Summary of Philip Sidney’s Astrophil and Stella, Sonnet 41

Astrophil and Stella, Sonnet 41 (Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance) is written by Sir Philip Sidney.

Summary

The poet says that today he won the prize, guiding his hand, his lance and his horse extremely well and with great skill. The poet’s triumph aroused great debate among the spectators. The assembled spectators included the English and the French nobles. All argued as to the possible causes of his victory.

The spectators give different reasons for the poet’s success. The townsfolk admired his skill and horsemanship, as well his strength. More discerning judges attributed his success as well as praise his great skill which he had acquired by constant practice. Those who believe in luck attribute it to mere chance. Some others believed that he had inherited a lot of talent from both of his parents, i.e., the father and the mother. (Sidney’s ancestors on both sides were excellent men-at-arms and excelled in many tournaments).

The poet wonders at their guesses and says that they all miss the target and they fail to know the true cause. The poet himself gives out the secret. The true cause was the presence of Stella whose heavenly face sent forth beams that guided him and brought him success in the tournament.

Thus he attributes his success to Stella’s divine presence. Once again he pays a great tribute to the lady whom he loves.

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