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A History of English Prose Fiction by Tuckerman

Rosalynde began to comfort her


Rosalynde began to comfort her, and after shee had wept a fewe kind teares in the bosome of her Alinda, she gave her heartie thankes, and then they sat them downe to consult how they should travel. Alinda grieved at nothing but they might have no man in their company; saying it would be their greatest prejudice in that two women went wandering without either guide or attendant. "Tush (quoth Rosalynde), art thou a woman and hast not a sodeine shift to prevent a misfortune? I, thou seest, am of a tall stature, and would very wel become the person and apparel of a Page: thou shalt bee my mistresse, and I wil play the man so properly, that (trust me) in what company so ever I come I will not be discovered: I wil buy me a suite, and have my Rapier very handsomely at my side, and if any knave offer wrong, your Page wil shew him the poynt of his weapon."

Shakespeare has followed this scene very closely in "As You Like It."

_Ros._ Alas, what danger will it be to us, Maids as we are, to travel forth so far! Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold.

_Cel._ I'll put myself in poor and mean attire, And with a kind of umber smirch my face; The like do you; so shall we pass along And never stir assailants

_Ros._ Were it not better,

Because that I am more than common tall, That I did suit me all points like a man? A gallant curtle-axe upon my thigh. A boar spear in my hand; and in my heart, Lie there what hidden woman's fear there will,-- We'll have a swashing and a martial outside. As many other mannish cowards have That do outface it with their semblances.[66]

The most brilliant and characteristic work of fiction belonging to the Elizabethan era composed by a man who was himself regarded by his contemporaries as the embodiment of all the qualities they most loved and admired. During the three hundred years which have elapsed since the death of Sir Philip Sidney, the same enthusiastic praise has accompanied the mention of his name. Sir William Temple, writing in a critical time, and when the effect of Sidney's personal character need no longer have biassed a literary judgment, pronounced Sir Philip to be "the greatest poet and the noblest genius of any that have left writings behind them."[67] Such were the words of a man of genius, who was acquainted with the works of Chaucer, Shakespeare, and Spenser. While all admirers of Sidney must regret a praise of his literary abilities so exaggerated and mistaken, the eulogies which have been lavished upon his personal character have never been thought to surpass the worth of their object. Sir Philip Sidney, in the short life allotted to him, had added to his personal beauty and amiable disposition all that was most fitted to win the admiration of his time. His rare accomplishments, his chivalrous manners and unusual powers of conversation made him so great a favorite at court, that it was the pride of Elizabeth to call him "her Philip." A considerable knowledge of military affairs, and a fearless gallantry in battle, combined, with Sidney's genial disposition, to win for him the universal affection of the army. The violence of the Middle Ages lingers in Sir Philip's angry words to his father's secretary: "Mr. Molyneux, if ever I know you to do so much as read any letter I write to my father, without his commandment or my consent, I will


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