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A Sidney Sonnet to Pass the Time…

October 4, 2006

I have been re-reading several early Renaissance British Literature sonnet sequences for an independent study I am taking. Among them, is Sir Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella, twisted, difficult, complicated, and unbelievable bit about love…

This sonnet is part of the sequence. It is speaking to me write now, through my writer’s block and recent difficult musings about ethics and intellect, and the reasons we write…

Come, let me write. And to what end? To ease
A burth’ned heart. How can words ease, which are
The glasses of thy daily vexing care?
Oft cruel fights well pictured forth do please.
Art not asham’d to publish thy disease?
Nay, that may breed my fame, it is so rare.
But will not wise men think thy words fond ware?
Then be they close, and so none shall displease.
What idler thing then speak and not be hard?
What harder thing then smart and not to speak?
Peace, foolish wit! with wit my wit is marr’d.
Thus write I, while I doubt to write, and wreak
My harms on ink’s poor loss. Perhaps some find
Stella’s great pow’rs, that so confuse my mind.

-Sir Philip Sidney, Sonnet 34

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