Nonfiction > Henry Craik, ed. > English Prose > Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
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Henry Craik, ed.  English Prose.  1916.
Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
 
William of Orange
By Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke (1554–1628)
 
From the Life of Sir Philip Sidney

HERE I am still enforced to bring pregnant evidence from the dead, amongst whom I have found far more liberal contribution to the honour of true worth, than amongst those which now live; and in the markets of selfnesse, 1 traffic new interest by the discredit of old friends: that ancient wisdom of righting enemies, being utterly worn out of date in our modern discipline.
  1
  My first instance must come from that worthy Prince of Orange, William of Nassau, with whom this young gentleman having long kept intelligence by word and letters, and in affairs of the highest nature that then passed current upon the stages of England, France, Germany, Italy, the Low Countries, or Spain, it seems, I say, that this young gentleman had, by this mutual freedom so imprinted the extraordinary merit of his young years into the large wisdom and experience of that excellent prince, as I, passing out of Germany into England, and having the unexpected honour to find this prince in the town of Delph, cannot think it unwelcome to describe the clothes of this prince; his positure of body and mind, familiarity and reservedness, to the ingenuous reader, that he may see what divers characters princes please and govern cities, towns, and peoples.  2
  His uppermost garment was a gown, yet such as—I dare confidently affirm—a mean-born student in our Inns of Court would not have been well-pleased to walk the streets in. Unbuttoned his doublet was, and of like precious matter and form to the other. His waist-coat—which showed it self under it—not unlike the best sort of those woollen knit ones, which our ordinary watermen row us in. His company about him the burgesses of that beer-brewing town: and he so fellow-like encompassed with them, as—had I not known his face—no exterior sign of degree or reservedness could have discovered the inequality of his worth or estate from that multitude. Notwithstanding I no sooner came to his presence, but it pleased him to take knowledge of me. And even upon that—as if it had been a signal to make a change—his respect of a stranger instantly begot respect to himself in all about him: an outward passage of inward greatness, which in a popular estate I thought worth the observing. Because there, no pedigree but worth could possibly make a man prince, and no prince, in a moment, at his own pleasure.  3
 
Note 1. selfnesse.  This Greville usually writes for “selfishness.” [back]
 
 
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