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that moment a wounded English soldier looked up wistfully in his face. Sidney instantly handed him the flask, exclaiming, "Thy necessity is even greater than mine." He then pledged his dying comrade in a draught, and was soon afterwards met by the earl.
"Oh! Philip," cried Leicester in despair, "I am truly grieved to see thee in this plight."
Sidney comforted him, assuring him that death was sweet in the cause of queen and country.
Sir William Russell, too, all blood-stained from the fight, threw his arms around his friend, wept like a child, and kissing his hand, exclaimed,
"Oh! noble Sir Philip, never did man attain hurt so honourably, or serve so valiantly as you."
The fight was over. Sir John Norris bade Lord Leicester, "be merry, for," said he, "you have had the honourablest day. A handful of men has driven the enemy three times to retreat."
But it was now time for the English to retire in their turn. Their reserve never arrived. The whole force against the thirty-five hundred Spaniards had never exceeded two hundred and fifty horse and three hundred foot; and of this number the chief work had been done by the fifty or sixty volunteers and their followers. The heroism which had been displayed was fruitless, except as a proof that the Spaniards were not invincible. Thirteen troopers and twenty-two foot soldiers upon the English side were killed. The Spaniards lost about two hundred men. But they succeeded in carrying their convoy into Zutphen and completely victualling the town. Very little save honour was gained by the English. "I think I may call it," said Leicester, "the most notable encounter that hath been in our age, and it will remain to our posterity famous."
It has done so not for any gain to the English cause, but on account of the heroic daring of the gentlemen volunteers, and chiefly on account of the melancholy close of Sir Philip Sidney's bright career. He died from the effect of his wounds a few days after receiving the injury.
During the period which intervened between the battle and the death of Sidney, the siege operations before Zutphen were continued. city, strongly garrisoned and well supplied with provisions, as it had been by Parma's care, remained impregnable; but the sconces beyond the river and upon the island fell into Leicester's hands. The great fortress which commanded Veluwe, and which was strong enough to have resisted Count Hohenlo on a former occasion for nearly a whole year, was the scene of much hard fighting. It was gained at last by the signal valour of Edward Stanley, lieutenant to Sir William. That officer at the com
mencement of an assault upon a not very practicable breach, sprung at the long pike of a Spanish soldier, who was endeavouring to thrust him from the wall, and seized it with both hands. The Spaniard struggled to maintain his hold of the weapon, Stanley to wrest it from his grasp. A dozen other soldiers broke their pikes upon his cuirass, or shot at him with their muskets. Conspicuous by his dress being all in yellow but his corslet, he was in full sight of Leicester and five thousand men. The earth was so shifty and sandy that the soldiers who were to follow him
were not able to climb the wall. Still Stanley grasped his adversary's pike, but suddenly changing his plan, he allowed the Spaniard to lift him from the ground. Then assisting himself with his feet against the wall, he, much to the astonishment of the spectators, scrambled quite over the parapet and dashed, sword in hand, among the defenders of the fort. Had he been endowed with a hundred lives it seemed impossible for him to escape death. But his followers, stimulated by his example, made ladders for themselves of each other's shoulders, clambered at last with great exertion over the broken wall, overpowered the garrison, and made themselves masters of the sconce. Leicester, transported with enthusiasm for this noble deed of daring, knighted Edward Stanley upon the spot, besides presenting him next day with forty pounds in gold and an annuity of one hundred marks sterling for life."
Had every English knight and enterprising adventurer, enlisted in the cause of the Netherlands, behaved as bravely as Edward Stanley, even Parma would not long have remained in the Low Countries. Unfortunately there was a large amount of small dealing-double dealingchaffering-places of importance were given over to the Spaniards without a struggle, and the only probable result of the English in the Netherlands seemed to be a mortal quarrel between England and Spain.
HE English troops in the Netherlands performed some dashing exploits, but they rendered very little permanent service to the cause of the United Provinces. The leaders were disaffected among themselves,-jealous of each other, all more or less jealous of Leicester,-who was regarded also with suspicion by some of the most distinguished men in Holland. The amity which had been professed at the beginning of the alliance was not so complete as it promised to be. Prince Maurice was heartily weary of his prodigal father, Leicester, and the enmity and division were working together admirably in favour of Spain.
In his private chamber, in his palace, was King Philip; his hair silvering, his face ageing, himself as bent as ever he had been on the advancement of his own authority, and the establishment everywhere within his dominions of the religion of Rome. No man more assiduous than he;
no more faithful son of the Church; no man more willing to light up the fires of martyrdom, and send all heretics to the stake. But, although Philip was assiduous, he was not the leading spirit of his age and country. The devices and desires of his heart were freely interpreted, and freely worked out for him. As to himself he indulged in the smallest criticisms on the documents submitted to his approval; annotating in a wretched hand, and finding fault with the orthography of the scribe. He was fond of showing how much he knew about England, and to exhibit his intimate knowledge of its palatial residences, he took occasion on one of the papers laid before him to allude to "Huytal" as one of the royal houses; why it was so called he said he was unable to state, and so elaborate a compound was likely to puzzle so astute a scholar!
Parma,-Alexander Farnese,—was the true master spirit. No man so skilled in diplomacy, no man so vigorous in action, no man so personally courageous. He was a great man towering above his fellows, his character one of the most gigantic anomalies ever seen: imperious in command, slavish in obedience; scrupulously faithful to his friends, unscrupulously false to his foes; a soul of chivalrous honour, a spirit as deceitful as that of the arch-deceiver; a double-natured man-angel and devil-but withal eminently self-denying; not working for his own ends or purposes, devoted to the cause of Spain and Rome, spending everything he possessed in their service.
Alexander Farnese was an accomplished courtier, and many a man who had been led to regard him as a villain, was converted into a belief of his uprightness by his smooth tongue and affectation of candour. When this subtle diplomatist saw how divided were the counsels of the Hollanders and the English, he bethought himself of a notable scheme for carrying out his master's designs without more fighting. Philip longed to seize upon England. He had once ruled the land; he had helped to kindle the fires of Smithfield,-he had almost made the country a province of Spain. It was his earnest desire to accomplish what he had begun. To unthrone Elizabeth; to subject Englishmen to the Spanish yoke; to re-unite the English Church to Rome; but to do this required time, toil, talent. How could time, the principal item, be gained? By no better means, so thought Alexander Farnese, than by leading the English Queen to suppose that Spain sought a reconciliation; that Spain was heartily tired of the struggle in the Netherlands; that the hour had come for the men of the pen to supersede the men of the sword. And the plan was successful.