Astrophel and Stella - Sonnets 1 - 20 Summary & Analysis

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Summary

Sidney begins his sequence with a classical invocation to the muse, imploring her for inspiration so that Stella may read his words and return his love. The first sonnet agonizes over the writing process, noting that "words came halting forth, wanting invention's stay" (9), and the speaker feels markedly anxious over entering the already rich poetic tradition. "Others' feet still seemed but strangers in my way" (11), he laments before describing himself as a "great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes" (12). The final couplet of the poem brings in the voice of the muse, who instructs the tormented lover/speaker (whom she calls "fool") to simply "look in thy heart, and write" (14).

Once the sequence is under way, Astrophel uses the following sonnets to begin crafting the narrative of how he fell in love with Stella. He notes in Sonnet 2 that it...

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This section contains 1,321 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Astrophel and Stella Study Guide
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