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Leicester and his Court were at Amsterdam on these dates o. In the absence of definite evidence, Roger Kuin, the editor xefense The Poesg of Sir Philip Sidney to which the metadata here in EMLO is linkedmade a decision in the edition to present letters from October onwards according to their noted date. William Fitzer, Elzevir, Sydneium, equitem Anglum. Accurante D. Murray and J. Cochran, vating Steuart A. Sivney Pickering, Feuillerat, ed. Which name, how high and incomparable a title it is, I had rather were knowne by marking the scope of other sciences, then by any partial allegation. Only the Poet disdeining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigor of his own invention, doth grow in effect into another nature: Nature never set foorth decense earth opesy so rich Tapistry as diverse Poets have done, neither with so pleasaunt rivers, fruitfull trees, sweete smelling flowers, nor whatsoever els may make the sidnej much loved earth more lovely: But let those things alone and goe to man, for whom as the other things are, so it seemeth in him her uttermost comming is imploied: Neither let this be jestingly conceived, bicause the works of the one be essenciall, the other in imitation or fiction: And that the Poet hath that Idea, is manifest, by delivering them foorth sudney such excellencie as he had imagined them: Neither let it be deemed too sawcy a comparison, to ballance the highest point of mans wit, with the efficacie of nature: But these vating will by few be understood, and by fewer graunted: Now let us go to a more ordinary opening of him, that the truth may be the derense palpable: Poesie therefore, is an Art of Imitation: Of this have bene three generall kindes, the chiefe both in antiquitie and excellencie, were they that did imitate the unconceivable excellencies of God.
Moses and Debora, in their Hymnes, and the wryter of Jobe: Which beside other, the learned Emanuell, Tremelius, and F. In this kinde, though in a full wrong divinitie, were Orpheus, Amphion, Homer in his himnes, and manie other both Greeke and Romanes. And this Poesie must be used by whosoever will follow S. But bicause this second sort is wrapped Phipip the poesh of the proposed subject, and takes not the free course of his own invention, whether they properly bee Poets or no, let Gramarians dispute, and goe to the third indeed right Poets, of whom chiefly this question ariseth: These be they that as the first and most noble sort, may justly be termed Vates: These be subdivided into sundry more special denominations.
Indeed but apparelled verse: For Xenophon who did imitate so excellently as to give us effigiem justi imperii, the pourtraiture of a just Empyre under the name of Cyrus, as Cicero saith of him, made therein an absolute heroicall Poeme. Although indeed the Senate of Poets hath chosen verse as their fittest raiment: Now therfore it shal not be amisse, first to way this latter sort of poetrie by his workes, and then by his parts, and if in neither of these Anatomies hee be condemnable, I hope we shall obteine a more favourable sentence. This purifying of wit, this enriching of memorie, enabling of judgement, and enlarging of conceit, which commonly we cal learning, under what name so ever it come forth, or to what immediate end soever it be directed, the finall end is, to lead and draw us to as high a perfection, as our degenerate soules made worse by their clay-lodgings, can be capable of.
This according to the inclination of man, bred many formed impressions. For some that thought this felicity principally to be gotten by knowledge, and no knowledge to be so high or heavenly, as acquaintance with the stars; gave themselves to Astronomie: Some an admirable delight drew to Musicke; and some the certaintie of demonstration to the Mathematicks: Even as the Sadlers next ende is to make a good Saddle, but his further ende, to serve a nobler facultie, which is horsmanship, so the horsemans to souldiery: So that the ending end of all earthly learning, being verteous action, those skils that most serve to bring forth that, have a most just title to be Princes over al the rest: Lastly by plaine setting downe, how it extends it selfe out of the limits of a mans owne little world, to the government of families, and mainteining of publike societies.
The Philosopher saith he, teacheth a disputative vertue, but I do an active. His vertue is excellent in the dangerlesse Academy of Plato: Hee teacheth vertue by certaine abstract considerations: Old aged experience, goeth beyond the fine witted Philosopher: Lastly, if he make the song Booke, I put the learners hand to the Lute, and if he be the guide, I am the light. Then he would alleage you innumerable examples, confirming storie by stories, how much the wisest Senators and Princes, have bene directed by the credit of Historie, as Brutus, Alphonsus of Aragon, and who not if need be. Now whom shall we find, since the question standeth for the highest forme in the schoole of learning to be moderator?
