1800 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Philip Sidney

Anonymous, "Onn the Deathe off Sir Philipe Sydney" The Oracle, Daily Advertiser (26 August 1800).



ANTIENT POETRY — NO. II.
(Never before published.)

The very pathetic Story which gave rise to the following simple BALLAD is nearly as follows:—

The gallant Sir PHILIP SIDNEY, so renowned in the reign of ELIZABETH, both on account of his mental as well as personal valour and accomplishments, was one of the Officers in the English Army during the war in the Low Countries. At the battle of Zutphen, having displayed his dauntless courage, he was retiring, wounded, from the field, suffering extreme bodily anguish, and, at the same time, parched with excessive thirst, occasioned by the fever that preyed upon his whole frame. Having for a length of time demanded some water to quench his thirst, it was at last procured with much difficulty, and presented to him. He received it to his lips, when a dying Soldier, borne by two of his comrades, happened to pass, who, at the same time, cast a wistful eye upon the bowl. Sir PHILIP, actuated by the noblest principle of virtue, instantly returned the cann to the person who had presented it, saying — "Bear it to yon dying Soldier — his necessities are far greater than mine!" — Sir PHILIP'S command was obeyed; and it is supposed that this merciful forbearance on his part was the principal cause of his death, which immediately after took place. — The following STANZAS, although remarkable for simplicity, possess that energetic force for which our Ancient Poetry is so eminently conspicuous. We present the Poem to our Readers as one among the valuable discoveries, for which we feel ourselves so much indebted to the friendly Possessor:

ONN THE DEATHE OFF SIR PHILIP SYDNEY, WRITTEN BY THE LADYE CATHERINE SCROOPE IMMEDIATELY AFTUR THE RECEIVING OFF THE DOLOROUS TIDYINGS IN ENGLANDE.

Weepe, my Countrye, weepe your Glorye,
SYDNEYE lyes onn Zutphen's Plain;
Neverr dyd more reufull storye
Wake youre breastes to silente paine.

Zutphen saw oure PHILIPE number'd
Withe the pale ande icye deade;
There withe glorye SYDNEYE slumber'd;
There with honour SYDNEYE bled.

There he bade the foe defiaunce,
Ande with hero's rank'd hy's name:
'Twas not wealthe orr proude alliaunce—
SYDNEYE thyrsted afterr fame.

As from Zutphen's soyle faste bleedyng,
PHILIPE wounded bente hys waye;
His own suffrings little heedynge,
Glorye having crowned the daye.

Faint withe pain, withe thirste expiryng,
Ofte hee claims the frendlye bowle;
Water's coolynge draughte requirynge,
To recruite hys sycknynge soule.

Soone the ample Can was given,
By a Squire of SYDNEYE'S train;
But this virtuous Childe of Heavenn,
Meltes at anotherr's payne.

For from off the field of battle,
Where the hardye warryours bled;
Where the murdrous cannons rattle,
Seal'd so many withe the deade.

Lo! a meniall Soldyer dyinge,
By hys pitying comrades borne,
SYDNEYE'S Can soe wistfull eyinge,
Withe a faynte and dolorous mourne,

Rays'd the dew of tender sorrowe,
Inn Sirr PHILIPE'S sunken eye,
SYDNEYE pitty's soule dyd borrowe;
Fayntlye thus the youthe dyd crye.

"Little are mye wantes, beleve mee,
Take fromm hence this flowing Can;
Yon poore Soldyer's misrye greves mee,
Beare itt too thatt dying mann."

From hys lipps so parch'd and quivringe,
SYDNEYE straighte the liquorr gave,
Soon deathes damp and chillye shivringe,
Strucke the pityinge Hero brave.

Thus awhile the youthe dyd langwishe,
Thus he fell on Zutphen's Plain,
Thus expir'd withe parchynge angwishe,
Feelynge forr anotherr's payne.

Weepe, ye brave! the Sonn of Glorye
Died entwin'd withe Mercye's Creste
May oure valyaunte SYDNEYE'S storye
Warme eache noble Briton's breaste.

May thys trewe butt rewefull dittye
Virtue to eache minde imparte!
May eache soule be warmed with pittye!
May eache youthe weare SYDNEYE'S hearte.