Henry Craik, ed. English Prose. 1916. Vol. I. Fourteenth to Sixteenth Century
Oration of Sir Philip Sidney
By John Stow (1525?1605)
From Stows Chronicle
THE FIFTEENTH of July Sir Philip Sidney, Lord Governor of Flushing, the Lord Willoughby, with those powers they had received from the garrison of Axel, considering the coming in of the water into the land of Waste, which might sufficiently defend that country, removed the camp: the Lord Willoughby to Bergen-op-zoom, where he was governor, Sir Philip Sidney passed the sea with a three thousand men, whose enterprise shall be shewed hereafter. This Sir Philip Sidney, at or before the taking of Axel, within an English mile of the town, called so many of his soldiers together as could hear him, and there made a long oration, wherein he declared what cause they had in hand, as Gods cause; under and for whom they fought, for her Majesty, whom they knew so well to be so good unto them; that he needed not to shew against whom they fought, men of false religion, enemies to God and His Church: against Antichrist, and against a people whose unkindness both in nature and in life did so excel, that God would not leave them unpunished. Further, he persuaded them that they were Englishmen, whose valour the world feared and commended, and that now they should not either fear death or peril whatsoever, both for that their service they owed to their Prince and, further, for the honour of their country and credit to themselves. Again, the people whom they fought for were their neighbours, always friends and well-willers to Englishmen. And further, that no man should do any service worth the noting, but he himself would speak to the uttermost to prefer him to his wished purpose. Which oration of his did so link the minds of the people, that they desired rather to die in that service than to live in the contrary.