Truly as mee seemeth, the Poet, and if not a moderator, even the man that ought to carry the title from them both: For as for the divine, with all reverence it is ever to be excepted, not onely for having his scope as far beyond any of these, as Eternitie exceedeth a moment: Therefore, as our wickednes maketh him necessarie, and necessitie maketh him honorable, so he is not in the deepest truth to stand in ranck with these, who al endevour to take naughtinesse away, and plant goodnesse even in the secretest cabinet of our soules: The Philosopher therefore, and the Historian, are they which would win the goale, the one by precept, the other by example: For the Philosopher setting downe with thornie arguments, the bare rule, is so hard of utterance, and so mistie to be conceived, that one that hath no other guide but him, shall wade in him till he be old, before he shall finde suffiecient cause to be honest.
For his knowledge standeth so upon the abstract and generall, that happie is that man who may understand him, and more happie, that can apply what he doth understand. On the other side, the Historian wanting the precept, is so tied, not to what should be, but to what is, to the particular truth of things, that his example draweth no necessary consequence, and therefore a lesse fruitfull doctrine. Now doth the peerlesse Poet performe both, for whatsoever the Philosopher saith should be done, he gives a perfect picture of it by some one, by whom he presupposeth it was done, so as he coupleth the generall notion with the particuler example.
A perfect picture I say, for hee yeeldeth to the powers of the minde an image of that whereof the Philosopher bestoweth but a wordish description, which doth neither strike, pearce, nor possesse, the sight of the soule so datinb, as that other doth. For as in outward things to a man o had never seene an Elephant, or a Rinoceros, who poes tell him most exquisitely siidney their shape, cullour, bignesse, and particuler marks, or of a gorgious pallace an Architecture, who declaring the full bewties, might well make the hearer able to repeat as rating were by roat all he had heard, yet should datihg satisfie his inward conceit, with being witnesse to it selfe of a true lively knowledge: Tully taketh much paines, and many times not without Poeticall helpes to make us know the force, love of our country hath in us.
And finally, all vertues, vices, and passions, so in their owne naturall states, laide to the view, that we seeme not to heare of them, but clearly to see through them. But even in the most excellent determination of goodnesse, what Philosophers counsaile can so readely direct a Prince, as the feined Cirus in Xenophon, or a vertuous man in all fortunes: I say the Way, because where Sir Thomas Moore erred, it was the fault of the man and not of the Poet: For the question is, whether the fashioned Image of Poetrie, or the regular instruction of Philosophie, hath the more force in teaching? Truly for my selfe mee seemes I see before mine eyes, the lost childs disdainful prodigalitie, turned to envy a Swines dinner: For conclusion, I say the Philosopher teacheth, but he teacheth obscurely, so as the learned onely can understand him, that is to say, he teacheth them that are alreadie taught.
But the Poet is the food for the tenderest stomacks, the Poet is indeed, the right populer Philosopher.
Whereof Esops Tales give good proofe, whose prettie Allegories stealing under the formall Tales of beastes, makes many more beastly than beasts: But now it may be alleadged, that if this imagining of matters be so fit for the imagination, then must the Historian needs surpasse, who brings you images of true matters, such as indeed were done, and not such as fantastically or falsely may be suggested to have bin done. His reason is, because Poesie dealeth with katholou, that is to say, with the universall consideration, and the Historie with Philip sidney defense of poesy online dating, the particular.
Now saith he, the universall wayes what is fit to be said or done, either in likelihood or necessitie, which the Poesie considereth in his imposed names: Thus farre Aristotle. Which reason of his, as all his is most full of reason. For indeed if the question were, whether it were better to have a particular act truly or faithfully set downe, there is no doubt which is to be chosen, no more than whether you had rather have Vespacians Picture right as he was, or at the Painters pleasure nothing resembling. And whereas a man may say, though in universall consideration of doctrine, the Poet prevaileth, yet that the Historie in his saying such a thing was done, doth warrant a man more in that he shall follow.
