Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Line 12.

“I will begin the fashion Less without and more within.”—Cymbeline.

Line 14.
“Kill'd like to slaves, and cannot kill again.”Fletcher's Bonduca.

Line 14.
“Struck dead at first, what needs a second striking ?”

Venus and Adonis.

SONNET 147.
Lines 1 to 8.

“ Your affections are
A sick man's appetite, who desires that most
Which would increase his evil.” – Coriolanus.

Lines 9 to 12.

In this the poet appears to level at such sonnetteering as Drayton's 38th, in which there is an argument between love and reason for supremacy. This poet also addresses his mistress (Sonnet 9), and seriously tells her he has been nine years deranged. He begins thus :

“I will resolve you I am lunatic,
Thus talking idly in this bedlam fit,
And bedlam like, thus raving in my grief."

SONNET 148.

Line 12. “The sun not yet thy sighs from heaven clears.”—Romeo and Juliet.

SONNET 151.
Line 9.

“My heart shall be
The faithful compass that still points to thee.”Gray.

SONNET 153. “ Thine eye darts forth the fire that burneth me.”—Venus and Adonis.

Line 14.
“At whose pure eyes Love lights his hallowed fire.”

Drayton's Sonnets.

SONNET 154.

Lines 3, 4.
“And all the greekish girls shall tripping sing.”

Troilus and Cressida.

Line 8.
“ Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand

Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatched.”Hamlet.

REMARKS UPON NOTES.

Many more extracts might have been brought forward from the dramas and poems of Shakespeare illustrative of the duo-uno idea so frequently recurring in the Sonnets, and, in fact, their very theme throughout. Shakespeare has more such passages embracing this idea than all the writers of his own age put together, and perhaps more than all other secular writers.

In 1601, during the period of his writing the Sonnets, he wrote a most remarkable poem, involving this theme in its entirety, called “The Phønix and Turtle," for Robert Chester's “ Love's Martyr, or Rosalin's Complaint," allegorically shadowing the truth of love in the constant fate of the Phoenix and Turtle. Shakespeare's mystical lines, beginning with

“ Let the bird of loudest lay” are now to be found appended to the “Passionate Pilgrim.” The idea or theme arises from a poetical legal view of marriage law, the husband and wife, though twain, being considered but one.

THE LOVE OF SIR PHILIP SIDNEY

FOR PENELOPE DEVEREUX,

AND

LADY RICH'S ILLICIT AMOURS REVEALED.

PRESUMING that the readers may desire to know something more of Sidney's love for the lady whom he has immortalised, and that lady's love for Sidney, and afterwards for others, and to show that which very likely caused Shakespeare to dislike sonnetting, and also probably gave rise to the allegory, and to give its application to the last twenty-eight Sonnets,* as a satire upon corrupt wedded love, I have penned these remarks.

Penelope Devereux, the lady whose love Sidney so heedlessly lost and then so rashly strove to win, was at once both his bliss and bane; the ornament of her times and their blackest disgrace. She it was, whose darkest shades (for which, however, apology can be made) were used to set off the bright picture Shakespeare paints of his friend. Her history belongs to the secret history of the times. Sir Philip Sidney and Penelope Devereux were truly a pair of

star-crost lovers.” The end of her brother's life (the earl of Essex), though in another way, was equally disgraceful with hers. All Sidney's misfortunes may be attributed to

* As remarked, these Sonnets were not intended to represent her loving alone, but as a satire on the times, though she is chiefly alluded to.

his passion for Penelope ; losing her he lost all, and seemed utterly regardless of his honour and life.

Her history, which makes truth seem far stranger than fiction, remains to be fully told. The outline of it will show the truth of Shakespeare's pictures of her late in life, and contrast with Sidney's descriptions of her in her budding beauties and seeming virtues. The extreme folly of Sidney, blasting his reputation in Sonnets, Shakespeare justly ridicules; but Sidney's fame becoming brighter and brighter, and setting in glory, received national homage ; while the fame of the mistress of his song became darker and darker, and ended in the deepest shame. The impartial reader will, however, see that her fate deserves pity, and that Sidney's heedless loving, which he himself blames, merits censure. There were faults on either side, neither knowing, till too late, their own mind.

It was early decided by the friends of Sidney and those of Penelope that Sidney should marry her. She was extremely beautiful and witty, and was viewed as a fit mate for him. But her beauty had made her wayward and proud, and Sidney was not in such haste to marry as her friends desired him to be. This was in 1576, when he was twenty-two years of age, and she was fifteen. He was at this time devoted to his studies, and becoming a friend of Spenser's, he for a time forgot Penelope, and she, perhaps, indignant at his neglect, and at the suggestion of ill-advised friends, accepted the love of Lord Robert Rich, a man altogether unworthy of her. He is described as being of a most mean despicable nature. Had he been capable of so much felicity, he would have become possessor of the love of this heaven of joy. But what was such purity and beauty to one of such a debased nature as her husband proved. By her marriage with Lord Rich, rich not only in name, but in immense wealth, she was at once the cause of mutual grief and sin. Sidney lost his peace of mind for life, and sought despairingly and futilely to gain her love (though but delusively in verse), which he saw was in reality lost to him for ever, as she was another's, and what another's—" Hyperion to a Satyr.” Sidney lost the foremost beauty, Penelope—the foremost wit of which those chivalrous times could boast. Robert Lord Rich could not estimate the value of that Rose of Beauty, that pearl of price of which he became the reckless possessor. He did not see, as her poet-lover did, that the sum of all wealth was the possession of her. He did not seek to gain her love, nor did she give him hers, and though she was true to him, she loved him not.

Sidney to beguile his grief retired to Wilton, and commenced writing that quaint though charming romance, the “ Arcadia." His sister Mary, Countess of Pembroke, desired him to pen this work to divert him from his sorrows, and to this lady he dedicated the volume. Sidney has pourtrayed Penelope in it as the principal heroine, arrayed in all her supremacy of beauty, as Philoclea; he also shadowed himself under the appellation of Philisides, in the discourses of these lovers he devised to embody his own passion. But his overcharged heart was forced to give vent to his feelings in another channel. He desired another subject to invent; what should he pen to give respite to his woe ?—His Muse exclaimed

“Fool, look in thy heart and write." And that which he wrote was printed in 1591, five

« ZurückWeiter »