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Selected Writings

Sir Philip Sidney

Edited by Richard Dutton

Cover Picture of Selected Writings
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This title is available for academic inspection (paperback only).
ISBN: 978 0 856356 25 4
Categories: 16th Century
Imprint: FyfieldBooks
Published: January 1987
190 x 130 x 14 mm
180 pages
Publisher: Carcanet Press
  • Description
  • Excerpt
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  • Contents
  • The curious wits, seeing dull pensiveness
       Bewray 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 my service tries,
    Think that I think state errors to redress.
       But harder judges judge ambition's rage,
    Scourge of itself, still climbing slipp'ry place,
    Holds my young brain captiv'd in golden cage.
    O fools, or overwise, alas the race
       Of all my thoughts hath neither stop not start,
       But only Stella's eyes and Stella's heart.

    from Astrophil and Stella

    Sir Philip Sidney is the first major poet-critic. His biographer, Fulke Greville, portrayed him as a model of correctness, noble bearing and heroism. Sidney was a considerable figure in his day and is still renowned for his three major literary works: The Defence of Poetry (the first great essay on poetry in English), Astrophil and Stella (one of the finest of the English sonnet sequences) and Arcadia ( a romance with a claim to be the first English novel).

    This selection includes the full text of the Defence of Poetry and Astrophil and Stella, fully annotated, with a selection of the other poems. 'When Sidney died,' writes Richard Dutton, 'those who mourned him did so as a hero of Protestant Europe, a model of Christian virtue, of the Renaissance scholar-poet, of the true knight.' Dutton corrects the exaggerations in the popular view, painting a human, fallible and credible figure. He also emerges as a more sympathetic writer, losing the coldness of the heroic gloss that normally accompanies him.
    Table of Contents


    A Note on the Texts

    Further Reading

    Astrophil and Stella

    The Defence of Poetry

    Miscellaneous Poems


    Sir Philip Sidney
    Sir Phillip Sidney was born in Penhurst, Kent and attended the Shrewsbury School and Christ Church College, Oxford. He was a courtly celebrity of his day, working for Elizabeth I as an ambassador and soldier, as well as being her most highly favoured poet. His works Astrophil and Stella, The Countess ... read more
    Richard Dutton
    ... read more
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