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to call him father. In order still more strongly to confirm his friendship, he begged Sir Philip Sidney to consider him as his brother, and as his companion in arms, promising upon his own part the most faithful friendship.
With regard to the Earl of Leicester it is only necessary to observe that in collecting the body of troops to accompany him to the Netherlands, the expense chiefly fell on his own purse. But Leicester was rich and ambitious; he was not averse to paying for a position so dignified and important as that of the queen's representative; besides, he had no mean opinion of his own soldiership, and had in the Netherlands an excellent opportunity for testing that soldiership against the bravest and wisest general in christendom.
But Sir Philip Sidney presents a far different character for contemplation. There is, it has been said, hardly a character in history upon which the imagination can dwell with more unalloyed delight. even in romantic fiction was there ever created a more attractive incarnation of martial valour, poetic genius, and purity of heart. "I cannot," says Camden, "pass him over in silence, that glorious star, that lively pattern of virtue, and the lovely joy of all the learned sort. It was God's will that he should be born into the world, even to show unto our age a sample of ancient virtue." It does not fall within our province to trace the incidents of the brief but brilliant life of this illustrious man up to his arrival in the Netherlands. All who knew him, and among these were Charles IX. of France, Henry of Navarre, Don John of Austria, and William the Silent, entertained for him the highest personal regard. But the queen had been always apt to look upon him with suspicion, although it was truly said, for he was the idol of the courtiers, that the English court was "maimed without his company." He had entered on his thirty-second year when he received his appointment to join the English force in the Netherlands, and to accept the responsible office of Governor of Flushing.
When Leicester departed for the Netherlands he was accompanied by a fleet of fifty ships, and on his arrival a great procession of civic functionaries was ready to receive him. His progress was a continual ovation. At Middleburg there was an entertainment, every dish of which has been duly chronicled. "Pigs served on their feet, pheasants in their feathers, and baked swans with their necks thrust through gigantic pie crust." When he came to the Hague a fleet of barges was sent to escort him and
pageants were got up in his honour-pageants which, to our notions, look exceedingly like flat profanity. For example, Peter, James, and John
met him upon the shore, where the Saviour appeared walking upon the waves, and ordered his disciples to cast their nets, and present the fish to
his excellency! Mars and Bellona were ready to bombast Latin odes in his praise; and what with tiltings, jousts, banquets, pageants, harangues, illuminations, fireworks, and waterworks, no king or emperor had ever been received with greater triumph.
It is a striking but pleasant change to turn away from these empty
spectacles to the unostentatious appearance of Sir Philip Sidney at Flushing. "Driven to land," he says, "at Rammekins, because the wind begun to rise in such sort as our mariners durst not enter the town, I came from thence on foot with as dirty a walk as ever poor governor entered his charge withal."
Now that the English supplies had arrived in the Netherlands and the greetings and pageantry over, some useful work was naturally looked for by the Dutchmen. Leicester had promised much; he had affected to despise the Prince of Parma, had given out on no credible authority that
Alexander was dismayed at his approach, and that not only would Antwerp be recovered, but the Low Countries soon swept of every Spanish soldier as effectually as though every dyke had been pierced and the North Sea rolled over the land. But, however encouraging these words might be, the Prince of Parma, so far from retiring before Leicester, boldly attacked and successfully captured several important towns. The earl still vaunted his own and his troops' prowess, and beat the enemy over and over again in theory; but in fact the enemy budged not an inch; their "war-worn coats" were still stout enough to withstand a blow, and
though they often looked "so many ghosts," there was body enough to give a good blow when the time came.
Gradually Leicester found his popularity, both at home and in the Netherlands, decreasing. The Dutchmen stood in need of skilful soldiership; the battle had to be won before they rejoiced in victory; and although the earl was an excellent trencherman at a banquet, he seemed to have but little stomach for a feast of lances. So the Dutchmen complained and Leicester expostulated and conducted himself very much like an absolute master. This assumption, especially as it was all done in the queen's name, but without the queen's sanction, roused her Majesty's indignation, and she who had once sworn to unfrock a proud prelate was quite as ready to strike the spurs from the heels of an arrogant knight. So the position of Leicester was not altogether enviable.
Leicester at length took the field, with the intention of capturing Zutphen, or Suthfen, an important town on the right bank of the Yssel, capital of an ancient Landgrave.
"The ancient river, broad, deep, and languid, glides through a plain of almost boundless extent till it loses itself in the flat and misty horizon on the other side of the stream. In the district called Veluwe, or bad meadow, were three sconces, one of them of remarkable strength. An island between the city and the shore was likewise well fortified. On the landward side the town was protected by a wall and moat sufficiently strong in those infant days of artillery. Near the hospital gate on the east was an external fortress guarding the road to Warnsfeld. This was a small village, with a solitary slender church spire shooting up above a cluster of neat one-storied houses. It was about an English mile from Zutphen, in the midst of a low, somewhat fenny plain, which, in winter time, became so completely a lake, that peasants were not unfrequently drowned in attempting to pass from the city to the village. In summer the vague expanse of country was fertile and cheerful of aspect. Long rows of poplars marked the straight highways, clumps of pollard-willows scattered around the little meres, snug farmhouses with kitchen gardens and brilliant flower patches dotting the level plain, verdant pastures sweeping off into seemingly infinite distance, where innumerable cattle seemed to swarm like insects, windmills swinging their arms in all directions, like protection giants, to save the country from inundation, the lagging sail of market-boats shining through rows of orchard trees-all gave to the environs of Zutphen a tranquil and domestic charm."
The successes of Parma had driven the English both from the Meuse and the Rhine, and it was very important that they should obtain possession of the Yssel, that branch of the Rhine which flows between Gelderland and Overyssel into the Zuyder Zee. Daventer and Kampen were the two principal places on the river, and these were already in the hands of the States. Could the English obtain possession of Zutphen their command of the Yssel would be complete.
At the commencement of the operations a fortified camp was established by Sir John Norris, on an eminence christened by the unpropitious name of Gibbet Hill. In company with Sir John Norris, and in joint command, were Count Louis William of Nassau, and Sir Philip Sidney. Leicester
himself who had ordered the construction of a bridge of boats, crossed over to the opposite side of the river, so that he might personally superintend the attack on the Veluwe forts.
When the Duke of Parma was informed of the siege of Zutphen, he broke up his camp, then at Rheinberg, and came to Wesel. There he built a bridge over the Rhine and fortified it with two blockhouses, and thus effectually impeded all traffic. Having accomplished this work he hastened to Groll and Burite, seizing both and throwing in small garrisons. He then approached Zutphen, a city which he was determined to relieve. He had with him but five thousand men, exclusive of fifteen hundred under Verdugo; but he was determined to give battle to the