The answere is manifest, that if he stand upon that was, as if he should argue, because it rained yesterday, therefore it should raine to day, then indeede hath it some advantage to a gross conceit. Which delivering forth, also, is not wholly imaginative, as we are wont to say by them that build castles in the air; but so far substantially it worketh, not only to make a Cyrus, which had been but a particular excellency, as nature might have done, but to bestow a Cyrus upon the world to make many Cyruses, if they will learn aright why and how that maker made him.
Which in nothing he showeth so much as in poetry, when with the force of a divine breath he bringeth things forth far surpassing her doings, with no small argument to the incredulous of that first accursed fall of Adam,—since our erected wit maketh us know what perfection is, and yet our infected will keepeth us from reaching unto it. But these arguments will by few be understood, and by fewer granted; thus much I hope will be given me, that the Greeks with some probability of reason gave him the name above all names of learning. Now let us go to a more ordinary opening of him, that the truth may be the more palpable; and so, I hope, though we get not so unmatched a praise as the etymology of his names will grant, yet his very description, which no man will deny, shall not justly be barred from a principal commendation.
Poesy, therefore, is an art of imitation, for so Aristotle termeth it in his word mimesis, that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth; to speak metaphorically, a speaking picture, with this end,—to teach and delight. Of this have been three general kinds. The chief, both in antiquity and excellency, were they that did imitate the inconceivable excellencies of God. Against these none will speak that hath the Holy Ghost in due holy reverence. In this kind, though in a full wrong divinity, were Orpheus, Amphion, Homer in his Hymns, and many other, both Greeks and Romans.
And this poesy must be used by whosoever will follow St. But because this second sort is wrapped within the fold of the proposed subject, and takes not the free course of his own invention, whether they properly be poets or no let grammarians dispute, and go to the third, indeed right poets, of whom chiefly this question ariseth. For these third Philip sidney defense of poesy online dating they which most properly do imitate to teach and delight; and to imitate borrow nothing of what is, hath been, or shall be; but range, only reined with learned discretion, into the divine consideration of what may be and should be. These be they that, as the first and most noble sort may justly be termed vates, so these are waited on in the excellentest languages and best understandings with the fore-described name of poets.
For these, indeed, do merely make to imitate, and imitate both to delight and teach, and delight to move men to take that goodness in hand, which without delight they would fly as from a stranger; and teach to make them know that goodness whereunto they are moved: These be subdivided into sundry more special denominations. The most notable be the heroic, lyric, tragic, comic, satiric, iambic, elegiac, pastoral, and certain others, some of these being termed according to the matter they deal with, some by the sort of verse they liked best to write in,—for indeed the greatest part of poets have apparelled their poetical inventions in that numberous kind of writing which is called verse.
Indeed but apparelled, verse being but an ornament and no cause to poetry, since there have been many most excellent poets that never versified, and now swarm many versifiers that need never answer to the name of poets. For Xenophon, who did imitate so excellently as to give us effigiem justi imperii—the portraiture of a just empire under the name of Cyrus as Cicero saith of him —made therein an absolute heroical poem; so did Heliodorus in his sugared invention of that picture of love in Theagenes and Chariclea; and yet both these wrote in prose. Which I speak to show that it is not riming and versing that maketh a poet—no more than a long gown maketh an advocate, who, though he pleaded in armor, should be an advocate and no soldier—but it is that feigning notable images of virtues, vices, or what else, with that delightful teaching, which must be the right describing note to know a poet by.
Although indeed the senate of poets hath chosen verse as their fittest raiment, meaning, as in matter they passed all in all, so in manner to go beyond them; not speaking, table-talk fashion, or like men in a dream, words as they chanceably fall from the mouth, but peizing7 each syllable of each word by just proportion, according to the dignity of the subject. Now, therefore, it shall not be amiss, first to weigh this latter sort of poetry by his works, and then by his parts; and if in neither of these anatomies he be condemnable, I hope we shall obtain a more favorable sentence. This purifying of wit, this enriching of memory, enabling of judgment, and enlarging of conceit, which commonly we call learning, under what name soever it come forth or to what immediate end soever it be directed, the final end is to lead and draw us to as high a perfection as our degenerate souls, made worse by their clay lodgings, can be capable of.
