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overwhelming perfidy, Mr. Sidney, with several of his countrymen, took refuge in the house of the English embassador: and after the storm had subsided, though strongly urged by Leicester to return home, proceeded onward on his travels: passing through Lorrain by Strasburg and Heidelberg to Frankfort, where he lodged in the house of the celebrated printer Andrew Wechel.* Here he commenced his acquaintance with one of the most illustrious children and champions of literature, Hubert Languet, the friend of Melanchthon, of Gustavus King of Sweden, of Augustus Elector of Saxony, and of William Prince of Orange; and distinguished almost equally for his erudition and his memory, his temperance and his sagacity, his suavity of manners and the extraordinary modesty of his demeanor. From him Sidney acquired his extensive knowledge of the customs and usages of nations, their interests, their governments, and their laws: nor could any thing be more honourable to a youth of nineteen, than his
commemorated by Pontifical medals and indulgences, is truly disgraceful to the individuals who bestowed them. " In England," on the contrary, says the French embassador, relating his first audience at Woodstock after the receipt of the news, a gloomy sorrow sat on every face. Silence, as in the dead of night, reigned through all the royal apartments. The ladies and courtiers were ranged on each side, all clad in deep mourning; and as I passed through them, not one bestowed on me a civil look, or made the least return to my salutes."
* It was usual for scholars to lodge with eminent printers. R. Stephens had frequently in his house ten learned foreigners, whose occasional employment it was, to correct his impressions. Languet, who had saved Wechel his host in the Parisian massacre, was himself, when at Antwerp, the guest of Christopher Plantinus.
selection of such a guide.
When they separated,
he continued to receive, through the medium of his letters, the most useful and endearing instructions.f
During his stay at Vienna, he learned horsemanship, the use of arms, and all the manly and martial exercises suitable to his youth and birth. At Venice, that seat of voluptuous dissipation, to which he proceeded in 1574, instead of joining in the revelries of the profligate and the unlettered, he associated himself with the most respectable and the most learned of his contemporaries. In the June of the same year he left Venice for Padua, where with his accustomed diligence he applied himself to geometry and astronomy and if he failed to attain their loftiest summit, it could only be owing to the affectionate suggestions of his correspondent Languet, who in reference to his naturally delicate state of health cautioned him not to resemble the traveller, that during a long journey attends to himself and not to his horse.' At Padua, likewise, he became
* In the third book of his Arcadia, he has gratefully acknowledged his obligations to
Languet, the shepherd best swift Ister knew
For clerkly rede, and hating what is naught,
For faithful heart, clean hands, and mouth as true.' See the Extracts.
These letters, written with great elegance and purity of language, were republished in 1776 by Lord Hailes.
‡ Lord Clarendon has somewhere remarked, that in the whole course of his life he never knew one man, of what condition soever, arrive to any degree of reputation in the world, who made choice of or delighted in the company or conversation of those, who in their qualities were inferior, or in their parts not much superior to himself."
known to Tasso; and received from Scipio Gentilis, who had translated into Latin verse several cantos of the Gierusalemme Liberata' (then circulated in manuscript), the flattering compliment of a dedication.
On his return to Venice, in February 1575, his free and undisguised intercourse with Catholic scholars led his English connexions to apprehend, that his faith might be in danger. But for this suspicion there was no substantial ground. Languet, indeed, beside his perpetual disquisitions on the superiority of the Protestant creed, had sufficient influence to prevent him from visiting Rome; though, in a later period of his life (it appears) Sidney regretted, that he had acquiesced in his friend's admonitions. By the same watchful guardian likewise he was cautioned, during his residence at Genoa, against the arts of the Genoese.
He was, now, wholly devoted to study. In obedience to his father's admonition, ever to be vir tuously employed,' and with the view of forming a good Latin stile, he requested the directions of Languet, who recommended to him, as well for their manner as their matter, a diligent perusal of Cicero's Epistles; and farther procured for him also, upon his earnest request, and at an exorbitant price
* Of these he advised him (on a plan, sanctioned by the concurrence of Ascham in his Schoolmaster') to translate one occasionally into another language, and after some interval to re-translate it into Latin: but at the same time he warned him against the superstitious affectation of exploding every phrase not authorised by Cicero; a folly first ridiculed by Erasmus, who in consequence incurred the bitterest reproaches from J. C. Scaliger in his Ciceronianus.'
(as at that time extremely scarce) the works of Plutarch, from which he derived a vast fund of political, moral, and historical knowledge.* It is impossible, indeed, to over-rate the advantages, which he must have derived from the sleepless affection of this master-mind. • To cultivate piety, to keep his faith inviolate, to utter the undisguised sentiments of his heart, to protect good men against unjust violence, and to prefer the safety of his country to life itself' such were the counsels of his tutelary genius. †
Mr. Sidney now, laying aside his project of visiting Constantinople, again traversed Germany by nearly his former track, and reached his native country in May 1575. Upon his return, he became the delight of the English court, to which (says Fuller)" he was so essential, that it seemed maimed without his company, being a complete master of matter and language.". The queen treated him with peculiar kindness, calling him her Philip,' in opposition to her sister's Philip of Spain.
The year following he was sent embassador to the court of Vienna, to condole with the Emperor Rodolph on the death of his father Maximi
* The specific edition was more particularly endeared to him, as having been printed, in 1572, by his friend H. Stephens.
↑ At Heidelberg he had, likewise, cultivated the friendship of Zacharias Ursinus, whose frugal application of time was testified by the inscription placed over the door of his library;
lian II.* Elizabeth, it has been remarked, in her choice of representative envoys, had regard not only to the abilities, but also to the person and the accomplishments of the individuals selected. A farther and more important object of his mission was, the uniting of all the Protestant states against the assaults meditated upon them by Rome and Spain: and in this he succeeded.
He was directed, at the same time, to visit the court of John Casimir, Count Palatine of the Rhine, with a view of claiming the repayment of various sums advanced by his royal mistress toward the expense of carrying on a war with France. In the management of this affair, he conducted himself with so much discretion, that Lord Burghley himself, though not generally friendly to the connexions of the Earl of Leicester, pronounced upon his industry and judgement the most flattering eulogy.†
It ought not to be omitted, that Sidney possessed likewise the cordial regard of William Prince of Orange, the father of his country, who usually called him his master,' and emphatically described him as one of the wisest and greatest councillors of state at that day in Europe.' A more singular tribute to his high worth was paid by Don John of Austria, natural son of the Emperor Charles V., and Viceroy of Philip II. in the Netherlands; who, though at first from his national pride and his inve
* Of his reception at the Imperial court we have his own official account, in a letter to Sir Francis Walsingham, then Secretary of State.
+ Among the presents, which he received while abroad, are particularly mentioned a gold chain given to him by Rodolph, and another with a jewel bestowed by the Princess of Orange.