[Sir] Philip Sidney
1554-1586 [var. Sir Philip Sydney]; travelled in Ireland, with his father Sir Henry Sydney (1529-86; thrice Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, governor of Derry, and victor over Shane ONeill), 1576; presented masterly defence of Sir Henrys Irish policy before Queen Elizabeth ; received eulogies in Harveys Gratulationes (1578); saw much of Spenser at Leicester House and received dedication of his Shepherds Calendar, appearing as s gentle shepherd born in Arcady in Astrophel, and in The Faerie Queene as Sir Calidore, a chivalric knight who turns shepherd; wounded in thigh at Zutphen and died 26 days after at Arnhem; public funeral at St Pauls; none of his work appeared in his lifetime; cites as anti-Irish historiographer, with Spenser, Camden, &c., in Keatings Foras Feasa ar hEireann; resided at Penshurst. ODNB
[ top ]
[Inter al.,] Alan Stewart, Philip Sidney: A Double Life (London: Chatto & Windus 2000). See also Thomas Herron & Michael Potterton, eds., Ireland in the Renaisance c.1540-1660 (Dublin Four Courts Press 2008), for case-study of Sir Henry Sidney.
[ top ]
Lorna Hutson, reviewing Blair Worden, The Sound of Virtue, Yale UP , in Times Literary Supplement (7 Feb. 1997), notes that the passions were feminine territory in Renaissance thought, Worden suggests that Sidney distinguished between a model of repressive rule of the passions by reason (which merely reproduces the unproductive situation of resistance to tyranny, since passions dont respond well to being repressed), and a fomm of moderate rule, corresponding to the masculine govemment of women: Sidney thinks [women] should be treated like horses. That distinction might not be enough to appease every late twentieth-century sensibility, though Sidney has the highest esteem for horses […]. He indicates that men may withhold women with bridle […]. His picture of Musidorus on horseback offers a model of govemment appropriate to the relations of men and women. But there is nothing innovative or even specific to Sidney (in spite of his esteem for horses) about this image of moderate rule. It was Xenophon (a favourite author of Sidneys) who, having written an equestrian treatise which Sidney probably knew, made the horse-breaking analogy central to his Oeconomicus, which taught men how to manage wives, whence it suffused handbooks of domestic conduct written by eminent Protestants from Heinrich Bullinger onwards. Though Sidneys Arcadia acknowledges this domestic ideology, it does so problematically. […] (p.1.)
[ top ]
In our neighbour country Ireland, where truly learning goeth very bare, yet are their poets held in a devout reverence.' (from Apologie for Poetry, 1595) .
[ top ]
Poets on Penshurst: Penshurst is the subject of a pastoral poem by Ben Jonson, and another by Derek Mahon including the lines, The iron hand and the velvet glove - / Come live with me and be my love
The Spanish ships around Kinsale. (Mahon, Poems 1962-78, 1979, p.82.)
Portrait: See The Wounding of Sir Philip Sidney at the Battle of Zutphen, 1586.
[ top ]