Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/48

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28
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

chains—all this the Elizabethans were beyond a doubt. But this is only one side of the picture. The English of that age were a God-fearing people, chivalrous to women, kind to the stranger, hospitable, devoted to the Queen, and willing to die for their country. This extract from a letter written by Sir Henry Sidney to his son is typical of the high-born English gentleman of the time.

"Let your first action be the lifting up of your mind to Almighty God in hearty prayer, with continual meditation and thinking of him to whom you pray. … Be humble and obedient to your master [Philip was at school at Shrewsbury]; for unless you frame yourself to obey others, yea, and feel in yourself what obedience is, you shall never be able to teach others how to obey you. Be courteous of gesture and affable to all men; with diversity of reverence according to the dignity of the person. … Be modest in each assembly, and rather be rebuked of light fellows for maidenlike shamefastness; than of your sad [serious] friends for pert boldness. Think upon every word you shall speak before you utter it; and remember how nature hath rampered [walled] up, as it were, the tongue, with teeth, lips, yea, and hair without the lips; and all betoking reins or bridles for the loose use of that member.