Sir Philip Sidney

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Sir Philip Sidney


Biographical - Philip Sidney was born on November 30, 1554, in Penhurst, Kent. Philip came from a long line of notable Sidneys. His grandfather was Sir William Sidney a courtier to King Henry VIII and tutor (later steward) to King Henrys son Edward. Philips father Sir Henry Sidney was close friends with Edward. He was the lord deputy (governor) of Ireland on three separate occasions. He married Lady Mary Dudley who was the grand-daughter to Henry VIII. Philips godfather, after whom he was named, was Philip II of Spain, husband of Queen Mary I. In 1564 at the age of ten he entered Shrewsbury school. While attending Shrewsbury he met Fulke Greville who became his life-long friend and biographer. He then attended Christ Church college in Oxford from 1568-1571 where he made many influential friends such as Sir Walter Raleigh and Richard Hakluyt.

He left with out gaining a degree, possibly due to an outbreak of the plague in Oxford. He studied briefly at Cambridge and then continued to further his education by means of extensive travel throughout the continent. During his travels he learned Latin, French, and Italian and became aquatinted with many influential European statesman. While traveling in France accompanied by Sir Francis Walsingham he witnessed the St. Bartholomews day massacre in Paris August 24, 1572 when thousands of Protestants died. He returned to England somewhat of an expert on European courtly and political affairs.2 In 1576 he succeeded his father as Cupbearer to Queen Elizabeth. At this time it was a purely ceremonial duty and he also served as a prominent courier occasionally serving on diplomaticmissions. In 1577 at the age of 22, the Queen gave him his ...

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...e, first "Many headed multitude" in Coriolanus, act ii. Sc. 3. and then again in Shakespeares Merry Wives of Windsor. Sidney is also quoted by Henry W. Longfellow in his Voices of the Night. Prelude, when he writes, "Look, then, into thine heart and write.

Other quotations can be found at The Sidney family legacy lives on at Penshurst Place ( web page that has family history from over 450 years.

Works Cited

Allen, M.J.B. Sir Philip Sidneys Achievements (1990)

Hamilton, A.C. Sir Philip Sidney (1977)

Walter, G.F. and More, M.D. Sir Philip Sidney and the Interpretation of Renaissance Culture (1984)


Sir Philip Sidney @

Penshurst Place @ thesidneys.html
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