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Short poem

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

Astrophel and Stella III

              1Let dainty wits cry on the sisters nine,
              2That, bravely mask'd, their fancies may be told;
              3Or, Pindar's apes, flaunt they in phrases fine,
              4Enam'ling with pied flowers their thoughts of gold.
              5Or else let them in statelier glory shine,
              6Ennobling newfound tropes with problems old;
              7Or with strange similes enrich each line,
              8Of herbs or beasts which Ind or Afric hold.
              9For me, in sooth, no Muse but one I know;
            10Phrases and problems from my reach do grow,
            11And strange things cost too dear for my poor sprites.
            12How then? even thus: in Stella's face I read
            13What love and beauty be; then all my deed
            14But copying is, what in her Nature writes.


1] sisters nine: the Muses, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who presided over the various kinds of poetry and other arts.

3] Pindar's apes, flaunt they: as imitators of the Greek poet Pindar, let them proudly show off.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Sir Philip Sidney, Sir P. S. his Astrophel and Stella ([J. Charlewood] for T. Newman, 1591). STC 22536. Facs. edn.: Menston: Scolar Press, 1970. PR 2342 A7 1591A ROBA.
First publication date: 1591
RPO poem editor: F. D. Hoeniger
RP edition: 3RP 1:118.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/11

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: ababababccdeed

Other poems by Sir Philip Sidney