Summary of Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, Sonnet 1

Astrophil and Stella, Sonnet 1 (Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show) is written by Sir Philip Sidney.


I am truly in love and am desirous to show my sincerity through these verses so that she may understand the pangs of love and get some pleasure when she reads my poems. The pleasure may impel her to read, and by reading, she may realize my intense love for her. This knowledge may cause or engender pity, and pity may bring favour.

The poet assures the lady that he has explored all modes of expression to find the most suitable words to reveal his frustration and misery. He has studied all fine inventions in order to entertain and please her. He has also read similar writings of other poet-lovers to ensure whether those expressions can bring some new ideas or fertilize his creative faculties which are now dried up by the heat or fire of passion or love.

But the words came limping as they lacked the support of the invention, which is the child (product of Nature, and step-mother of imitation, which, in turn, is the product of the study of ancients). All such poets were alien (and unsuitable) to his purpose, and hampered his creative process.

Sometimes his mind is pregnant with ideas but otherwise helpless because those words of ancients and other love-poets are inadequate to express the intensity of his Passion, and his pen starts playing truant, shirking its duty to write, and the poet beats his head in sheer anger or spite.

While the poet struggles to invent words, the goddess of poetry, the Muse called him a fool but advised him to look within and write as passions flow and erupt.

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