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Edited by R.E. Pritchard
Categories: 16th Century, 17th Century, Christianity, Women
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (96 pages)
(Pub. Sep 1996)
Thy mercy Lord, Lord now thy mercy show,
On thee I lie,
To thee I fly,
Hide me, hive me as thine own
Till these blasts be overblown,
Which now do fiercely blow
Mary Sidney, Countess of Pembroke, (1561-1621) is now regarded as one of the considerable poets of her time, and The Sidney Psalms as one of the most important but now least-known works of the Elizabethan period. These verse translations of the Psalms were begun by Sir Philip Sidney, Mary's brother, and she completed the task which her brother began. The volume was crucial in her development as a woman writer. Fifty of the poems reprinted here are by Mary, and twelve by Philip.
Designed to show that religious verse could be as well-written as the more celebrated love poetry of the time, these version are remarkable for their formal variety and stylistic virtuosity. They were valued by Donne, affected Herbert deeply, and helped to initiate the Metaphysical manner.
`Though some have, some may some psalms translate,/We the Sidneian Psalms shall celebrate,' wrote John Donne in praise of Mary and Philip Sidney's versions.`They tell us why, they teach us how to sing.'
R. E. Pritchard, editor of this modern-spelling selection, has written extensively on Renaissance poetry. He was born in India, read English at Oxford, and is currently a lecturer in English at Keele University. He is editor of the Carcanet anthology Poetry by English Women: Elizabethan to Victorian.
Table of Contents
A Note on the Text
Editions and Further Reading
Psalms by Sir Philip Sidney
Psalms by the Countess of Pembroke
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