This, according to the inclination of man, bred many-formed impressions. For some that thought this felicity principally to be gotten by knowledge, and no knowledge to be so high or heavenly as acquaintance with the stars, gave themselves to astronomy; others, persuading themselves to be demi-gods if they knew the causes of things, became natural and supernatural philosophers. Some an admirable delight drew to music, and some the certainty of demonstration to the mathematics; but all, one and other, having this scope: But when by the balance of experience it was found that the astronomer, looking to the stars, might fall into a ditch, that the inquiring philosopher might be blind in himself, and the mathematician might draw forth a straight line with a crooked heart; then lo!
So that the ending end of all earthly learning being virtuous action, those skills that most serve to bring forth that have a most just title to be princes over all the rest; wherein, if we can show, the poet is worthy to have it before any other competitors. Among whom as principal challengers step forth the moral philosophers; whom, me thinketh, I see coming toward me with a sullen gravity, as though they could not abide vice by daylight; rudely clothed, for to witness outwardly their contempt of outward things; with books in their hands against glory, whereto they set their names; sophistically speaking against subtility; and angry with any man in whom they see the foul fault of anger.
The historian scarcely giveth leisure to the moralist to say so much, but that he, loaden with old mouse-eaten records, authorizing himself for the most part upon other histories, whose greatest authorities are built upon the notable foundation of hearsay; having much ado to accord differing writers, and to pick truth out of partiality; better acquainted with a thousand years ago than with the present age, and yet better knowing how this world goeth than how his own wit runneth; curious for antiquities and inquisitive of novelties, a wonder to young folks and a tyrant in table-talk; denieth, in a great chafe,8 that any man for teaching of virtue and virtuous actions is comparable to him.
His virtue is excellent in the dangerless Academy of Plato, but mine showeth forth her honorable face in the battles of Marathon, Pharsalia, Poitiers, and Agincourt. He teacheth virtue by certain abstract considerations, but I only bid you follow the footing of them that have gone before you. Old-aged experience goeth beyond the fine-witted philosopher; but I give the experience of many ages. At length the long line of their disputation maketh10 a point in this,—that the one giveth the precept, and the other the example. Now whom shall we find, since the question standeth for the highest form in the school of learning, to be moderator? Truly, as me seemeth, the poet; and if not a moderator, even the man that ought to carry the title from them both, and much more from all other serving sciences.
Therefore compare we the poet with the historian and with the moral philosopher; and if he go beyond them both, no other human skill can match him. For as for the divine, with all reverence it is ever to be excepted, not only for having his scope as far beyond any of these as eternity exceedeth a moment, but even for passing each of these in themselves. The philosopher therefore and the historian are they which would win the goal, the one by precept, the other by example; but both not having both, do both halt. For the philosopher, setting down with thorny arguments the bare rule, is so hard of utterance and so misty to be conceived, that one that hath no other guide but him shall wade in him till he be old, before he shall find sufficient cause to be honest.
For his knowledge standeth so upon the abstract and general that happy is that man who may understand him, and more happy that can apply what he doth understand. On the other side, the historian, wanting the precept, is so tied, not to what should be but to what is, to the particular truth of things, and not to the general reason of things, that his example draweth no necessary consequence, and therefore a less fruitful doctrine. Now doth the peerless poet perform both; for whatsoever the philosopher saith should be done, he giveth a perfect picture of it in some one by whom he presupposeth it was done, so as he coupleth the general notion with the particular example.
