Sir Philip Sidney

By Philip Sidney; Katherine Duncan-Jones | Go to book overview

ASTHROPHIL AND STELLA

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That she (dear she) might take some pleasure of my pain;
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know;
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain;
I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,
Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain;
Oft turning others' leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburnt brain.
But words came halting forth, wanting invention's stay;
Invention, nature's child, fled step-dame study's blows;10 And others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,
Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
'Fool,' said my muse to me; 'look in thy heart, and write.'


2

Not at first sight, nor with a dribbed° shot,
Love gave the wound which while I breathe will bleed:
But known worth° did in mine of time proceed,
Till by degrees it had full conquest got.
I saw, and liked; I liked, but loved not;
I loved, but straight did not what love decreed:
At length to love's decrees I , forced, agreed,
Yet with repining at so partial lot.
Now even that footstep of lost liberty
Is gone, and now like slave-born Muscovite° 10 I call it praise to suffer tyranny;
And now employ the remnant of my wit
To make myself believe that all is well,
While with a feeling skill I paint° my hell.


3

Let dainty wits cry on the sisters nine,
That bravely masked, their fancies may be told:

-153-

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Sir Philip Sidney
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Oxford Authors i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Acknowledgements xix
  • Chronology xxi
  • Note on Text xxv
  • A Dialogue Between Two Shepherds, Uttered in a Pastoral Show at Wilton 1
  • The Lady of May 5
  • Certain Sonnets 14
  • The Old Arcadia 42
  • Lamon's Tale 139
  • Asthrophil and Stella 153
  • The Defence of Poesy 212
  • The New Arcadia the Pitiful Story of the Paphlagonian Unkind King 253
  • Psalms Psalm Vi: Domine Ne in Furore *
  • Letters 279
  • Appendices 299
  • Notes 330
  • Further Reading 409
  • Selective Glossary 411
  • Index of First Lines 412
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