Poetry Analysis: Sonnet XXXI from Astrophel and Stella by Sir Philip Sidney

Topics: Sonnet, Philip Sidney, Astrophel and Stella Pages: 4 (1161 words) Published: December 22, 2010
ESSAY; Sir Philip Sidney: Sonnet XXXI from Astrophel and Stella

„With how sad steps, O Moon , thou climb'st the skies!“

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face!
What! may it be that even in heavenly place
That busy archer his sharp arrows tries?
Sure, if that long-with-love-acquainted eyes
Can judge of love, thou feel'st a lover's case:
I read it in thy looks; thy languish'd grace
To me, that feel the like, thy state descries.
Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deem'd there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be?
Do they above love to be loved, and yet
    Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess?
    Do they call 'virtue' there—ungratefulness?

“Astrophel and Stella”, work written by Sir Philip Sidney, is consisted of 108 sonnets. The whole work is interweave with Greek and Latin words and sayings. The title “Astrophel and Stella” carries its meaning. The name Astrophel is made out of two Greek words, aster, which means star and phel, which means lover. The name Stella, in Latin language, means ‘star’, so therefore we have Astrophel who is a star lover and Stella who is the star who Astrophel loves so much.

The sonnet I choose to analyse represents a Shakespearean type of a sonnet, which is composed with the rhyme scheme abab cdcd efef gg. Shakespearean sonnets are almost all built from three four-line stanzas, which are referred to as quatrains and a final pair  composed in iambic pentameter. On the other hand, we can also say that they are written in a combination of one octet and a sestet.


“With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!”

Poets usually described the Moon as the lonely companion and ‘someone’ they would groan to, comparing themselves to the Moon because he walks over the sky alone. The Moon is seen as eternal bachelor. Also I would like to point out that when the Moon is...
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