Birth of Philip Sidney 1554

On this day in history, 30th November 1554, the poet, courtier and soldier, Philip Sidney, was born at Penshurst Place in Kent, England.

You can read a bio of Sidney in my article “The Death of Philip Sidney”, but here is the first sonnet from Sidney’s famous “Astrophel and Stella”, which is thought to have been inspired by his love for Lady Penelope Devereux, the granddaughter of Mary Boleyn:-

“Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show,
That the dear She might take some pleasure of my pain:
Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know,
Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,

I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe,

Studying inventions fine, her wits to entertain:
Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow
Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sun-burned brain.

But words came halting forth, wanting Invention’s stay,

Invention, Nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows,
And others’ feet still seemed but strangers in my way.
Thus great with child to speak, and helpless in my throes,

Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
‘Fool’ said my Muse to me, ‘look in thy heart and write.’ “

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