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(No. 10.)

The next explains how Cupid has taken possession of
^lln's person; only the fool has neglected to creep into
her heart. The 12th expands this theme, and concludes

thu- :

"Thou countest Stella thine, like those whose powers

Having got up a breach by fighting well,
Cry ' Vietory ! this fair day all is ours !'
<) i:<>; her heart is such a citadel,
fortified with wit, stored with disdain,
That to win it is all the skill and pain." (No. 12.)

p"int, thru, of Astrophel's love-diary, Stella still

heart inviolate, like an acropolis which falls not

th the falling of the outworks. In the 14th he replies


to a friend who expostulates because lie yields to the sinful
desire for a married woman :

" If that be sin which doth the manners frame,

Well stayed with truth in word and faith of deed.
Ready of wit and fearing naught but shame ;

If that be sin which in fixed hearts doth breed
A loathing of all loose unchastity;
Then love is sin, and let me sinful be." (No. 14.)

The 10th has one fine line. At first Sidney had trifled
with love :

" But while I thus with this young lion played,"

I fell, he says, a victim to Stella's eyes. The 18th bewails
his misemployed manhood, somewhat in Shakespeare's
vein :

" My youth doth waste, my knowledge brings forth toys ;

My wit cloth strive these passions to defend,
Which, for reward, spoil it with vain annoys." (No. 18.)

The 21st takes up the same theme, and combines it with
that of the 14th:

"Your words, my friend, right healthful caustics, blame
My young mind marred."

It is clear that Stella's love was beo;inninff to weis;h

~ ~ O

heavily upon his soul. Friends observed an alteration in
him, and warned him against the indulgence of anything
so ruinous as this passion for a woman who belonged to
another. As vet their admonitions could be entertained


and playfully put by. Sidney did not feel himself irrevo-
cably engaged. He still trifled with love as a pleasant epi-
sode in life, a new and radiant experience. At this point

two well-composed sonnets occur, which show how he be-


liav-'l l>.'fre the world's eyes with the burden of his nas-
cenl love upon his heart :

" The curious wits, seeing dull pcnsiveness

Hearing itself in my long-settled eyes,

Whence those same fumes of melancholy rise,
With idle pains and missing aim do guess.
Some, that know how my spring I did address,

Deem that my Muse some fruit of knowledge plies;

Others, because the prince of service tries,
Think that I think state errors to redress.
But harder judges judge ambition's rage,

Scourge of itself, still climbing slippery place,
Holds my young brain captived in golden cage.

fools, or over-wise ! alas, the race
Of all my thoughts hath neither stop nor start
But only Stella's eyes and Stella's heart," (No. 23.)

" Because I oft in dark abstracted guise

Seem most alone in greatest company,

With dearth of words or answers quite awry
To them that would make speech of speech arise;
They deem, and of their doom the rumour flies,

That poison foul of bubbling pride doth lie

So in my swelling breast, that only I
Fawn on myself and others do despise.
Yet pride, I think, doth net my soul possess,

Which looks too oft in his unflattering glass;
But one worse fault, ambition, I confess,

That makes me oft my best friends overpass,
Unseen, unheard, while thought to highest place
li>-i:dri all his powers even unto Stella's grace." (No. 27.)

NOW, too, Ix-o-iu the scries of phiys upon the name Rich,

aii'l invert i\v> against Stella's husband. It seems certain

that Lord Ki.-h was not worthy of his wife. Sidney had

an unbounded contempt for him. He calls him "rich

' and "lout," and describes Stella's bondage to him as


"a foul yoke." Yet this disdain, however rightly felt,
ought not to have found vent in such sonnets as Nos. 24
and 78. The latter degenerates into absolute offensiveness,
when, after describing t\\o, faux jaloux under a transparent
allegory, he winds up with the question :

" Is it not evil that such a devil wants horns ?"

The first section of Astroplid and Stella closes with
sonnet 30. Thus far Sidney has been engaged with his
poetical exordium. Thus far his love has been an absorb-
ing pastime rather than the business of his life. The 31st
sonnet preludes, with splendid melancholy, to a new and
deeper phase of passion :

" With how sad steps, moon, thou climb'st the skies !

How silently, and with how wan a face !

What, may it be that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries ?
Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes

Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case ;

I read it in thy looks ; thy languished grace
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O'moon, tell me,

Is constant love deemed there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be ?

Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess ?
Do they call virtue there ungratefulness ?"

