Philip Sidney


Sir Philip Sidney only lived to be 32 before he was killed in battle during the Netherlands War of Independence, but he made such a striking impression during his life of such a noble bearing that he has historically been considered the very model of English chivalry.

Sidney was a nephew of Elizabeth's famous courtier, Robert Dudley. He was very well educated and fluent in many languages. As a young man he wrote several poems of outstanding quality, including a sonnet dedicated to a lady-friend, in the mediaeval chivalric style. He also traveled throughout Europe during his late teens and was present in Paris during the St. Bartholomew's day Massacre. By every evidence he was a sincere Christian and a resolute defender of protestant liberty. At court his manners were impeccable, and in battle he was a brave and selfless knight.

He died from wounds suffered at the battle of Zutphen, but even in agony and death he behaved which great chivalry. One of the most famous stories about Sidney occurred after the battle, when he lay suffering from his wounds. He is said to have offered his cup of water to another soldier, saying "Here, my comrade, take this. Thy need is greater than mine."

Key events during the life of Sir Philip Sidney:

Born in Kent, the nephew of Robert Dudley
  Educated at Christ Church, Oxford
Present in Paris during the St. Bartholomew Day Massacre.
Returned to England
  Wrote his longest work, Arcadia.
Wrote Astophel and Stella in honor of Penelope Devereaux.
Appointed Governor of Flushing, in the Netherlands.
Killed at the battle of Zutphen during the Netherland War of Independence.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Sir Philip Sidney  in  Fifty Famous Stories Retold  by  James Baldwin
The Story of Sir Philip Sidney  in  Cambridge Historical Reader—Primary  by  Cambridge Press
Perfect Knight  in  Stories From English History, Part Second  by  Alfred J. Church
Sir Philip Sidney  in  Great Englishmen  by  M. B. Synge

Image Links

Sir Philip Sidney and the wounded soldier
 in Fifty Famous Stories Retold

Death of Sir Philip Sidney
 in Cambridge Historical Reader—Primary

Short Biography
Robert Dudley Favorite courtier of Queen Elizabeth. Granted many favors, but not much power.
Earl of Essex Favorite of Queen Elizabeth. Involved in a conspiracy and died in prison.