(Algernon), called by Thomson, in his Summer, “The British Cassius,” because of his republican principles. Both disliked kings, not from their misrule, but from a dislike to monarehy. Cassius was one of the conspirators against the life of Caesar, and Sidney was one of the judges that condemned Charles I. to the block (1617-1683).
(Sir Philip). The academy figure of Prince Arthur, in Spenser's Faërie Queene, and the poet's type of magnanimity.
Sir Philip Sidney, called by Sir Walter Raleigh “the English Petrarch,” was the author of Arcadia. Queen Elizabeth called him “the jewel of her dominions;” and Thomson, in his Summer, “the plume of war.” The poet refers to the battle of Zutphen, where Sir Philip received his death-wound. Being thirsty, a soldier brought him some water; but as he was about to drink he observed a wounded man eye the bottle with longing looks. Sir Philip gave the water to the wounded man, saying, “Poor fellow, thy necessity is greater than mine.” Spenser laments him in the poem called Astrophel (q.v.).
Sidney's sister, Pembroke's mother. Mary Herbert (nee Sidney), Countess of Pembroke, poetess, etc. (Died 1621.) The line is by William Browne (1645).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894