Come, let me write. And to what end? To ease
A burth’ned heart. How can words ease, which are
The glasses of thy daily vexing care?
Oft cruel fights well pictured forth do please.
Art not asham’d to publish thy disease?
Nay, that may breed my fame, it is so rare.
But will not wise men think thy words fond ware?
Then be they close, and so none shall displease.
What idler thing then speak and not be hard?
What harder thing then smart and not to speak?
Peace, foolish wit! with wit my wit is marr’d.
Thus write I, while I doubt to write, and wreak
My harms on ink’s poor loss. Perhaps some find
Stellas great pow’rs, that so confuse my mind.
Sonnet 34 of "Astrophel and Stella"
by Philip Sidney (1554-1586)
To continue with my not-so-daily posting of poetry, this was taken from an E-mail sent each day by Poetry Daily during April celebrating National Poetry Month. A contemporary poet selects a poem and then waxes forth on why.
Margret Rabb chose the poem above and says this, "As a quick review of all the reasons not to write, I find sonnet 34 of Philip Sidney’s Astrophel and Stella sequence nearly ideal. When Astrophel, the star lover, sets out to write – presumably of his love for Stella yet again – he begins instead to interrogate himself about the capacity of language to hold and convey his emotions – in effect, to question the whole enterprise. Ironically, as the doubts themselves are written and answered they become evidence of the power of words to create complex and double emotional states. Like love, then, language is shown to be mysteriously organic, its meaning not subject to strict control and lying outside the boundaries of one-to-one correspondences. This disease is published indeed."
She goes on. To get a poem complete with its' own exegesis in your email for the rest of April go here. There is also a daily prose feature.