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Flashcards in Astrophil and Stella Deck (21):

Who wrote Astrophil and Stella?

Sir Philip Sidney


Who is historically believed to be "Stella"?

Penelope Devereux


Sonnet 1: What is the first line?

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show


Sonnet 1: What is the sentiment expressed here?

This sonnet justifies the reason he is writing the sonnet sequence. If his lady reads it, she might be moved to return his love. Though it is difficult, he must express love in verse by looking into his heart.


Sonnet 2: What is the first line?

Not at first sight, nor with a dribbèd shot / Love gave the wound


Sonnet 2: What is the sentiment expressed here?

The poet describes how he came to love Stella; love did not come all at once, but gradually. Once he realized he was in love, he cursed the loss of his freedom. Now, though, he praises even that because he is so lost to the tyranny of love. He spends his time writing sonnets ("I paint my hell")


Sonnet 72: What is the first line?

Desire, though thou my old companion art


Sonnet 72: What is the sentiment expressed here?

There are two competing forces in the poet: his love, which is pure and virtuous, and his desire, which is not. He has a hard time distinguishing between them both, but tries to choose love's path of "service and honor" -
the gifts his lady bestows on him - above immoral thoughts. Nonetheless, he despairs of overcoming his desire, which is powerful and which he has held a long time.


Sonnet 31: What is the first line?

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!


Sonnet 31: What is the sentiment expressed here?

The poet thinks he recognizes the look on the Moon's face, and concludes that the Moon, like himself, is lovesick. He muses on what loving is like on the Moon - do people there think it crazy to be hopelessly in love?Are women as proud, and praised as virtuous for scorning their lovers?


Sonnet 31: What poetic technique is at play in this poem?

Pathetic Fallacy - imbuing an element of nature with human emotions.


How many poems are included in the Astrophil and Stella sonnet cycle?

108 sonnets and 11 songs


What is the primary sonnet form Sidney uses in this cycle?

Petrarchan or Italian sonnet


What are the characteristics of a Petrarchan sonnet?

- consists of an octave with rhyme scheme "abbaabba" (two sets of four...or like the band twice)
- followed by a sestet of varying rhyme scheme (six lines)
- total: 14 lines


How many lines are in an Italian sonnet?



When was Astrophil and Stella first printed?

1591 (five years after Sidney's death). They were probably written around 1581.


What is a key theme of the sequence?

The impossibility of love between Astrophil and Stella


What does Astrophil mean?



What does Stella mean?



What happens in poems 31-33 of the sonnet cycle?

Astrophil learns that Stella is married; she is unhappy in her marriage.


Why does Stella eventually break things off with Astrophil?

He can never be happy loving chastely; his desire is too strong.