Sidney's thoughts, throughout these poems, were often
with the night; far oftener than Petrarch's or than Shake-
speare's. In the course of our analysis, we shall cull many
a meditation belono-ino- to the hours before the dawn, and

o cj

many a pregnant piece of midnight imagery. What can
be more quaintly accurate in its condensed metaphors than
the following personification of dreams?

6* r


Morpheus, tin' lively son of deadly sleep,
Witness of life to them that living die,
A prophet oft, und oft an history,
A poet eke, as humours fly or creep." (No. 32.)

Iii the 33d sonnet \ve find the first hint that Stella
have reciprocated AstropheFs love:

" I might, unhappy word, woe me, I might !

And then would not, or could not, see my bliss :
Till now, wrapped in a most infernal night,

I find how heavenly day, wretch, I did miss.
Heart, rend thyself ; thou dost thyself but right !

No lovely Paris made thy Helen his ;
No force, no fraud robbed thee of thy delight,

Nor fortune of thy fortune author is !
But to myself myself did give the blow,

While too much wit, forsooth, so troubled me,
That I respects for both our sakes must show :

And yet could not, by rising morn foresee
How fair a day was near : punished eyes,
That I had been more foolish or more wise !" (No. 33.)

This sonnet has generally been taken to refer to Sidney's
indolence before the period of Stella's marriage; in which
case it expands the line of No. 2 :

" I loved, but straight did not what Love decrees."

It may, however, have been written upon the occasion of
-oine favourable chance which he neglected to seize; and
the ina.-ter phrase of the whole composition, u respects for
both our sakcs,'' rather points to this interpretation. We
do not know enough of the obstacles to Sidney's match
with IViu.-lope Devereux to be quite sure whether such " re-
"I" ' <'\i>t(jd while she was at liberty.

Tln-iv i- nothing now left for him but to vent his regrets


and vain longings in words. But what arc empty words,
what consolation can they bring?

"And, ah, what hope that hope should once see day,
Where Cupid is sworn page to chastity?" (No. 35.)

Each day Stella makes new inroads upon the fortress of

his son).

" Through my long-battered eyes
Whole armies of thy beauties entered in:
And there long since, love, thy lieutenant lies." (Xo. 36.)

Stella can weep over tales of unhappy lovers she has never
known. Perhaps if she could think his case a fable, she
might learn to pity him:

" Then think, my dear, that you in me do read
Of lover's ruin some thrice-sad tragedy.
I am not I ; pity the tale of me !" (Xo. 45.)

He entreats her not to shun his presence or withdraw the
heaven's light of her eyes:

" Soul's joy, bend not those morning stars from me,
Where virtue is made strong by beauty's might !"

Nay, let her gaze upon him, though that splendour should
wither up his life :

"A kind of grace it is to kill with speed." (No. 48.)

He prays to her, as to a deity raised high above the stress
and tempest of his vigilant desires:

"Alas, if from the height of virtue's throne

Thou canst vouchsafe the influence of a thought
Upon a wretch that long thy grace hath sought,
Weigh then how I by thee am overthrown I' 1 (Xo. 40.)

It is here, too, that the pathetic outcry, u my mind, now
cf the basest," now (that is) of the lowest and most hum-



.1. [s forced from him. Then, returning to the theme
of Stella's unconquerable virtue, he calls her eyes

" The schools where Venus hath learned chastity." (Xo. 42.)

the midst of this group shine forth, like stars, two
of pure but of very different lustre :

"Come, sleep! O sleep, the certain knot of peace,

The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,

Th' indifferent judge between the high and low !
With shield of proof shield me from out the press

Of those fierce darts despair at me doth throw ;
make in me those civil wars to cease;

I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,

A chamber deaf of noise and blind of light,
A ro>v garland and a wearv head;

. * *

And if these things, as being thine in right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see." (Xo. 39.)

" Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
(iiiided so well that I obtained the prize,
P.oth by the judgment of the English eyes
Ami of .-oinr sent from that sweet enemy France;
Ilor.-emen my skill in horsemanship advance,

Town-folks my strength ; a daintier judge applies
His |ii-ai-r to -leight which from good use doth rise;

lucky wits impute it but to chance;
T-, because of both sides I do take
M;. blood from them who did excel in this,
Tiiink nature me a man-at-arms did make.

How far they shot awry ! the true cause is,
St.-lla looked (.n, and from her heavenly face
S< ut forth tin- beams which made so fair my race."

(Xo. 41.)


Sometimes lie feels convinced that this passion will be his
ruin, and strives, but strives in vain as yet, against it:

" Virtue, awake ! Beauty but beauty is;

I may, I must, I can, I will, I do
Leave following that which it is gain to miss.

