Roger Kuin (ed.), The Correspondence of Sir Philip Sidney, Vol. 1

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pg 234Fabian, Burggrave and Baron Dohna to Sidney, s.l., 31 May 1574

Text: Yale MS Osborn fa. 14, fol. 25. Single sheet, 205 × 303 mm, bottom outer corner cut diagonally approx. 30 × 30 mm, perhaps for seal patch, no slits, traces of possible pinholes for thread, no trace of seal (prob. on thread). Countermark 'I H S' surmounted by small circle, at bottom of sheet, between first and second chainlines from outer edge. (Cf. Briquet 4854 and n. in II. 289.)

  • [25v]
  • Inclijto et Generoso Domino,
  • Domino Philippo Sidnejo,
  • Anglo, ex Illustrj Comitûm
  • Warwickensiûm familia:
  • Domino sûo sijncera fide
  • & obserûantia colendissimo.


B 3       31 May 1574

Fabian, Burggrave and Baron Dohna to Sidney, s.l., 31 May 1574

  • 1Illustris et Generose
  • 2Domine Comes,
  • 3Ago tibi magnas gratias, qûod pro singûlari tûa hûmanitate
  • 4et beneuolentia erga me, litteras, qûas Venetijs accepisti,
  • 5mihi communicare non dûbitastj: teque ûehementer etiam
  • 6atque etiam rogo, ût, si tûa fortassis exspectatione diûtiûs, eas
  • 7apûd me detinûj, beneûolè mihi ignoscas: dedi enim
  • 8eas legendas, Domino ä Redern ûicino tûo, et Baro=
  • 9nj Slaûataeo; quà in re, non \me/ pûto te offendisse: praeser=
  • 10tim cûm nihil in illis contineri ûideam, qûod non his
  • 11qûoque tûto committi qûeat.      Nûnc nihil aliûd
  • 12abs te peto, nisi, ût qûemadmodûm hactenûs cepisti,
  • 13ita inposterûm qûoque amore atque beneûolentia me complectj
  • 14pergas. Ego certè, ijs in rebûs, qûae a me praestarj
  • 15poterûnt, non committam, fidem et qûantûlacûnque officiola
  • 16mea abs te desiderarj: Atque si fortè, locorûm distantia
  • 17breûi nos seiûngit, te tamen absentem, qûandiû ûita
  • 18Dominûsqûe sinet, semper ûenerabor: hocque me factûrûm
  • 19esse sanctè tibi affirmo.      Deûs Optimus Sanctus, te ad
  • 20propagationem diûinj sûj nominis, et patriae tuae emo=
  • 21lûmentûm, quam diutissimè salûûm atque incolûmem conserûet.
  • pg 23522Domino Huberto Langueto, si qûando occasio dederit,
  • 23me ûelim, tûis litteris diligentèr commendarj: qûod
  • 24officiûm etsi a te reqûirere non deberem, incredibilis tamen
  • 25hûmanitas tûa facit, ût omnino mihi persûadeam
  • 26te hac in re libentèr mihi gratificatûrûm: pûto etiam
  • 27ipsi antèa, nomen meûm notûm esse, commendatione cûiusdam
  • 28popûlaris mej, Tidemannj Klefeldij, Dantiscanj, qûi in aûla
  • 30B
  • 31[*25*v]
  • 32Imperatoris nûnc commoratur.    Iterûm felicissimè Vale.
  • 33Datae in ipso die meo natalj.    xxxi Maij: 1574.
  • 35      Qûi te ex animo
  • 36        colit & diligit

  • 38Fabianûs Bûrggraûiûs et Baro ä
  • 39Dhona.
  • 40Borûssûs.


