Excerpt: ...us feel our common humanity, and to discover that what seems to us a hopelessly romantic ideal of character is a familiar fact of every day. Heroism is always the same, however the fashion of a hero's clothes may alter. Every hero in history is as near to a man as his neighbor, and if we should tell the simple truth of some of our ...Read MoreExcerpt: ...us feel our common humanity, and to discover that what seems to us a hopelessly romantic ideal of character is a familiar fact of every day. Heroism is always the same, however the fashion of a hero's clothes may alter. Every hero in history is as near to a man as his neighbor, and if we should tell the simple truth of some of our neighbors, it would sound like poetry. Sir Philip Sidney wore doublet and hose, and died in Flanders three hundred years ago. His name is the synonym of manly honor, of generous scholarship, of the finest nobility, of the spiritual light that most irradiates human nature. Look at his portrait closely; it is no stranger that you see; it is no far-off Englishman. It is your friend, your son, your brother, your lover. Whoever knew Wendell Phillips knew Philip Sidney. It is the same spirit in a thousand forms; a perpetual presence, a constant benediction: Look at his portrait and "The night shall be filled with music, And the cares that infest the day Shall fold their tents like the Arabs, And as silently steal away." The gray walls, the red and peaked roof of the old house of Penshurst, stand in the pleasant English valley of the Medway, in soft and showery Kent. Kent is all garden, and there, in November, 1554, Philip Sidney was born. His father, Sir Henry Sidney, was a wise and honest man. Bred at court, his sturdy honor was never corrupted. King Edward died in his arms, and Queen Mary confirmed all his honors and offices three weeks before the birth of his oldest son, whom, in gratitude, he named Philip, for the queen's new Spanish husband. Philip's mother was Mary Dudley, daughter of the Duke of Northumberland, sister of the famous Earl of Leicester, sister also of Lord Guildford Dudley and sister-in-law of Lady Jane Grey. The little Philip was born into a sad household. Within fifteen months his grandfather and uncle had been beheaded for treason; and his sorrowing mother, a truly noble and tender...Read Less
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