Literature Review On Let Dainty Wits Cry On The Sisters Nine,

April 13, 2022 by Essay Writer

Compare Sidney’s ‘Astrophel and Stella, sonnet 3’ with Shakespeare’s sonnet 83

It has to be reckoned that poetry is one of the most enchanting forms of literary expression that has intrigued the literary critics and readers alike. Poetry provides the poet with the aesthetic freedom of traversing the avenues of imagination so as to reach out to the avid readers with the poetic expressions and portrayals. Sonnet is one of the most famous forms of poetry that has engaged the readers with its quintessence of form and artistic content. Many famous literary artists have engaged in penning sonnets from the core of their hearts to enthrall the readers all over the globe. A close introspection of the literary works of two famous sonneteers, Sidney and Shakespeare, would enable one to have a much better understanding of the form of poetry and the idiosyncrasy of treatment on the part of the stalwart literary artists. A comparison between Sidney’s ‘Astrophel and Stella, sonnet 3’ and William Shakespeare’s sonnet 83 would enable one to understand the content and portrayal of the two literary artists in detail.
In the contextual sonnet by Philip Sidney, the author goes on to provide a number of examples of the actions that his Muses can bring inspiration to. It needs to be reckoned that this poem is an address of love and affection from the heart of a lover to the muse. He opines that this inspiration can very well enhance his wittiness and enrich his poetic work with the inclusion of exotic metaphors. However, the poet goes on to explicate that he does not call upon the Muses for writing. In fact, it is Stella who provides the ultimate inspiration to his poems. All the complex phrases as well as the exotic metaphors that the Muses can provide inspiration for are well beyond the reach of the poet. He is very much personally affected by Stella. In his eyes, Stella is the paramount source of all beauty. All the poetic work can only add literary expression for the things that already exist in Stella.
It needs to be reckoned that this sonnet finds an inception with very rich images that are meant to evoke the inspirational Muses. One needs to note that in the epic tradition the standard practice was to evoke the nine sister goddesses thought to be the embodiment of aesthetics and inspiration for creativity. However, in this particular sonnet one comes to understand that Stella is described as the ultimate source of all beauty and inspiration. The poet is unable to call upon the Muses for getting creative inspiration in penning his poem as he is tremendously immersed in his emotions for Stella. As such, Stella is the only muse whom he can accept. Stella is not able to incite the imagination of Astrophel, but he is able to pen what already is there in her exquisiteness. He is not able to create anything that is new. One can opine that this is simply an expression of the traditional poetic humility of the creative artist.
The poet goes on to use poetic fancies that are mocked. This is very much evident in the very beginning of this sonnet. The poet starts the poem by penning,

That, bravely masked, their fancies may be told;
Or Pindar’s apes flaunt they in phrases fine,
Enam’ling with pied flowers their thoughts of gold (Sidney 1-4),
where one can find the mockery of imitators. In the next couple of lines, one goes on to find fancy rhetorical “tropes” so as to present the same subject matter. There is reference to the Euphuean barbarism of portraying forced or bizarre comparisons with the nature. One can consider the structure of this sonnet by Sidney so as to have a better understanding for his writing. It needs to be reckoned that the octave of this sonnet is, in fact, a series of parallel and equal phrases. The fulcrum of this poem comes in the place for an Italian sonnet as per expectations. This poem’s last two lines have very significant parallels. One needs to note that the poet uses the frontwards clause by penning, “What love and beauty be” that is perfectly matched by the inverted clause as he pens, “what in her nature writes.” The poet goes on to exude the very best of his idiosyncratic style of writing and expressing his emotions in the form of a sonnet.
The poet ends his sonnet by writing, “How then? even thus: in Stella’s face I read / What love and beauty be; then all my deed / But copying is, what in her Nature writes.” (Sidney 12-14) By penning these lines, the poet goes on to delve into explicating the fact that Stella is the epitome of beauty in the entire world. Sidney expresses how he gazed at the beautiful face of the lady. He compares her exquisite face to be the example of paramount beauty in the world that cannot be surpassed in any way. As such, the poem penned by the author is only the reflection of the immense beauty of the lady in context. Being encompassed by the unparalleled beauty of Stella, Astrophel is expressing the true spirit of his amorous emotions that brim his tender heart. The poetic expression of Stella’s surreal charm and beauty testifies to the fact that she works as the muse who inspires the creative artist to immortalize the beauty of the lady in creative zeal through this sonnet in context. Here, in this sonnet one can find how beauty of the lady is being adored by Astrophel who engages in a superfluous expression of his innermost feelings through poetry. Sidney’s sonnet is truly an expression of the heart aimed at Stella who is no less than the goddess of beauty to the poet.
In contrast, one can take into consideration the Sonnet 83 penned by William Shakespeare, the stalwart literary artist. In this sonnet, the poet goes on to argue that it is best not to pen any poems than to pen falsely. It can be surmised that he felt reproached by youth so as to withdraw from any competition against the other poets. The poet goes on to express the emotions of his heart right at the inception of this sonnet as he writes,
I never saw that you did painting need