Let her go ! Soft, but here she comes ! Go to,
Unkind, I love you not ! me, that eye

Doth make my heart to give inv tongue the lie !"

(No. 47.)

Sometimes he draws strength from the same passion ; at
another time the sight of Stella well-nigh unnerves his
trained bridle-hand, and suspends his lance in rest. This
from the tilting-ground is worth preserving :

o o * *~ '

" In martial sports I had my cunning tried,

And yet to break more staves did me address,
While with the people's shouts, I must confess,

Youth, luck, and praise even filled my veins with pride;

When Cupid, having me, his slave, descried
In Mars's livery prancing in the press,
' What now, Sir Fool !' said he : I would no less :

' Look here, I say !' I looked, and Stella spied,

Who hard by made a window send forth light,

My heart then quaked, then dazzled were mine eyes;

One hand forgot to rule, th' other to fight,

Xor trumpet's sound I heard nor friendly cries :

My foe came on, and beat the air for me,

Till that her blush taught me my shame to see."

(Xo. 53.)

The quaint author of the Life and Death of Sir Philip
Sidney, prefixed to the Arcadia, relates how: "many no-
bles of the female sex, venturing as far as modesty would
permit, to signify their affections unto him; Sir Philip
will not read the characters of their love, though obvious
to every eye." This passage finds illustration in the next
sonnet :


i;. ;iu>e I breathe not love to every one,
Xor do not use set colours for to wear,
Nor nourish special locks of vowed hair,

Nor irive each speech a full point of a groan ;

The courtly nymphs, acquainted with the moan
Of them which in their lips love's standard bear,
' What he !' say they of me : ' now I dare swear

He cannot love ; no, no, let him alone !'

And think so still, so Stella know my mind!
Profess indeed I do not Cupid's art:

But you, fair maids, at length this true shall find,
That his right badge is but worn in the heart:

Dumb swans, not chattering pies, do lovers prove;

They love indeed who quake to say thev love."

(Xo. 54.)

V\) to this point Stella lias been Sidney's saint, the
u<l"ivd object, remote as a star from his heart's sphere.
Now at last she confesses that she loves him. But her
l>ve is of pure and sisterly temper; and she mingles its
n\o\vnl with noble counsels, little to his inclination.

" Late tired with woe, even ready for to pine

With rage of love, I called my love unkind;
She in whose eyes love, though unfelt, doth shine,

Sweet said that I true love in her should find.
I joyed ; but straight thus watered was my wine:

Tiiat love she did, but loved a love not blind;
Which would not let me, whom she loved, decline

From nobler course, fit for my birth and mind ;
Ami then-fore by her love's authoritv
Willed me these tempests of vain love to fly,

And anchor fast myself on virtue's shore.
Alas, it" this the only metal be
<)!' love new-coined to help my beggarv,

Dear, love me not, that vou may love me more !"

(No. 62.)

HU hfut.-d senses ivbd against her admonitions:


"No more, my dear, no more these counsels try;

give my passions leave to run their race ;

Let fortune lay on me her worst disgrace;
Let folk o'ercharged with brain against me cry ;
Let clouds bedim my face, break in mine eye ;

Let me no steps but of lost labour trace;

Let all the earth with scorn recount my case;
But do not will me from my love to fly !" (No. 64.)

Then he seeks relief in trifles. Playing upon his own
coat of arms (" or, a pheon azure "), he tells Love how he
nursed him in his bosom, and how they both must surely
be of the same lineage :

" For when, naked boy, thou couldst no harbour find
In this old world, grown now so too-too wise,

I lodged thee in my heart, and being blind
By nature born, I gave to thee mine eyes . . .

Yet let this thought thy tigrish courage pass,
That I perhaps am somewhat kin to thee ;

Since in thine arms, if learned fame truth hath spread,

Thou bear'st the arrow,! the arrow head."

No. 65.)

Stella continues to repress his ardour :

u I cannot brag of word, much less of deed . . .
Desire still on stilts of fear doth go." (No. 66.)

Yet once she blushed when their eyes met; and her blush
"o-uilty seemed of love." Therefore he expostulates with
her upon her cruelty :

" Stella, the only planet of my light,

Light of my life, and life of my desire,

Chief good whereto my hope doth only aspire,
World of my wealth, and heaven of my delight ;
Why dost thou spend the treasures of thy sprite,

Witli voice more fit to wed Amphion's lyre,

Seeking to quench in me the noble fire
Fed by thy worth and kindled by thy sight ?" (No. 68.)