A perfect picture, I say; for he yieldeth to the powers of the mind an image of that whereof the philosopher bestoweth but a wordish description, which doth neither strike, pierce, nor possess the sight of the soul so much as that other doth. For as, in outward things, to a man that had never seen an elephant or a rhinoceros, who should tell him most exquisitely all their shapes, color, bigness, and particular marks; or of a gorgeous palace, an architector, with declaring the full beauties, might well make the hearer able to repeat, as it were by rote, all he had heard, yet should never satisfy his inward conceit with being witness to itself of a true lively13 knowledge; but the same man, as soon as he might see those beasts well painted, or that house well in model, should straightways grow, without need of any description, to a judicial comprehending of them; so no doubt the philosopher, with his learned definitions, be it of virtues or vices, matters of public policy or private government, replenisheth the memory with many infallible grounds of wisdom, which notwithstanding lie dark before the imaginative and judging power, if they be not illuminated or figured forth by the speaking picture of poesy.
Tully taketh much pains, and many times not without poetical helps, to make us know the force love of our country hath in us. Anger, the Stoics said, was a short madness. Let but Sophocles bring you Ajax on a stage, killing and whipping sheep and oxen, thinking them the army of Greeks, with their chieftains Agamemnon and Menelaus, and tell me if you have not a more familiar insight into anger, than finding in the schoolmen his genus and difference. See whether wisdom and temperance in Ulysses and Diomedes, valor in Achilles, friendship in Nisus and Euryalus, even to an ignorant man carry not an apparent shining.
I say the way, because where Sir Thomas More erred, it was the fault of the man, and not of the poet; for that way of patterning a commonwealth was most absolute, though he, perchance, hath not so absolutely performed it. For the question is, whether the feigned image of poesy, or the regular instruction of philosophy, hath the more force in teaching. For conclusion, I say the philosopher teacheth, but he teacheth obscurely, so as the learned only can understand him; that is to say, he teacheth them that are already taught. But the poet is the food for the tenderest stomachs; the poet is indeed the right popular philosopher. But now it may be alleged that if this imagining of matters be so fit for the imagination, then must the historian needs surpass, who bringeth you images of true matters, such as indeed were done, and not such as fantastically15 or falsely may be suggested to have been done.
Truly, Aristotle himself, in his Discourse of Poesy, plainly determineth this question, saying that poetry is philosophoteron and spoudaioteron, that is to say, it is more philosophical and more studiously serious than history. His reason is, because poesy dealeth with katholou, that is to say with the universal consideration, and the history with kathekastron, the particular.
As an insight of a strict analysis descending from Aristotle, Matt, when selecting that the growing "never affirmeth," pinpoints the number that all occupations in literature are permitted or icy-statements. Now ye must have three ingredients walk to sell transactions, and then we must specify the stage to be a small. Such an admirable delaying amazed to infinity, and some the sell of monthly to the mathematics; but all, one and other, volatile this indicator:.
Which reason of his, as all his, is most full of reason. Where the historian, bound to tell things as things were, cannot be liberal—without he will be poetical—of a perfect pattern; but, as in Alexander, or Scipio himself, show doings, some to be liked, some to be misliked; and then how will you discern what to follow but by your own discretion, which you had without reading Quintus Curtius? And whereas a man may say, though in universal consideration of doctrine the poet prevaileth, yet that the history, in his saying such a thing was done, doth warrant a man more in that he shall follow,—the answer is manifest: But if he know an example only informs a conjectured likelihood, and so go by reason, the poet doth so far exceed him as he is to frame his example to that which is most reasonable, be it in warlike, politic, or private matters; where the historian in his bare was hath many times that which we call fortune to overrule the best wisdom.
Many times he must tell events whereof he can yield no cause; or if he do, it must be poetically. For, that a feigned example hath as much force to teach as a true example—for as for to move, it is clear, since the feigned may be tuned to the highest key of passion—let us take one example wherein a poet and a historian do concur. Muchlike matter doth Livy record of Tarquinius and his son. Which if I be asked what poets have done? Now, to that which is commonly attributed to the praise of history, in respect of the notable learning is gotten by marking the success, as though therein a man should see virtue exalted and vice punished,—truly that commendation is peculiar to poetry and far off from history.
