See William A. Ringler, Jr., ed., The Poems of Sir Philip Sidney ( Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1962), p. 458. Citations of Astrophel and Stella will be made by reference to item
and line numbers in this edition.
The Arcadian Rhetorike, ed.
Ethel Seaton (Luttrell Society, Oxford: Blackwell, 1950), facsimile of original title page inserted facing p. 1.
Ludovico Ariosto's "Orlando Furioso," trans.
Robert McNulty ( Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1972), p. 183 [comm. on book 16].
It should be remembered that these words "song" and "sonnet" were actually synonymous. Their regular pairing resulted from some persistent urge in English to link
two alliterative synonyms, apparently for reinforcement--for example, "might and
main," "time and tide," "toss and turn." It was George Gascoigne who in 1575 first
attempted to limit the meaning of "sonnet" in English to a poem of fourteen lines:
"Some thinke that all Poemes (being short) may be called Sonets, as in deede it is a
diminutive worde derived of Sonare, but yet I can beste allowe to call those Sonnets
whiche are of fouretene lynes, every line conteyning tenne syllables" ( Certayne Notes
of Instruction Concerning the Making of Verse or Ryme in English, in Elizabethan
Critical Essays, ed.
G. Gregory Smith, 2 vols. [ London: Oxford University Press, 1904], 1:55).
Germaine Warkentin, "The Form of Dante's 'Libello' and Its Challenge to Petrarch,''" Quaderni d'italianistica 2 ( 1981): 162. For helpful comments about the narrative assumptions of Dante and Petrarch, see Sara Sturm-Maddox, "Transformations
of Courtly Love Poetry: Vita Nuova and Canzoniere," in The Expansion and Transformations of Courtly Literature, ed.
Nathaniel B. Smith and
Joseph T. Snow ( Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1980), pp. 128-40.
Sidney could have found a noteworthy precedent for giving the lover a name in George Turbervile Epitaphes, Epigrams, Songs and Sonets ( London, 1567). In this twicereprinted collection of miscellaneous short poems, modeled on Petrarch's rime sparse, Turbervile provides an overarching framework in a passionate but unsuccessful tale of
love related in disconnected amorous lyrics, what he calls on the title page "a Discourse
of the Friendly affections of Tymetes to Pyndara his Ladie." Turbervile adapts the sonneteer's convention of writing in honor of his own lady by opening and dosing his collection with a poem in fulsome praise of his dedicatee, Lady Anne, Countess of Warwick (incidentally, Sidney's aunt by marriage).
In Turbervile's work, however, equally influential as the sonnet tradition was the romantic story of classical lovers, such as Paris and Helen, whom Turbervile uses as the
basis for an extended similitude in an introductory poem entitled "The Argument to the
whole discourse and Treatise following" (fol. 3-3v: cf. fol. 5v, 60, 117, 122, 138v), and Troilus and Cressida, whom Turbervile recalls repeatedly (cf. fol. 6v, 30v, 32, 49v, 61v,
71-71v, 91, 139-40v). Other hapless couples whom Turbervile mentions include
Hero and Leander (fol. 26, 122v), Dido and Aeneas (fol. 63v, 99, 103-104v), and Pyramus and Thisbe (fol. 123v-24). Tymetes and Pyndara belong to this company. And