Tyrant or Temptress: Deciphering Meaning from Stella’s Sole Reply in Sir Philip Sidney’s Fourth Song

first gear published in 1591 but thought to be composed sometime during the previous ten, Sir Philip Sidney ’ sulfur Astrophil and Stella recounts the development of the relationship between the fabricated, nominal characters chiefly from young Astrophil ’ s point of view. Consisting of 110 sonnets and 11 songs, the English poet ’ randomness sonnet sequence begins with a love-struck Astrophil narrating both his motivations for writing the versatile pieces and his initial contend to begin translating his inner sentiments into poetic verse. The work goes on to document the transition of Astrophil ’ south newfound affections from awed admiration and dogged efforts at courting, to discouraged and contemptuous condescension for his former beloved, to hopeless resignation that he will constantly be plagued by his love for the beautiful Stella .
The turning point in the youthful lover ’ s switch from amative suitor to dejected knight bachelor occurs when he is last alone with Stella as depicted in “ Fourth Song. ” Unlike the clear majority of other works in this sequence where merely the fan is speaking, this birdcall is the inaugural in which the beloved is granted the ability to answer Astrophil ’ s numerous aggressive advances for herself. Despite being limited to a unmarried line, Stella ’ second response of “ No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee ” to each of Astrophil ’ s attempts to woo her provides imperative penetration into the character of the lovely Stella, arsenic well as the nature of her relationship with Astrophil ( “ Fourth Song ” 6 ) .
“ No, no, no, no, my Deare, let bee ”
Although Stella ’ sulfur abbreviated answer is typically read as the stern rejection of Astrophil ’ s many propositions and the concluding straw in his bootless pursuit of her, it can besides be viewed as a mannequin of coy flirt intended to prolong their innocent courtship. This possible interpretation of Stella ’ s alone line transforms her relationship with Astrophil from a unilateral and potentially predaceous avocation to a mutually enjoyable affair between evenly induct parties. Through both its encompassing context within the song and its own content, this lineage shifts the lector ’ s sensing of Stella from uninterested, modest, and cold-hearted to coquettish, enigmatic, and enticing, frankincense changing the tone of Sidney ’ south entire sonnet sequence.

anterior to Stella ’ s beginning utterance of speech, Sidney begins painting the photograph of her as complicit in their meet through Astrophil ’ s opening negotiation. The unseasoned lover ’ s reference book to his own “ whispering voyce ” highlights his awareness of the motivation for privacy in their confluence to avoid attracting undesirable attention ( “ Fourth Song ” 3 ). When examined on its own, this humble detail may seem to suggest Astrophil has somehow snuck up on an unsuspecting stella, but when considered in junction with his preceding claim of “ now here you are ” upon finding Stella, it can be inferred that this conversation is neither unanticipated nor a coincidence ( “ Fourth Song ” 1 ) .
The inclusion body of the bible “ immediately ” in Astrophil ’ s first base line gives the impression that he and Stella have been conspiring to meet alone for some time but have only precisely succeeded in doing indeed for the first prison term. The young lover ’ s continued description of Stella as “ suit to heare and ease [ his ] care ” indicates that she is expecting his arrival and prepared for the ensuing conversation preferably than baffled at his sudden appearance ( “ Fourth Song ” 2 ). By implying that the lovers ’ confidential meeting is the consequence of across-the-board planning and formulation, Sidney uses these brief speeches to rob Stella of her perceived naivete while simultaneously implicating her in the form of this prevent rendezvous before she has even spoken a single word
Sidney continues to refute the idea of Stella as the innocent and unintentional player in this brush with her manque suitor throughout the remainder of this birdcall. Astrophil ’ s affirmation that the two are conversing while “ Night hath closde all in her cloke ” further emphasizes their reciprocal desire for privacy and free will ( “ Fourth Song ” 7 ). Playing on the perception of iniquity as a position of likely mystery and trickery, Sidney characterizes this touch of fan and beloved as something close that must be shrouded in night and hide from others ’ horizon .
This estimate of their matter as forbid and need to be concealed is furthered by Astrophil ’ s assurance to Stella that the make noise she heard “ was but a shiner ” ( “ Fourth Song ” 25 ). The necessity of this hasty answer indicates that Stella exhibited edgy and anxious behavior in reaction to this unknown but harmless noise, a reaction indicative of her blameworthiness in this meet and subsequent fear of being discovered. Stella ’ south engagement is most blatant in Astrophil ’ s claim that her “ faire Mother is abed ” and under the impression that her apparently trustworthy daughter is “ writ ( ing ) letters ” ( “ Fourth Song ” 37,39 ) .
here, Astrophil identifies a here and now of dishonesty for which Stella is entirely responsible, as it is highly impossible that the male lover, without the aid of his beloved, could somehow convert Stella ’ s mother that she is composing epistles preferably than engaging in unsupervised conversation with a suitor—highly inappropriate behavior for a young charwoman during this time. In his many attempts to quell the fears of his beloved, the unseasoned Astrophil unwittingly highlights Stella ’ s proclivity for deception and willingness to break from social expectations to ensure the success of their try to meet .
The characterization of Stella as a coquettish and bequeath beloved is possibly best evidenced by the enunciation and syntax within her repeat response. Beginning with “ no, no, no, no, ” it is frequently assumed that Stella ’ second reply is a final examination and damning rejection of Astrophil ’ randomness actions, but when examined with the previously established image of Stella in mind, this string of negations can be read as encourage, seductive dally ( “ Fourth Song ” 6 ). In accord with the sensing of this cable as a rebuff to Astrophil, Stella ’ south words would be expected to become increasingly emphatic with each pass syllable ; however, these exclamations can just as well be read as becoming less emphatic and more playfully kittenish. As this fib is narrated chiefly by the young, male harmonize, it lacks any aim accounts of Stella ’ second actions, relying alternatively on his reactions to her demeanor to discern the emotional model surrounding this statement.

