Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
The Esquire’s Death
By Sir Philip Sidney (1554–1586)
From The Countess of Pembroke’s Arcadia, Book III

CODRUS, Ctesiphon, and Milo lost their lives upon Philanax’s sword. But nobody’s case was more pitied than of a young squire of Amphialus, called Ismenus, who never abandoning his master, and making his tender age aspire to acts of the strongest manhood, in this time that his side was put to the worst, and that Amphialus’ valour was the only stay of them from delivering themselves over to a most shameful flight, he saw his master’s horse killed under him; whereupon, asking advice of no other thought but of faithfulness and courage, he presently lighted from his own horse, and, with the help of some choice and faithful servants, gat his master up. But in the multitude that came of either side, some to succour, some to save Amphialus, he came under the hand of Philanax, and the youth, perceiving he was the man that did most hurt to his party, desirous even to change his life for glory, strake at him as he rode by him, and gave him a hurt upon the leg that made Philanax turn towards him; but seeing him so young, and of a most lovely presence, he rather took pity of him, meaning to take him prisoner, and then to give him to his brother Agenor to be his companion, because they were not much unlike, neither in years nor countenance. But as he looked down upon him with that thought, he espied where his brother lay dead, and his friend Leontius by him, even almost under the squire’s feet. Then, sorrowing not only his own sorrow, but the past-comfort sorrow which he foreknew his mother would take, who, with many tears and misgiving sighs, had suffered him to go with his elder brother Philanax, blotted out all figures of pity out of his mind, and putting forth his horse while Ismenus doubled two or three more valiant than well-set blows, saying to himself, “Let other mothers bewail an untimely death as well as mine,” he thrust him through, and the boy, fierce though beautiful, and beautiful though dying, not able to keep his falling feet, fell down to the earth, which he bit for anger, repining at his fortune, and as long as he could resisting death, which might seem unwilling too, so long he was in taking away his young struggling soul.
  Philanax himself could have wished the blow ungiven when he saw him fall like a fair apple, which some uncourteous body, breaking his bough, should throw down before it were ripe.  2

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