Sir Philip Sidney





When Elizabeth was Queen of England it was a time of great deeds and

great men. The queen was brave and clever herself, so she liked to have

brave and clever people around her. Great soldiers, and writers, and

statesmen went to her court; and when brave seamen came back from their

voyages to unknown lands far away, they were invited by the queen to

visit her, and tell her of all the strange places and people they had

seen. In this Elizabeth was wise, for men did their best to show

themselves worthy of her favours.



Among all the great men at court, none was more beloved than Sir Philip

Sidney. He was called "the darling of the court".






At that time, there was much trouble and many wars in some other

countries, where people were fighting for the right to worship God in

their own way. Philip Sidney heard of these things when he was a boy in

his father's house, and his heart was stirred with pity. Later, when he

was in France, a great number of people were cruelly killed because they

would not pray in the way which the king ordered. Sidney never forgot

the dreadful sights and sounds of that sad time, and when Queen

Elizabeth sent an army to help the people of Holland, who were fighting

for their freedom, he asked for leave to go with it. This was granted to

him, and he was made one of the leaders.






But alas! he went out to die. In one battle, a small band of the English

bravely attacked a large army of their enemies. The horse which Sidney

was riding was killed under him, and as he mounted another, he was shot

in the leg, and his thigh-bone was broken. The horse took fright and

galloped away from the fight, but its wounded and bleeding rider held

to his seat, and when he reached a place of safety was lifted from his

horse, and gently laid upon the ground. He was faint from loss of blood,

and in great pain, and his throat was parched with thirst.



"Bring me water," said he to a friend.



This was not easy to do, for there was not a stream near at hand, and in

order to get to one it would be necessary to pass where the shot from

the enemy's cannons was falling fast. But his friend was brave and went

through the danger. Then he found some water, and brought it to him.

Sidney eagerly held out his hand for the cup, and as he was preparing to

drink, another poor wounded soldier was carried past. This man was

dying; he could not speak, but he looked with longing eyes at the water.

Sir Philip saw the look, and taking the cup from his own lips, passed it

to the soldier, saying: "Thy need is greater than mine." The poor man

quenched his thirst, and blessed him as he died.



Sir Philip lived on for a few weeks, growing weaker every day, but he

never came back to his own land, and the many friends who loved him.



Sidney was great in many ways; very fair to see, very wise and good, and

very clever and witty. He was one of the bravest fighters, one of the

finest poets, and one of the best gentlemen who ever lived. He will

always be remembered for his brave deeds, and his wise sayings, but most

of all do men bless his name for this act of kindness to his poor dying

comrade.





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