S Idcnly, to close this contention, we find him at the
height of hi* felicity. Stella has relented, yielding him
tin- kingdom of her heart, but adding the condition that
In- imi-t l<>ve, as she does, virtuously :

" o joy too high for my lo\v style to show !

o bliss fit for a nobler Mate than me!

Envy, put out thine eyes, lest thou do see
What oceans of delight in me do flow !
Mv fri.-nd, that oft saw through all masks my woe,
ii.', and let me pour myself on thee :

Goiu- is the winter of my piisery ;
My spring appears; see what here doth grow !
For Stella hath, with "words where faith doth shine,

Of her high heart given me the monarchy;
I, I, I, may say that she is mine !

And though she give but thus conditionally,
This realm of bliss, while virtuous course I take,
N.I kini's be crowned but they some covenants make."

(Xo. 69.)

N -\v. the stanzas which have so long eased his sadness,

shall In- turned to joy :

Sonnets be not bound prentice to annoy;

Trebles -ing high, so well as basses deep ;
Grief but Love's winter-livery is ; the boy

Hath cheeks to smile, so well as eyes to weep."

And yet, with the same breath, he says:

" Wise silence is best music unto bliss." (Xo. 70.)

In tin- next sonnet he shows that Stella's virtuous condi-
tion-; do not satisfy. True it is that whoso looks upon

IKT fa .

>'.! he find all vices' overthrow,
X-it by rude force, but sweetest sovereignty

-on. ....

But, ah, de-ire still cries : Give me some food!" (Xo. 71.)


F;i iv well then to desire:

" Desire, though thou my old companion art,
And oft so clings to my pure love that I
One from the other scarcely can descry,

While each doth blow the fire of my heart;

Now from thy fellowship I needs must part." (No. 72.)

It is characteristic of the fluctuations both of feeling- and
circumstance, so minutely followed in Astrophel's love-
diary, that, just at this moment, when he has resolved to
part with desire, he breaks out into this jubilant song upon
the stolen kiss :

" Have I caught my heavenly jewel,
Teaching sleep most fair to be !
Now will I teach her that she,
When she wake?, is too-too cruel.

" Since sweet sleep her eyes hath charmed,
The two only darts of Love,
Now will I with that boy prove
Some play while he is disarmed.

" Her tongue, waking, still refuseth,
Giving frankly niggard no:
Now will I attempt to know
What no her tongue, sleeping, useth.

" See the hand that, waking, guardeth,
Sleeping, grants a free resort :
Now will I invade the fort ;
Cowards Love with loss rewardeth.

'' But, fool, think of the danger
Of her high and just disdain !
Now will I, alas, refrain:
Love fears nothing else but anger,


" Yet those lips, so sweetly swelling,
Do invite a stealing kiss :
Now will I but venture this ;
"Who will road, must first learn spelling.

" Oh, sweet kiss ! but ah, she's waking;
Lowering beauty chastens me :
Now will I for fear hence flee ;
Fool, more fool, for no mere taking !"

Several pages arc occupied with meditations on this lucky
kUs. The poet's thoughts turn to alternate ecstasy and

" I never drank of Aganippe's well,

Nor ever did in shade of Tempe sit,
And Muses scorn with vulgar brains to dwell ;
Poor layman I, for sacred rites unfit !

" How falls it then that with so smooth an ease

My thoughts I speak ; and what I speak doth flow
In verse, and that my verse test wits doth please ?"

The answer of course is:

"Thy lips are sweet, inspired with Stella's kiss." (Xo. 74.)

In this mood we find him praising Edward IV., who risked
liis kingdom for Lady Elizabeth Grey.

" Of all the kings that ever here did reign,

Edward, named fourth, as first in praise I name;
Not for his fair outside, nor well-lined brain,

Although los gifts imp feathers oft on fame:
Nor that lit.- could, young-wise, wise-valiant, frame

His sire's revenue, joined with a kingdom's gain;
And gained by Mars, could yet mad Mars so tame

That balanei- weighed what sword did late obtain :


Nor that he made the flower-de-luce so 'fraid,
Though strongly hedged of bloody lions' paws,

That witty Lewis to him a tribute paid:

Not this, not that, nor any such small cause ;

But only for this worthy knight durst prove

To lose his crown rather than fail his love." (No. 75.)

A sonnet on the open road, in a vein of conceits worthy of
Philostratus, closes the group inspired by Stella's kiss :

" High way, since you my chief Parnassus be,
And that my Muse, to some ears not unsweet,
Tempers her words to trampling horse's feet

More oft than to a chamber-melody :

Now blessed you bear onward blessed me

To her, where I my heart, safe-left shall meet,
My Muse and I must you of duty greet

With thanks and wishes, wishing thankfully.