  • Most illustrious and noble Lord Count,
  • 1      I thank you most cordially that in your singular
  • 2kindness and goodwill towards me you did not
  • 3hesitate to forward to me the letter you received in
  • 4Venice; and I urgently ask you kindly to forgive me
  • 5if I have perhaps kept it by me longer than you expected:
  • 6for I have given it to read to your neighbour Master von
  • 7Rödern1 and to Baron Slavata.2 In this I do not think I
  • 8have offended you, especially since I saw nothing in the
  • 9contents that might not safely be passed on to them.
  • 10      Now I ask nothing else of you but to continue in
  • 11future to cherish me with the same love and goodwill
  • pg 23612with which you have hitherto done so. I certainly will
  • 13not fail, in everything I can do, to put my loyalty and
  • 14whatever little services I can render you at your disposal.
  • 15And if perchance geographical distance should briefly
  • 16separate us, I will always honour you in your absence,
  • 17as long as life allows and God permits: this I solemnly
  • 18swear. May the Great and Holy God preserve you as
  • 19long as possible, safe and sound to the propagation of
  • 20His Holy Name and to the benefit of your country.
  • 21      I should like you, if you have the chance, to present
  • 22my best respects in your letters to Master Hubert Languet;
  • 23I should not ask this favour of you, but your extraordinary
  • 24kindness persuades me that you will herein gladly oblige
  • 25me. Moreover, I believe that my name must have already
  • 26earlier been known to him through the recommendation
  • 27of a countryman of mine, Tidemann Kleinfeld of Danzig3,
  • 28who is currently staying at the Emperor's Court. Once
  • 29again, fare very well. Given on this my birthday, 31 May 15744,

  • 31By him who wholeheartedly
  • 32      honours you with all affection,
  • 34      Fabian, Burggrave and Baron von
  • 35      Dohna,
  • 36      Prussian.

Notes Settings


Editor’s Note
1 Melchior, Baron von Rödern or Redern (1555–1600) was a student at Padua with Sidney, Dohna and Slavata in 1574. In 1575 and 1576 he served against the Turks in Hungary. After taking part in the siege of Danzig (1577) he went to the Netherlands, where he fought in 1578 and 1579. After a term of service under King Stephen of Poland against the Russians, he joined the service of the Emperor, where he became a brilliant general and a court marshal; he was made field marshal shortly before his death. He was famed for his civilized and steadfast character.
Editor’s Note
2 For Michael, Baron Slavata of Chlum and Košumberk, Bohemian nobleman, see Biographical Sketches, above. He was a friend of Sidney's and Dohna's in Padua, and travelled to England in 1576. See his letter to Sidney of 75 10 08. He borrowed money from Sidney, did not pay it back, and was rude to Languet when the latter reminded him: cf Languet to Sidney 77 09 23.
Editor’s Note
3 Tidemann Kleinfelt or Klefeld (fl. c.1570–80), ambassador of the city of Danzig. He was on a mission to the Danish Court 1570–3, to recover some Danzig ships impounded by the Danes. The Danzigers were ardent Protestants, and Languet would certainly have met Klefeld at Court.
Editor’s Note
4 Unusually, we know what happened to several if not all the protagonists later this same day. The acta of the German student 'Nation' in Padua for 1574, written by their chronicler Eucharius Seefrid of Ottingen, relate the following. A long-standing feud between French and Burgundian students in Padua had erupted into a clash in which a German was seriously injured. Street battles ensued almost nightly. On the night of 31 May 1574, Friedrich Kreckwitz and Jonas Schindel, two Germans about to leave Padua, gave a banquet at which Michael Slavata, his brother Albert, Melchior Rödern, and others [possibly including Fabian Dohna and Philip Sidney] were present. The proctors and the secretary of the German nation had also been invited. After supper they went home in a large group. When they came to the Slavatas' lodgings they found, at the door, a large group of 'Vicentini' and Frenchmen with swords and spears. These, possibly taking the banqueters for Burgundians, hurled insults. At once a pitched battle developed, in which Rödern especially distinguished himself, with his friends Gherard Rantzow and Georg Langen. This seems to have taken place in or near the Via Pozzo Dipinto. Rödern was wounded in the right arm, the Secretary got a broken sword-blade in his right side. Finally the French retreated. The banqueters pursued them home, threw stones at their windows, and hurled taunts to provoke them, but they did not reappear. The weather had by now broken, and a storm drove the revellers and fighters home (cf. MS Bibl. Apost. Vatic. Italia II, Veneto 2, I (15), pp. 181–2). The quarrel, however, continued for weeks: it was eventually settled by arbitrators, including Zündelin's friend Benedict von Ahlefeldt: cf Zündelin's 74 11 05, below.
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