Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Horsing Around

After reacquainting myself with some of my childhood horse books, I turned to A Time of Gifts, by Patrick Leigh Fermor and found him in Vienna, preoccupied with horses too. He includes in his account of his time there this rather wonderful report of a conversation with Ion Pietro Pugliano, who taught Sir Philip Sidney 'horsemanship' in Vienna in 1574. It comes, apparently, from Sidney's Defense of Poesie, and seems to suggest that Sidney could have recognised himself in Didi, just as I did:

"He saide ... what a peerless beast the horse was, the only serviceable Courtier without flattery, the beast of most bewtie, faithfulnesse, courage, and such more, that if I had not beene a peece of a Logician before I came to him, I think he would have perswaded mee to have wished my selfe a horse."


  1. Well, Gulliver ended up wishing he were a horse, didn't he? The literary critic Hugh Kenner cites in that connection the legend that Odysseus ended up transformed into a horse.