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Tyrant honour doth thus use thee,
Stella's self might not refuse thee.

"Therefore, dear, this no more move,
Lest, though I not leave thy love,
Which too deep in me is framed,
I should blush when thou art namèd.

"Therewithal away she went,

Leaving him to [so?] passion rent
With what she had done and spoken,
That therewith my song is broken."

The next song records Astrophel's hard necessity of parting from Stella. But why

"Why, alas, doth she thus swear
That she loveth me so dearly?"

The group of sonnets which these lyrics introduce lead up to the final rupture, not indeed of heart and will, but of imposed necessity, which separates the lovers. Stella throughout plays a part which compels our admiration, and Astrophel brings himself at length to obedience. The situation has become unbearable to her. She loves, and, what is more, she has confessed her love. But, at any price, for her own sake, for his sake, for honour, for duty, for love itself, she must free them both from the enchantment which is closing round them. Therefore the path which hitherto has been ascending through fair meadows to the height of rapture, now descends upon the other side. It is for Sidney a long road of sighs and tears, rebellions and heart-aches, a veritable via dolorosa, ending, however, in conquest over self and tranquillity of conscience. For, as he sang in happier moments:

"For who indeed infelt affection bears,

So captives to his saint both soul and sense,
That, wholly hers, all selfness he forbears;

Then his desires he learns, his life's course thence."

(No. 61.)

In the hour of their parting Stella betrays her own emo


"Alas, I found that she with me did smart;

I saw that tears did in her eyes appear."

After this follow five pieces written in absence:
"Tush, absence! while thy mists eclipse that light,
My orphan sense fiies to the inward sight,
Where memory sets forth the beams of love."

"Each day seems long, and longs for long-stayed night;
The night, as tedious, woos the approach of day:
Tired with the dusty toils of busy day,
Languished with horrors of the silent night,
Suffering the evils both of day and night,

While no night is more dark than is my day,
Nor no day hath less quiet than my night."


'They please, I do confess, they please mine eyes;
But why? because of you they models be,
Models, such be wood-globes of glistering skies."

A friend speaks to him of Stella:

"You say, forsooth, you left her well of late ;-
O God, think you that satisfies my care?

I would know whether she did sit or walk;

(No. 87.)

(No. 89.)

He gazes on other beauties; amber-coloured hair, milkwhite hands, rosy cheeks, lips sweeter and redder than the


(No. 88.)

How clothed, how waited on; sighed she, or smiled;

Whereof, with whom, how often did she talk;

With what pastimes Time's journey she beguiled;

(No. 91.)

If her lips deigned to sweeten my poor name.—
Say all; and all well said, still say the same."

(No. 92.)

Interpolated in this group is a more than usually fluent sonnet, in which Sidney disclaims all right to call himself a poet :

"Stella, think not that I by verse seek fame,

Who seek, who hope, who love, who live but thee;

Thine eyes my pride, thy lips my history:

If thou praise not, all other praise is shame.
Nor so ambitious am I as to frame

A nest for my young praise in laurel-tree;
In truth I swear I wish not there should be
Graved in my epitaph a poet's name.
Nor, if I would, could I just title make

That any laud thereof to me should grow,
Without my plumes from other wings I take;

For nothing from my wit or will doth flow,
Since all my words thy beauty doth endite,

And love doth hold my hand and makes me write."

(No. 90.)

The sonnets in absence are closed by a song, which, as usual, introduces a new motive. It begins "O dear life," and indulges a far too audacious retrospect over the past happiness of a lover. If, as seems possible from an allusion in No. 84, he was indiscreet enough to communicate his poems to friends, this lyric may have roused the jealousy of Stella's husband and exposed her to hard treatment or reproaches. At any rate, something he had said or done caused her pain, and he breaks out into incoherent self-revilings:

"O fate, O fault, O curse, child of my bliss!...
Through me, wretch me, even Stella vexèd is..
I have (live I, and know this?) harmed thee.
I cry thy sighs, my dear, thy tears I bleed."

(No. 93.)

Should any one doubt the sincerity of accent here, let him peruse the next seven sonnets, which are written in sequence upon the same theme.

"Grief, find the words; for thou hast made my brain
So dark with misty vapours which arise

From out thy heavy mould, that inbent eyes
Can scarce discern the shape of mine own pain."

"Yet sighs, dear sighs, indeed true friends you are,
That do not leave your left friend at the worst;
But, as you with my breast I oft have nursed,
So, grateful now, you wait upon my care.

"Nay, Sorrow comes with such main rage that he
Kills his own children, tears, finding that they
By Love were made apt to consort with me:
Only, true sighs, you do not go away."

"Poor Night in love with Phoebus' light, And endlessly despairing of his grace."

(No. 95.)

The night is heavier, more irksome to him; and yet he finds in it the parallel of his own case:

The bed becomes a place of torment:
"While the black horrors of the silent night
Paint woe's black face so lively to my sight,
That tedious leisure marks each wrinkled line."

(No. 94.)

(No. 97.)

(No. 98.)

Only at dawn can he find ease in slumber. The sonnet, in which this motive is developed, illustrates Sidney's method of veiling definite and simple thoughts in abstruse and yet exact phrases. We feel impelled to say that there is something Shakespearean in the style. But we must remember that Shakespeare's sonnets were at this time locked up within his brain, as the flower is in the bud.

"When far-spent night persuades each mortal eye
To whom nor art nor nature granteth light,
To lay his then mark-wanting shafts of sight
Closed with their quivers in sleep's armoury;
With windows ope then most my mind doth lie

Viewing the shape of darkness, and delight
Takes in that sad hue, which with the inward night
Of his mazed powers keeps perfect harmony:
But when birds charm, and that sweet air which is

Morn's messenger with rose-enamelled skies
Calls each wight to salute the flower of bliss;

In tomb of lids then buried are mine eyes,
Forced by their lord who is ashamed to find

Such light in sense with such a darkened mind." (No. 99.)

Two sonnets upon Stella's illness (to which I should be inclined to add the four upon this topic printed in Constable's Diana) may be omitted. But I cannot refrain from quoting the last song. It is in the form of a dialogue at night beneath Stella's window. Though apparently together at the Court, he had received express commands from her to abstain from her society; the reason of which can perhaps be found in No. 104. This sonnet shows that "envious wits" were commenting upon their intimacy; and Sidney had compromised her by wearing stars upon his armour. Anyhow he is now reduced to roaming the streets in darkness, hoping to obtain a glimpse of his beloved.

"Who is it that this dark night

Underneath my window plaineth?'
It is one who from thy sight
Being, ah, exiled disdaineth
Every other vulgar light.

“Why, alas, and are you he?

Be not yet those fancies changed?'
Dear, when you find change in me,

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