Be you still fair, honoured by public heed;

By no encroachment wronged, nor time forgot;

Nor blamed for blood, nor shamed for sinful deed ;
And that you know I envy you no lot

Of highest wish, I wish you so much bliss

Hundreds of years you Stella's feet may kiss." (No. 84.)

And now a change comes over the spirit of Sidney's
dream. It is introduced, as the episode of the stolen kiss
was, by a song. We do not know on what occasion he
may have found himself alone with Stella at night, when
her husband's jealousy was sleeping, the house closed, and
her mother in bed. But the lyric refers, I think, clearly
to some real incident perhaps at Leicester House :

" Only joy, now here you are
Fit to hear and ease my care.
Let my whispering voice obtain
Sweet reward for sharpest pain ;
Take me to thee and thee to me : -
' No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !'

SIR rniLir SIDNHV. r cHAP -

M-lit hath I-I..SIM! all in her cloak,

tars 1.. \v-thoughts provoke;
1 1 in g er hi . good care tloth keep ;
Jealous; himself doth sleep:
T.iK.- mi- to thee and thee to me:
\,,. no, DO, no, my dear, let be!'

I'.fttfr phcv no "it
(''s knot to loose or bind ;
These sweet flowers, our fine bed, too
Us in their best language woo :
Tiike me to thee and thee to me :
' No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !'

"This small light the moon bestows,
Serves thy beams but to disclose ;
So to raise my hap more high,
Fear not else ; none can us spy :
Take me to thee and thee to me :
' No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !'

u That you heard was but a mouse ;
Dumb sleep holdeth all the house ;
Yet asleep, methinks they say,
Young fools, take time while you may:
Take me to thee and thee to me :
No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !'

" Niggard time threats, if we miss
This large offer of our bli-s,
Lou*.: .-tay ere he grant tin- .-ame :

ft then, while each thing doth frame,
:e me to thee and thee to me :
1 No, no, no, no, my dear, let be!'

'Your fair mothiT i- a-bed,
Candles out ami curtains spread;
thinks you do letters write:
Write, but first let me endite :


Take me to thee and thee to me :
' No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !'

" Sweet, alas ! why strive you thus ?
Concord better fitteth us ;
Leave to Mars the strife of hands ;
Your power in your beauty stands :
Take me to thee and thee to me:
' No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !'

" Woe to me ! and do you swear
Me to hate ? but I forbear :
Cursed be my destinies all,

That brought me so high to fall !
Soon with my death I'll please thee :
" No, no, no, no, my dear, let be !' '

It will be noticed that to all his pleadings, passionate or
playful, and (it must be admitted) of very questionable
morality, she returns a steadfast No ! This accounts for
the altered tone of the next sonnet. In the 85th he had
indulged golden, triumphant visions, and had bade his
heart be moderate in the fruition of its bliss. Now he
exclaims :

"Alas ! whence came this change of looks ? If I
Have changed desert, let mine own conscience be
A still-felt plague to self-condemning me ;

Let woe gripe on mv heart, shame load mine eye !"

(No. 86.)

He has pressed his suit too far, and Stella begins to
draw back from their common danger. Five songs fol-
low in quick succession, one of which prepares us for the
denouement of the love-drama :

" In a grove most rich of shade,
Where birds wanton music made,



. then young, his pied weeds showing,
; fniii.-d with ilowers fresh growing:

Uti j'hel "ith Stella sweet
; for mutual comfort meet ;
h within them.-'lves oppressed,
Bui ach in the oilier blessed.

II :n great harms had taught much care,
li : fair neck a foul yoke bare ;
Hut her sight his cares did banish,
In his sijrht her volte did vanish.

' Wept they had, alas, the while ;
But now tears themselves did smile,
While their eyes, by Love directed.
Interchangeably reflected."

I' >r a time the lovers sat thus in silence, sighing and
_, until Love himself broke out into a passionate
-tr.-phe from the lips of Astrophel :

i i rant, grant ! but speech, alas,
Fails me, fearing on to pass :
< Irant, me ! what am I saying ?
Bui no fault there is in praying.

1 ' lear, on knees I pray
(Ki.. - - on -round he then did stay)
That not I, but since I love you,
Time and place for me may move you.

\\a< more tit;
i room more apt for it ;
iiiu_ r air allows my reason ;
bird- .-iiiL', 'Xo\v use the season. 5

- -mall wind, which so sweet is,

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