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<--Fulke Greville

Sir Philip Sidney at Zutphen

From Fulke Greville's "Life of Sir Philip Sidney"

[The wounding of Sidney at Zutphen]

When that unfortunate stand was to be made before Zutphen to stop the issuing out of the Spanish Army from a streict; with what alacrity soever he went to actions of honor, yet remembring that upon just grounds the ancient Sages describe the worthiest persons to be ever best armed, he had compleatly put on his; but meeting the Marshall of the Camp lightly armed (whose honour in that art would not suffer this unenvious Themistocles to sleep) the unspotted emulation of his heart, to venture without any inequalitie, made him cast off his Cuisses; and so, by the secret influence of destinie, to disarm that part, where God (it seems) had resolved to strike him.  Thus they go on, every man in the head of his own Troop; and the weather being misty, fell unawares upon the enemie, who had made a strong stand to receive them, near to the very walls of Zutphen; by reason of which accident their Troops fell, not only unexpectedly to be engaged within the levell of the great shot, that played from the Rampiers, but more fatally within shot of their Muskets, which were layd in ambush within their own trenches.

     Now whether this were a desperate cure in our Leaders, for a desperate disease; or whether misprision, neglect, audacity, or what else induced it, it is no part of my office to determine, but onely to make the narration clear, and deliver rumor, as it passed then, without any stain, or enammel.

     Howsoever, by this stand, an unfortunate hand out of those forespoken Trenches, brake the bone of Sir Philip's thigh with a Musket-shot. The horse he rode upon, was rather furiously cholleric, than bravely proud, and so forced him to forsake the field, but not his back, as the noblest, and fittest biere to carry a Martiall Commander to his grave.

Sir Philip Sidney at Zutphen

In which sad progress, passing along by the rest of the Army, where his Uncle the Generall was, and being thirstie with excess of bleeding, he called for drink, which was presently brought him; but as he was putting the bottle to his mouth, he saw a poor Souldier carryed along, who had eaten his last at the same Feast, gastly casting up his eyes at the bottle. Which Sir Philip perceiving, took it from his head, before he drank, and delivered it to the poor man, with these words, Thy necessity is greater than mine. And when he had pledged this poor souldier, he was presently carried to Arnheim, where the principle Chirurgions of the Camp attended for him; some mercinarily out of gain, others out of honour to their Art, but the most of them with a true zeal (compounded of love and reverence) to doe him good, and (as they thought) many Nations in him.

Text source:
Sir Fulke Greville's Life of Sir Philip Sidney.
Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1907. 128-130.

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Created by Anniina Jokinen on October 24, 2006. Last updated on May 22, 2023.


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