- Slides: 14
Sir Philip Sidney Come, Sleep, O Sleep
• The sequence, which like all Renaissance sequences is not a realistic autobiography, is about a man, Astrophil who is attracted to and in pursuit of a married woman, called Stella. On stealing a first kiss from Stella whilst she is asleep the male protagonist worries about her reaction lest she should find out, but later on chides himself for not taking advantage of the situation. He then goes on to recount how he is filled with hopes one minute and despair the next, whilst trying in vain to pursue her. In constantly being refused, he feels angered and offends her but does not wait too long before trying to seduce her yet again. After a few more refusals he is moved to desperation, evoking his misery in the last few sonnets. • http: //www. literature-studyonline. com/essays/astrophil_and_stella. html
Sir Philip Sidney Sleep • COME, Sleep; O Sleep! the certain knot of peace, The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe, The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release, Th' indifferent judge between the high and low; With shield of proof shield me from out the prease Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw: O make in me those civil wars to cease; I will good tribute pay, if thou do so. Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed, A chamber deaf to noise and blind of light, A rosy garland a weary head; And if these things, as being thine by right, Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me, Livelier than elsewhere, Stella's image see.
vocabulary knot of peace: the bond of peace baiting-place of wit: snare for mental powers Balm: any substance which relieves pain Indifferent: impartial Press: pressure – prease : crowd Darts: arrows civil wars: conflict in his own mind which keeps him awake • Grace: kindness • •
summary • This is one of the best poems on Sleep in English. Sleep is pictured as a great liberator, something that brings peace, releases man, temporarily at least, from all worry and despair, abolishes the difference between the rich and the poor and soothes grief-stricken hearts. The poet tries to tempt sleep with various kind of bait, a quiet, darkened room and a soft bed and pillows. If theses gifts do not attract it, he has something better in his gift, the image of Stella in his heart.
language • • • 39. Sidney personifies sleep and begins to have a conversation with it. He prays that Sleep will come and release him from his current misery. Only when he is asleep is he able to ease his suffering and stem the civil war that is waging between his heart and his head, between his love and his reason. He wonders what price he must pay in order to convince the god of Sleep to come to him, and he promises a "good tribute. " Smooth pillows, a comfortable bed, and a dark, quiet room are all that he desires, if only he can persuade Sleep to come. Finally, Sidney comes up with a way to convince Sleep to come to him. When he is asleep, he argues, the image of Stella will appear in his dreams, and Sleep will be able to watch. This is the greatest tribute that he can pay. Analysis: This is an example of a sonnet in which Sidney's persona talks to an entity other than Stella. In addition to "Sleep, " Sidney also directs his speeches to the allegorical "Reason, " "Love, " "Queen Virtue, " "Patience, " "Desire, " and more. In literature and rhetoric, this act of addressing something that is not a person is referred to as "apostrophe. " The irony in this sonnet is very interesting. Sidney begs for Sleep to come and rescue him from his love and suffering for Stella. Yet, at the same time, an image of Stella will automatically come to his head while he is asleep. Whether he is asleep or awake, Stella is always in his mind. He prefers the Stella in his dreams because he does not have to face the reality that she is not his own. http: //www. gradesaver. com/astrophil-and-stella/study-guide/section 2/
language • It is clear that the speaker is tired. He feels that he is a prisoner to his insomnia, sleeplessness, and seeks relief from it. • He uses words like "peace, " "smooth, " and "sweetest. " However, it is the more negative of the two in the way that the speaker laments his insomnia. He describes himself as a "prisoner" being assailed by "despair" (lines 3 and 6). • Again saying that sleep shields him from sorrow and the pains of life (darts Despair throws) -- he is "humanizing" Despair, by the capital D.