T Wilton, the seat of his brother-in-law, the Earl of Pembroke, in rural seclusion, Sir Philip Sidney conceived the plan of writing his "Arcadia." It is contrary to his wish that we now possess his work; he did not intend it for the world at large, having only designed it to express his tender affection for his sister, Mary, Countess of Pembroke. How modestly Sir Philip Sidney thought of his work is plainly shown in the dedicatory epistle to his sister: " Now it is done onelie for you, onely to you : if you keepe it to your selfe, or to such friends, who will weigh errors in the ballaunce of good will, I hope, for the father's sake it will be pardoned, perchance made much of, though in it selfe it haue deformities. For indeede, for seuerer eyes it is not, being but a trifle, and that triflinglie handled." The author's contemporaries and posterity have judged the "Arcadia" differently, for soon after its publication it was widely read-a fact which is sufficiently prove
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