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Short poem

Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586)

Astrophel and Stella XLI

              1Having this day my horse, my hand, my lance
              2Guided so well that I obtain'd the prize,
              3Both by the judgment of the English eyes
              4And of some sent from that sweet enemy France;
              5Horsemen my skill in horsemanship advance,
              6Town folks my strength; a daintier judge applies
              7His praise to sleight which from good use doth rise;
              8Some lucky wits impute it but to chance;
              9Others, because of both sides I do take
            10My blood from them who did excel in this,
            11Think Nature me a man of arms did make.
            12How far they shot awry! The true cause is,
            13Stella look'd on, and from her heav'nly face
            14Sent forth the beams which made so fair my race.


1] In April 1581, Sidney took part in a tournament at Whitehall in honour of the emissaries of the Duke of Anjou, then in England negotiating for that prince's marriage with Queen Elizabeth. The poem clearly refers to this tournament.

7] sleight: skill.

9] of both sides. Both the Sidneys and the Dudleys (his mother's family) were distinguished in war and in chivalry.

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 1:121.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/11

Form: sonnet
Rhyme: abbaabbacdcdee

Other poems by Sir Philip Sidney