Peman open quarrel with the earl of Or. broke, he planned his “ Arcadia,” and mond. He chose to be sullenly silent on the pannels of one of the apartwhen the earl addressed him. But ments several of its scenes the earl conducted himself more no• painted. “ The Defence of Poetry” bly, by saying, "he would accept no was the more perfect fruit of those quarrel from a gentleman, who is happy and comtemplative days. bound by nature to defend his father's Languet had often seriously excause, and who is furnished with so horted his young friend not to imitate many virtues as he knows Mr. Philip his royal mistress in her preference to be.”
of a life of celibacy. In 1583, SidWhen Elizabeth's proposed mar. ney married the daughter of Walriage with the duke of Anjou divided singham, whom Jonson congratulates the nation into two parties, Sidney in one of his epigrams. He was also was foremost among the strenuous knighted, an honour which, like all opposers of that mischievous design. others, the queen
« bestowed with He addressed a letter to her majesty, frugality and choice.” which Hume has justly characterized Sidney had not yet obtained, what for its elegance, and its forcible rea- he seems to have long desired-some soning. The head of the French fac- splendid occasion to manifest his hetion (for even in better times, France roick disposition. When sir Francis found a faction among the dissolute Drake returned from his first expediand the desperate part of the nation) tion, the novelty of his discoveries, was the earl of Oxford, a man of and perhaps the treasures he poured ruined fortune, and blasted reputae into the queen's coffers, inflamed the tion. Some altercation ensued, in nation. Foreigners, indeed, consi. which the earl scornfully called Side dered Drake as the greatest pirate ney a puppy!” A challenge passed that ever infested the seas; but in between them, but the queen inter- England, he was admired as a new posed. Her argument must have Columbus. Shakspeare alludes to mortified the haughty spirit of Sid- this temporary passion of the ney. It turned on “the difference in times:
“ Some to the ways to try their fortune shall be marked with a stranger's there;
mark; nor that they follow the whis“ Some to discover islands far away.”
tle of a foreign shepherd!” Two Gentlemen of Verona.
The queen opened a fairer field of Weary of inaction, and inspired by honour in appointing Sidney to the a romantick fancy of founding a new government of Flushing, having reempire of his own, of which sir Fulke solved to assist the protestant inhaGreville has given a most extraordi. bitants of the Netherlands against nary account, Sidney secretly planned Spanish oppression. His uncle Leiwith Drake, to join him in his second cester, who afterwards disappointed expedition. Dr. Zouch tells but England and her allies, by his want half his tale. Sir Fulke Greville has
of wisdom and military skill, followed, supplied many curious particulars. with an army. On this intercourse After giving a sketch of this wild de. of the English with the Flemish, sign, he details the shrewd inventions Dr. Zouch appositely observes from which Sidney condescended to prac- Camden, that “the English, which tise, to reach Plymouth,“ overshoot of all the northern nations had been ing Walsingham in his own bow;" the least drinkers, learned, by these and his bold contrivance to intercept Netherland wars, to drown themselves the queen's messenger, by employ with immoderate drinking, and by ing two soldiers in disguise, to take drinking to other's health, to impair his letters from him ; nor would he their own." A philosophical antileave Plymouth till the queen de- quary may discover, in our continentspatched a peer to command his im- al wars, the origin of many mediate return. These and other worst customs, and not a few of our facts, which Dr. Zouch seems pur- vices. posely to conceal in his perpetual In this first and last campaign of panegyrick, are surely of impor- the young hero, he marked his short tance. They let us a little into the career, by enterprise and invention character of Sidney--his sullen con- combining these ardent military quaduct to the earl of Ormond; his letterlities with that penetration and pruto his father's steward, threatening dence, which form a great general. his life, on a rash supposition that he Before he entered into action, he betrayed his correspondence ; his warmed his soldiers by a patriotick virulent defence of his uncle; all address. He revived the ancient disthese were the sins of his youth. Hiscipline of order and silence in his infirmity was rashness and impetuo- march; and when he was treachesity of temper.
rously invited to take Gravelin, he An honour, less ambiguous than a only ventured a small detachment of West India expedition, was reserved his army, by which means, the rest for Sidney. His friends abroad na
· were saved. He was the soldiers' med him as a competitor for the elec- friend, and remunerated them, in tive crown of Poland, in 1585. That proportion to their merits, out of his character must approach to excel- private fortune. lence, which could create a party In the hope, but scarcely having among distant foreigners, uninfluen- yet attained to the pride, of military ced by corruption, to offer a crown to fame, fell the Marcellus of his counan English knight!
try and his age! In a skirmish before The queen, however, one historian Zutphen, “ so impetuous that it bewrites, was “ jealous of losing the came a proverbial expression among jewel of her times;" and another, that the Belgian soldiers to denote a most i she was jealous that any of her sub- severe and ardent conflict,” Sidney, jects should be kings.” “I will not having one horse shot under him, allow,” said Elizabeth, “that my sheep and mounting a second, rushed for
ward to recover lord Willoughby, mortality of the soul, and compared surrounded by the enemy. He suc- the conjectures of the pagan philosoceeded, and continued the fight till phy with the truths of revelation. he was wounded by a bullet in the On the day he died, he affixed a codi. left knee.
cil to his will; and called for musick, The most beautiful event in his and particularly for the ode which life, was his death.