And therefore to your fair no painting set;

I found, or thought I found, you did exceed
The barren tender of a poet’s debt.. (Shakespeare 1-4)
This sonnet goes on to express the poet’s dislike for the usage of the beautifying agents. It needs to be noted that the poet is expressing his view of beauty in its unadulterated form. He speaks against the use of any artificiality so as to endeavor to enhance the beauty of a person. As the poet uses the word “debt” one can surmise that he is pointing to the debt that a literary artist has to exquisiteness to work as an inspiration for the poetic expression. It is the duty of a poet to praise beauty in his literary expressions. This sonnet goes on to refer back to tenderness that means supple and soft. The poet is aimed at expressing the immense worth of the addressee of this poem. The poem goes on to express the fact that the beauty of the lady is of omnipotent importance in the mortal world with no creative artist having the quality or capacity to complement her for her immense charm.
Shakespeare continues to express in the course of the sonnet how he possibly cannot express the immense worth of the person described through his words of arts and aesthetics in this sonnet. This goes on to explain why he has been silent being unable to put his emotions and experience in words in the poem. The poet puts up a defense by opining that his silence was “unfairly considered to be his sin. As such, the avid readers come to conclude that the utmost glory of the poet lies in his silence. But, it is true that the “glory” is also in his creative expression in the form of this sonnet as he is a creative artist inspired by the beauty of the addressee. One needs to note that the expression “and therefore” is a rhetorical repetition. The poet pens, “This silence for my sinne you did impute.” (Shakespeare 9) While the poet’s silence is meant to reveal the inability of expressing the beauty, it is misconstrued to be a sin.
William Shakespeare goes on to put an end to this sonnet by penning the couplet where he writes, “There lives more life in one of your fair eyes / Than both your poets can in praise devise.” (Shakespeare 13-14) Thus, one can very well comprehend that the literary artist is expressing the fact that the beauty of the lady in context cannot be expressed in words. No creative expression can portray the purity and quintessence of her beauty in any way. As such, the poet establishes the heavenly beauty and charm of the addressee so as to make the praises of her beauty echo in the minds of the avid readers of his literary work. This entire poem is an ode to the beauty of the person who is being addressed in this poem by Shakespeare. While Sidney’s poem goes on to be an expression of love and emotions aimed at Stella from the innermost core of the heart of Astrophel, here Shakespeare himself is bemused by the exquisiteness of the lady in context of the sonnet.
It would be correct to conclude by opining that both Sidney and Shakespeare have proved their quintessence and literary capacity through their sonnets. There can be no question about the prowess of their literary expressions. Their expressions and affective charm that are exuded in the sonnets have left literary critics and readers in sheer awe of their creative genius. The two sonnets that have been compared are classic examples of the best works by the two authors. It is truly intriguing to note how the two stalwarts have expressed their notions and visions of beauty and charm through their poetic works. While they might differ in their approach, they are both engaged in the apotheosis of beauty in their creative works. Both ‘Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet 3’ by Sidney and Sonnet 83 by William Shakespeare can be deemed to be among the best works of aesthetic expression in the history of English literature. The sonnets leave a lasting impression on the minds of the avid readers- something that testifies to their aesthetic appeal and literary excellence. Both the literary works can be taken as epitome of perfection in poetic expression of beauty and its adoration.

Works Cited

Shakespeare, William. “Sonnet 83.”,
Sidney, Philip. “Astrophel and Stella, Sonnet 3.” Hanover., n.d. Web.
8 Feb. 2016.


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