Fulke Greville: A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney

(2726 words)
  • John Gouws (North-West University (Potchefstroom))

This work recovered its proper title well over three hundred years after it was published in 1652 as The Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney (Wing B4899; see Prose Works xiii-xiv, and Gouws 2014). In its printed incarnation it became one of the most influential biographical sources for Sidney as the English epitome of noble, Protestant chivalric virtues. In particular, it is the source of the iconic anecdote of the mortally wounded Sidney refusing to slake his own thirst before that of a wounded common soldier with the proverbial words: “Thy necessity is yet greater than mine” (Life sig. L3). These words—if not the anecdote itself—were, throughout the Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries instilled …

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Gouws, John. "A Dedication to Sir Philip Sidney". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 13 October 2015
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3956, accessed 29 September 2016.]