« PreviousContinue »
Death of Sir Philip Sidney.
SIR PHILIP SIDNEY was born, in November, 1554, in Penshurst, West Kent, England. In 1585, he engaged in the service of his country, in support of the Protestant cause in Holland. While marching at the head of three thousand troops to relieve Zutphen, a town in Guelderland, he was mortally wounded by a musket ball. While retiring from the place of combat, the following interesting circumstance occurred. It is recorded by the affectionate pen of lord Brooke. "The horse he rode upon," he says, 66 was rather furiously choleric than bravely proud, and so forced him to forsake the field, but not his back, as the noblest and fittest bier to carry a martial commander to his grave. In which sad progress, passing along by the rest of the army where his uncle the general was, and being thirsty with excess of bleeding, he called for drink, which was presently brought him; but as he was putting the bottle to his mouth, he saw a poor soldier carried along, who had eaten his last at the same feast, ghastly casting up his eyes at the bottle; which Sir Philip perceiving, took it from his head, before he drank, and delivered it to the poor man, with these words, Thy necessity is yet greater than mine.'”
It is supposed that the bullet from which Sidney suffered had been poisoned. After lingering sixteen days in severe and unceasing pain, which he endured with all the fortitude and resignation of a Christian, symptoms of mortification, the certain forerunner of death, at length appeared, and Sir Philip then prepared, with undiminished and cheerful serenity, for his approaching dissolution. Though he was himself the first to perceive the fatal indications which the seat of his disease had begun to exhibit, he was able to amuse his sick bed by composing an ode, unfortunately
now lost, on the nature of his wound, which he caused to be sung to solemn music, as an entertainment that might soothe and divert his mind from his sufferings. In the course of his illness, too, he introduced a topic of conversation, the most serious and the most sublime that can
engage the attention of man- -the immortality of the soul. Every thing was done for him that medical skill could suggest, or the solicitude of his friends and the tenderness of his amiable wife, who had accompanied him into Zealand, could supply; but on the 16th day of October, his complaints reached their crisis, and his gentle spirit took its flight to a world more worthy of its virtues. He breathed his last sigh in the arms of one whom he had long loved, his faithful secretary and bosom companion, Mr. William Temple.
His address to his brother, when he bade him a final adieu, is a noble outpouring of the heart, and is characterized by those many amiable sentiments and qualities which had dignified his conduct through life, and endeared him to society wherever it had been his fortune to wander. "Love my memory," he said; "cherish my friends; their faith to me may assure you they are honest. But, above all, govern your will and affections by the will and word of your Creator, in me beholding the end of this world with all her vanities."
Thus died, in the very prime of his days and the zenith of his hopes, the man who was, above all others, the idol of his times," the soldier's, scholar's, courtier's, eye, tongue, sword." He was in many respects at once the Marcellus and the Mæcenas of the English nation. He was the intimate friend and most liberal benefactor of Spenser; and that preeminent bard repaid his debt of gratitude and affection, by composing a pathetic elegy, wherein he bewailed his patron under Sidney's favorite and celebrated appellation of Astrophel. The two universities, also, poured forth three volumes of learned lamentations on account of the loss of him whom they
considered as being their brightest ornament; and indeed so far was the public regret, on this occasion, carried, that, for the first time in the case of a private individual, the whole kingdom went into mourning, and no gentleman of quality, during several months, ventured to appear in a light-colored or gaudy dress, either in the resorts of business or of fashion. Certainly public affliction never did honor to a more amiable object, nor did the muses ever shed their tears over the hearse of one who was more fervently devoted to their service; for his whole life, as it has been beautifully remarked by Campbell, was poetry put into action.
Pleasure and Happiness.-JANE TAYLOR.
To see visions, and dream dreams, has been a privilege common to those (if we may credit their assertions) whose labors have been devoted to the edification of the public: and fortunate, indeed, should we account ourselves, if, instead of devoting many a weary hour to the service of our young readers, with our eyes wide open, and our pens full gallop, we could, like our more favored predecessors, answer the purpose as well, or better, by merely falling to sleep. For my own part, having no hope of such extraordinary favors, I must be content to present them with one of my waking dreams, trusting they will be able to find the interpretation thereof.
Those readers who are familiar with allegorical adventures will not be surprised to hear that I found myself, one fine evening, on an extensive plain, thronged with persons of every age and condition amongst the younger parts of the assembly, I was pleased to recognize some thousands of the readers of the Youth's Magazine. The crowd was in perpetual movement; many running to and
fro, with an appearance of restlessness and agitation; and upon inquiry I found that they were all in quest of the same person, each expecting to meet her at every turn, although they were looking in such opposite directions. The name of this person I was told was Happiness. "A pretty name," thought I, and I determined to join in the pursuit. It was curious to observe the various expedients which were resorted to in order to discover her. Some were groping amid heaps of dust which they had collected from the surface of the earth; others thought she might be concealed among the daisies and buttercups that covered the plain; others walked about with vacant countenances, idly seeking her among the crowd; while a few, like myself, unconsciously sought her while observing the rest.
Our attention was at length attracted by the sound of lively music, and at the same time a gay procession was seen advancing from a distant part of the plain. As it approached, an elegant female figure was distinguished amid a train of fair attendants; her flowing robe exhibited all the colors of the rainbow; her auburn locks, entwined with wreaths of pearl and diamond, floated in the breeze; her voice was soft, her smile enchanting, and her eyes sparkled more than the brilliants on her brow. Her attendants, also, were gaily attired; they danced, and sang, and strowed artificial flowers in her path. She was received with universal acclamation; for all concluded her to be the person of whom we were in search. "It can be no other than Happiness herself," we said; and she bowed assent to the name. She was soon surrounded by the wondering crowd, who thronged about her in clamorous admiration. Upon a signal from their mistress, the attendant maidens opened a variety of elegant caskets and vases, which they bore in their hands, and from whence they scattered a profusion of costly gifts, toys, trinkets, and dainties, amid the scrambling crowd. When the tumult this occasioned had a little subsided, she commanded silence, and thus addressed the assembly :
"Youths and maidens, behold one who has peculiar claims to your regard. I am devoted to your interests: I fly the infirm, the poor, and the miserable, that I may exclusively promote your gratification. I come to invite you to my palace, where every delight that my genius can invent, and my bounty bestow, is prepared for your reception. Who will follow me ?" This question was answered by an instantaneous movement in the crowd; every one pressing forwards to join her standard.
It was at this moment that another graceful figure was observed advancing from an opposite part of the plain; her step sedate and dignified, her countenance radiant and benignant. She wore a plain robe of delicate whiteness, and a simple wreath of field flowers bound her hair. All eagerly inquired her name; but our fair leader, when appealed to, declared she knew her not, having never seen her before. She would fain have led us off without waiting to salute her; but curiosity prompted us to remain. This personage had no train of attendants; being only supported on one side by a sturdy youth, whose name, as I afterwards learned, was Industry; and on the other, by a maid of stately mien, called Integrity. It was with an air at once of noble frankness and graceful modesty, that she now introduced herself by the name of Happiness.
"Friends," said she, "I make no great pretensions; no such brilliant promises as those to which you have just listened; but you will find me sincere and faithful to my engagements: it is but justice to you, and to myself, that I should reveal my name, and hers who has assumed it. This is her old artifice; she always wishes to assume mine, but her real name is Pleasure. Many suppose that we are, at least, near of kin, and dwell under the same roof; but the truth is, that our families were never connected, and that my abode is far remote from hers. You have now only to choose whom you will follow: you have all been seeking me where I was not to be found; now, if you wish, I will conduct you to my residence. It is true that, now and