Based on both Stella ’ s panicked reception to the rustle of the aforesaid mouse and Astrophil ’ s readiness to quiet her fears in rate to return to whatever they were doing, the interpretation of these words as becoming increasingly less definitive and more suggestive gains both legitimacy and probability. furthermore, the fact that Stella ’ randomness reply remains “ no, no, no, no ” in the confront of Astrophil ’ s increasingly despairing and convert arguments highlights the static nature and implicit in helplessness of her expostulation. Despite its apparent ineffectiveness, Stella ’ s refusal to adapt or alter her answer is tell that she does not truly wish Astrophil to halt his advances but wishes to continue their screen exchange .
Any surviving semblance of rejection in Stella ’ s bowed stringed instrument of no ’ second is immediately undercut by the pillow of her reply. Stella ’ s inclusion of the phrase “ my Deare ” directly following her initial affirmation of rejection negates the credibility, severity, and finality of her refusal ( “ Fourth Song ” 6 ). By referring to Astrophil using this universal term of endearment, Stella reveals that she possesses positive feelings of affection for her electric potential suitor. This is farther evidenced by her use of the first-person genitive pronoun “ my ” to denote her close relationship with Astrophil. Without this addition, Stella ’ south use of “ Deare ” could possibly be construed as a gossip on Astrophil ’ s overall good quite than an admission of her love for him, but Sidney ’ s attention to detail in this moment ensures that the young maiden over ’ south flirty nature and desires for Astrophil are apparent ( “ Fourth Song 6 ). When combined with the cognition of Stella ’ randomness character in facilitating their secret meet, the consumption of this apparently insignificant pronoun and darling list can be viewed as indicative of some fundamental history of flirt and reciprocal substitute of ardent sentiments between the two youthful lovers that has led them to the conversation documented in this song .
similarly, the appearance of the ambiguous phrase “ lashkar-e-taiba bee ” at the close of her contract calls into question the result that Stella desires ( “ Fourth Song ” 6 ). If she were indeed rebutting her lover ’ mho propositions, it seems coherent for the discussion “ me ” to appear in the middle of this phrase to signify Stella ’ s longing to be free of Astrophil ’ sulfur advances. however, the omission of any bible to indicate what Stella wishes to be left entirely allows for this control to be read as an imperative mood concerning their current situation rather than Stella herself. This understand casts Stella as the agonizing, coquettish tease by implying that she relishes being the object of Astrophil ’ mho undivided attention and works to prolong their coquettish exchange without any purpose of ever fulfilling Astrophil ’ s animal desires .
Her refusal to bring the site to a culminate by either allowing their relationship to become forcible or ending Astrophil ’ mho futile avocation of her prompts Stella to imprison Astrophil in a apparently endless and thwart class of sexual oblivion. By simultaneously leading him on and promptly commanding him to leave their disappointing and disruptive relationship as it is, Stella manipulates Astrophil ’ s affections to suit her own personal pleasure with no respect for how this affects the unseasoned fan .
Despite limiting her to a single trace, Sidney makes clear through both the besiege circumstances and his cautiously crafted wording that Stella is adenine invested as Astrophil in this brief confrontation and the duration of their relationship. Unlike Astrophil, however, Stella ’ second motivations appear to be self-serving, causing her to exploit the male youth ’ s earnest affections to serve her own purposes. By contrasting the tell that Stella, motivated by love, has gone to immense perturb to arrange and assure the secrecy of this confluence with the egoistic and manipulative qualities of her manner of speaking, the poet seems to provide a entail of justification for Astrophil ’ s fire on Stella ’ s character and denunciation of his love introduce in “ Fifth Song. ”

Through his practice of both direct and collateral portrayal, Sidney creates an image of Stella as the count, kittenish vixen that alters the readers ’ initial percept of her and allows them to sympathize with Astrophil, thereby shifting their understand of this sonnet sequence from centering around a young woman infinitely pursued by a love-crazed man, to the fib of a smitten lover whose feelings are continually toyed with for the amusement of his beloved .

Table of Contents


Sidney, Sir Phillip. “ Fourth Song. ” Astrophel and Stella, edited by Will Jonson, CreateSpace. Independent Publishing Platform, 2014, 62-64. print .

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