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be the lifting up of your mind to Almighty God by hearty prayer; and feelingly digest the words you speak in prayer, with continual meditation and thinking of him to whom you pray, and of the matter for which you pray. And use this at an ordinary hour. Whereby the time itself will put you in remembrance to do that which you are accustomed to do in that time. Apply your study to such hours as your discreet master doth assign you, earnestly; and the time, I know, he will so limit as shall be both sufficient for your learning and safe for your health. And mark the sense and the matter of that you read as well as the words: so shall you both enrich your tongue with words and your wit with matter; and judgment will grow as years groweth in you. Be humble and obedient to your master; for unless you frame yourself to obey others, yea, and feel in yourself what obedience is, you shall never be able to teach others how to obey you. Be courteous of gesture, and affable to all men, with diversity of reverence, according to the dignity of the person. There is nothing that winneth so much with so little cost. Use moderate diet, so as, after your meat, you may find your wit fresher and not duller, and your body more
lively, and not more heavy. Seldom drink wine, and yet sometimes do, least being enforced to drink upon the sudden you should find yourself inflamed. Use exercise of body, but such as is without peril of your joints or bones; it will increase your force and enlarge your breath. Delight to be cleanly, as well in all parts of your body as in your garments; it shall make you grateful in each company, and, otherwise, loathsome. Give yourself to be merry; for you degenerate from your father, if you find not yourself most able in wit and body to do any thing when you be most merry. But let your mirth be ever void of all scurrility and biting words to any man; for a wound given by a word is oftentimes harder to be cured than that which is given with the sword. Be you rather a hearer and bearer away of other men's talk, than a beginner or procurer of speech, otherwise you shall be counted to delight to hear yourself speak. If you hear a wise sentence, or an apt phrase, commit it to your memory, with respect to the circumstance, when you shall speak it. Let never oath be heard to come out of your mouth, nor word of ribaldry; detest it in others, so shall custom make to yourself a law against it in yourself. Be modest in each
assembly; and rather be rebuked of light fellows for maiden-like shamefacedness, than of your sad friends for pert boldness. Think upon every word that you will speak before you utter it, and remember how nature hath rampered up, as it were, the tongue with teeth, lips, yea, and hair without the lips, and all betokening reins or bridles for the loose use of that member. Above all things, tell
no untruth, no not in trifles.
The custom of it is
naught; and let it not satisfy you, that, for a time, the hearers take it for a truth, for after it will be known as it is, to your shame; for there cannot be a greater reproach to a gentleman than to be accounted a liar. Study and endeavour yourself to be virtuously occupied: so shall you make such an habit of well doing in you, that you 'shall not know how to do evil though you would. Remember, my son, the noble blood you are descended of by your mother's side, and think that only, by virtuous life and good action, you may be an ornament to that illustrious family; and otherwise, through vice and sloth, you shall be counted labes generis, one of the greatest curses that can happen to man. Well, my little Philip, this is enough for me, and too much I fear for you. But if I shall find that
this light meal of digestion nourish any thing the weak stomach of your young capacity, I will, as I find the same grow stronger, feed it with tougher food.
"Your loving father, so long as you live in the fear of God,
"H. SYDNEY *."
* The original of this letter was found among the manuscripts deposited in the library at Penshurst.
"Of Penshurst," remarks sir Egerton Brydges, "where Sidney was born, there is a curious engraving by Vertue inserted in the first volume of Hasted's history of the county. Its rude grandeur, its immense hall, its castellated form, its numerous apartments, well accord with the images of chivalry which the memory of Sidney inspires."
The following sonnet, from the pen of the learned baronet, still further depicts, in colours worthy of the subject, the desolated state of this venerable mansion:
WRITTEN AT PENSHURST, 1795.
Behold thy triumphs, Time! what silence reigns
Ah! where are regal Sidney's* pompous trains? Where Philip's tuneful lyre †, whose dying falls Could melt the yielding nymphs and love-sick swains?
* Sir Henry Sidney, Lord President of the marches, who kept his court at Ludlow castle.
Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia.
A postscript by my lady Sydney, in the skirts of my lord president's letter to her said son Philip.
"YOUR noble and careful father hath taken pains (with his own hand) to give you in this his letter, so wise, so learned, and most requisite precepts, for you to follow with a diligent and humble thankful mind, as I will not withdraw your eyes from beholding and reverent honouring the same; no, not so long time as to read any letter from me: and, therefore, at this time I will write unto you. no other letter than this; whereby I first bless you, with my desire to God to plant in you his grace; and, secondarily, warn you to have always before the eyes of your mind these excellent counsels of my lord, your dear father, and that you fail not
Ah! where the undaunted figure that appals
E'en heroes? where the lute, that on the plains The bending trees round Sacharissa calls? And are they fled? their day 's for ever past!
Heroes and poets moulder in the earth!
No sound is heard but of the wailing blast,
And all the faded splendour soon restores!
BRITISH BIBLIOGRAPHER, vol. i. pp. 293–294.
Alluding to Waller's lines written at Penshurst.