From the mo- has made Dr. Zouch so uneasy, “ to ment he was wounded, and thirsty procure repose to his disordered with excess of bleeding, when he frame.” With the same dignified turned away the water from his own composure he bade adieu to his brolips, to give it to a dying soldier, ther; and exhorted him to cherish with these words: “Thy necessity his friends : “ Their faith to me may is still greater than mine!” to his assure you that they are honest.” last hour, he marked the grandeur, He made an extempore prayer before and the tenderness of his nature. his death-a circumstance which re.
Dr. Zouch informs us that “ an news the doctor's uneasiness. He ode which was composed by him on conjures up a question, which he the nature of his wound, discovered cannot lay, concerning publick a mind perfectly serene and calm." worship led by a layman.” “We IVe wish our author had been satis- are not hence to conclude," he writes, fied with having informed us of this “that Sidney professed a religion pefact; but he proceeds with a strange culiar to himself; nor that he derived and superfluous apology for a dying any singular sentiments from Lanpoet composing an ode.
guet, &c.”—by which means, we are " These efforts of his expiring muse
furnished with a page of articles that will not surely subject him to censure and
we are not to conclude about. reproach. It is impossible to suggest that
Of the interminable narrative of they were disfigured by any sentiments Sidney's death, written by Mr. of rashness and impiety. They were exer. George Giffard, a preacher of the cised on a subject of the most serious na
times, we should have been thankful ture, on a wound which was likely to
to Dr. Zouch had he taken the pains terminate in death." This paragraph is a fair specimen to the eyes of an antiquary, there is
to have read and not printed it. But of the literary merits of this work.
something magical in a MS. The author is never satisfied with tell.
We regret to find that the last mo. ing all he knows-for he seems op
ments of Sidney were disturbed by pressed by a flux of phrases. It is a ridiculous anxiety, to be alarmed for fard, who never ceased "proving to
the misdirected piety of this Mr. Gif. the piety of his hero, in writing a
him by testimonies and infallible readeath-bed ode. Were not the odes
sons out of the scriptures” every of David composed by the same feel thing that came into his head. When ings, under the influence of the most Sidney was in the last agony (says the trying occasions ?
MS.) and all natural heat and life Other particulars are recorded of were almost utterly gone out of him; his death, which give a most interest that his understanding had failed, and ing picture of his heroism, his phi. that it was to no purpose to speak any losophy, and his religion.
more to him," then it was that the The night before he died, leaning aforesaid Mr. Giffard made a long upon a pillow in his bed, he wrote a speech, and required the expiring short, but pathetick, note to a physi- Sidney to hold up his hand,' which cian; and an epistle to a divine, in we thought he could scarce have mo. elegant Latin, which for “its pithi. ved." Documents of this kind are ness of matter," was presented to the more fanatick than historical; and queen. He conversed on the im. more tedious than fanatick.
The manes of Sidney received given the occasion of this act, which every honour, publick and private, we see was a mere heroick bravado, domestick and foreign. Never died which sober criticks like ourselves do an Englishman so universally lament- not presume to comprehend. Dr. ed. All the world remembered him Zouch has made an ingenious obserbut his own family-and no monu- vation on the defect of our military ment was raised to his name. Men institutions in the sixteenth century, like Sidney, indeed, build their own at page 336; but hehas not defended monuments; yet we cannot admit his hero from this accusation of rashthat considerations of this nature fur- ness. Yet this may still be done ; nish a legitimate plea for the parsi. for the valour of Sidney was founded mony of their heirs.
