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Philip Sidney
English soldier, poet and courtier

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Who shoots at the mid-day sun, though he be sure he shall never hit the mark; yet as sure he is he shall shoot higher than who aims but at a bush.
-- The Arcadia (New Arcadia) (1590), 2

My true love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other giv'n;
I hold his dear, and mine he cannot miss,
There never was a better bargain driv n.
-- The Arcadia (Old Arcadia) (1581) 3

But words came halting forth, wanting Invention's stay,
Invention, Nature's child, fled step-dame Study's blows,
And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite:
"Fool," said my Muse to me, "look in thy heart and write."
-- Astrophel and Stella (1591), Sonnet 1, concluding couplet

Come sleep, O sleep, the certain knot of peace,
The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,
The indifferent judge between the high and low.
-- Astrophel and Stella (1591), Sonnet 39

That sweet enemy, France.
-- Astrophel and Stella (1591), Sonnet 41

I am no pick-purse of another's wit.
-- Astrophel and Stella (1591), Sonnet 74

Stella, think not that I by verse seek fame,
Who seek, who hope, who love, who live but thee;
Thine eyes my pride, thy lips mine history:
If thou praise not, all other praise is shame.
-- Astrophel and Stella (1591), Sonnet 90

I have just cause to make a pitiful defense of poor poetry which from almost the highest estimation of learning is fallen to be the laughingstock of children.
-- The Defence of Poesy (1595)

And truly, even Plato, whosoever well considereth, shall find that in the body of his work, though the insider and strength were philosophy, the skin as it were and beauty depended most on poetry.
-- The Defence of Poesy (1595)

Poetry, therefore, is an art of imitation... that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth to speak metaphorically. A speaking picture with this end: to teach and delight.
-- The Defence of Poesy (1595)

With a tale forthsooth he [the poet] cometh into you, with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney corner.
-- The Defence of Poesy (1595)

There have been many most excellent poets that never versified, and now swarm many versifiers that need never answer to the name of poets.
-- The Defence of Poesy (1595)

Certainly I must confess mine own barbarousness. I never heard the old song of Percy and Douglas, that I found not my heart moved more than with a trumpet.
-- The Defence of Poesy (1595)

Thy necessity is greater than mine.
-- On giving his water-bottle to a dying soldier on the battlefield of Zutphen, 1586 (commonly quoted as: "Thy need is greater than mine"). This quote was originally reported in: Fulke Greville, Life of Sir Philip Sidney (1652).

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The selection of the above quotes and the writing of the accompanying notes was performed by the author David Paul Wagner.

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