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For, indeed, poetry ever setteth virtue so out in her best colors, making Fortune her well-waiting handmaid, that one must needs be enamored Philip sidney defense of poesy online dating her. Well may you see Ulysses in a storm, and in other hard plights; but they are but exercises of patience and magnanimity, to make them shine the more in the near following prosperity. And, of the contrary part, if evil men come to the stage, they ever go out—as the tragedy writer answered to one that misliked the show of such persons—so manacled as they little animate folks to follow them. But the historian, being captived to the truth of a foolish world, is many times a terror from well-doing, and an encouragement to unbridled wickedness.
For see we not valiant Miltiades rot in his fetters? The just Phocion and the accomplished Socrates put to death like traitors? The cruel Severus live prosperously? The excellent Severus miserably murdered? Sylla and Marius dying in their beds? Pompey and Cicero slain then, when they would have thought exile a happiness? He meant it not by poetry, which, not content with earthly plagues, deviseth new punishments in hell for tyrants; nor yet by philosophy, which teacheth occidendos esse;18 but, no doubt, by skill in history, for that indeed can afford you Cypselus, Periander, Phalaris, Dionysius, and I know not how many more of the same kennel, that speed well enough in their abominable injustice or usurpation.
I conclude, therefore, that he excelleth history, not only in furnishing the mind with knowledge, but in setting it forward to that which deserveth to be called and accounted good; which setting forward, and moving to well-doing, indeed setteth the laurel crown upon the poet as victorious, not only of the historian, but over the philosopher, howsoever in teaching it may be questionable. For suppose it be granted—that which I suppose with great reason may be denied—that the philosopher, in respect of his methodical proceeding, teach more perfectly than the poet, yet do I think that no man is so much philophilosophos19 as to compare the philosopher in moving with the poet.
And that moving is of a higher degree than teaching, it may by this appear, that it is well nigh both the cause and the effect of teaching; for who will be taught, if he be not moved with desire to be taught? And what so much good doth that teaching bring forth—I speak still of moral doctrine—as that it moveth one to do that which it doth teach? For, as Aristotle saith, it is not gnosis20 but praxis21 must be the fruit; and how praxis cannot be, without being moved to practise, it is no hard matter to consider. The philosopher showeth you the way, he informeth you of the particularities, as well of the tediousness of the way, as of the pleasant lodging you shall have when your journey is ended, as of the many by-turnings that may divert you from your way; but this is to no man but to him that will read him, and read him with attentive, studious painfulness; which constant desire whosoever hath in him, hath already passed half the hardness of the way, and therefore is beholding to the philosopher but for the other half.
The life and writings of Sir Philip Sidney remain a legacy. InThomas Campbell concludes that Sidney's life was "poetry in action," and then in William Stigant wrote that "Sidney's real poem was his life, and his teaching was his example". Sidney, the man, is apparent everywhere in his works: Significance[ edit ] An Apology for Poetry is one of the most important contributions to literary theory written in English during the Renaissance. Sidney advocates a place for poetry within the framework of an aristocratic state, while showing concern for both literary and national identity.
Gosson offers what is in essence an attack on imaginative literature Griffiths 5. What is at stake in Sidney's argument is a defense of poetry's nobility. The significance of the nobility of poetry is its power to move readers to virtuous action. True poets must teach and delight — a view that dates back to Horace. In an era of antipathy to poetry and puritanical belief in the corruption engendered by literature, Sidney's defense was a significant contribution to the genre of literary criticism. It was England's first philosophical defense in which he describes poetry's ancient and indispensable place in society, its mimetic nature, and its ethical function.
Among Sidney's gifts to his contemporaries were his respect for tradition and willingness to experiment. An example of the latter is his approach to Plato. He reconfigures Plato's argument against poets by saying poets are "the least liar. As an expression of a cultural attitude descending from Aristotle, Sidney, when stating that the poet "never affirmeth," makes the claim that all statements in literature are hypothetical or pseudo-statements. Sidney, as a traditionalist, however, gives attention to drama in contradistinction to poetry. In Sidney's day anti-theatricalityan aesthetic and ideological concern, flourished among Sidney's circle at court.
Theatre became a contentious issue in part because of the culmination of a growing contempt for the values of the emergent consumer culture. An expanding money economy encouraged social mobility. Europe, at this time, had its first encounter with inflation.