on fatalism, like that of many other Such was sir Philip Sidney. But eminent military characters. Wilwas this singular character exempt liam III. used to say, that
bul from the frailties of human nature ? let had its billet; and that this was If we rely on Dr. Zouch, we shall the opinion of Sidney, appears by not discover any. If we trust to lord what he affirmed after he had received ORFORD, we shall perceive little else. his wound : “ That God did send the The truth is, that had Sidney lived, bullet, and commanded it to stryke he might have grown up to that ideal him.” The system of fatalism must greatness which the world adored in not be discouraged among our hehim; but he died early-not without roes; and it will sufficiently defend some errours of youth. His fame Sidney from “the rashness” attriwas more mature than his life, which, buted to him by one who was no hero indeed, was but the preparation for a himself. splendid one. We discern that future When lord Orford apologized, in greatness (if we may use the expres- his second edition, for having past by sion) in the noble termination of his Sidney's “ DEFENCE of Poetry,” he early career, rather than in the race acknowledged “that he had forgotten which he actually ran. The life of it; a proof,” he adds, “ that I at Sidney would have been a finer sub- least did not think it sufficient foun: ject for the panegyrick of a Pliny, dation for so high a character as he than for the biography of a Plutarch. acquired.” This is mere malignity. His fame was sufficient for the one, Sidney had diligently read the best while his actions were too few for the Latin and Italian commentaries on other.
Aristotle's Poeticks, and these he has It may be useful to notice some of illustrated with the most correct taste the aspersions of lord ORFORD on our and the most beautiful imagery. It favourite character.
is a work of love ; and the luminous “ He died with the rashness of a order of criticism is embellished by volunteer," says he, “after having all the graces of poetry. lived to write with the sang-froid, and The ARCADIA is a posthumous prolixity of mademoiselle Scudery,” and unfinished work, and was comand he quotes the observation of posed, as he himself tells his sister, queen Elizabeth on Essex: “ We “ in loose sheets of paper, most of it shall have him knock'd o'the head, in your presence, the rest by sheets like that rash fellow, Sidney." On sent unto you as fast as they were the day Sidney received his fatal don. For severer eyes,” he adds, wound, it appears that observing the “it is not; being but a trife, and trimarshal of the camp lightly armed, flingly handled." It was his earnest he threw off his cuisses, merely, ac- request on his death bed, that the cording to sir Fuike Greville's ac- Arcadia should be destroyed. The count, to venture without any inc. countess of Pembroke collected and qualitie.” p. 143. Dr. Zouch has not published the fugitive leaves, and with a sisterly fondness, called them in an age when pageants and pasto" The Countess of Pembroke's Arca. rals were familiar to the eye and the dia.” Such is the history of a work, ear. Even in the present times, conwhich the gallantry of criticism genial fancy can kindle over Arcashould have spared.
dian scenery; and a poet never dies, Of this romance Dr. Zouch has while there lives another poet of his given a curious and copious account. nation. It was read with avidity and delight
FROM THE UNIVERSAL MAGAZINE.
The Last Years of the Reign and Life of Louis XVI. By Francis Hue, one of the
Officers of the King's Chamber, named by that Monarch, after the 10th of August, 1792, to the Honour of continuing with Him and the Royal Family. Translated by R. C. Dallas, Esq.
THE misfortunes of the great will wherever pleasure called him, never cease to interest; whether it we are led to wonder how he bears be that there is a natural pleasure the reverse, and pity him, not so which we take in beholding our fel. much for what he suffers, as for what low creatures under affliction, when he has lost. To this feeling we must not allied to us by the ties of consan- attribute the eagerness with which guinity or feeling; or that the sort we hunt after such details ; and hence of pleasure which arises from the the melancholy pleasure which we contemplation of fallen grandeur, is have felt in reading the present work. of that tender yet consolatory cast
There was no studied barbarity ; that it seems to indemnify us for the there was no species of despicable evils of our own station in society. insult; no manner of humiliation The mind is never wearied with read- which the French nation did not eming accounts of the sufferings of la- ploy towards the unfortunate Louis. dy Jane Grey, of Mary Queen of The most abhorred tyrant that ever Scots, of Charles, or of Louis. They disgraced the annals of society could are inexhaustible themes of eloquence scarcely have merited more than was for the historian, of admonition for shown towards one whose greatest the moralist, of application for the failing was too much lenity, and poet. Their sufferings have been, whose only crime, being born the in themselves, small, very small com- king of a people destined to murder pared to those of private individuals; him. but it is comparison that aids our
M. Hue was mentioned with hosympathy, and we do not sigh over nour, and in a manner that will con. the sorrows of the man, but of the vey his name down to posterity, by prince. Philosophy would behold no- his unfortunate monarch in his will. thing peculiarly acute in a human He was an eye witness of nearly all being reposing on a bed of flock, with that he describes ; he accompanied a tattered blanket thrown across for the king to the temple after the tenth warmth, in feeding on plain fare, of August; he suffered imprisonment and enjoying but a limited extent of for his attachment; he escaped nuwalk. But when we consider that merous perils during the bloody prohe who endures this, once slept on scriptions of the revolution ; he acbeds of down, in vaulted chambers companied Madanie Royale to Vienna of golden roofs; that he rioted in in 1796; and he has now given to the choicest gifts of nature, and his the world, documents that will be table was crowned with the produce of lasting importance to future histoof every clime; that he ranged at rians.