1810
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On the divine and never-ending Memory of Sir Philip Sidney.

The Defense of Poesy. [Philip Sidney, ed. Edward Thurlow.]

Edward Thurlow


One of seven Spenserian sonnets. Edward Thurlow was the first poet to cultivate the Spenserian sonnet since Thomas Edwards revived the sonnet form half a century before.

Anti-Jacobin Review: "The verses prefixed to the Defence of English Poetry, consist of eight panegyrics in rhyme, in the form of sonnets, (that is, consisting of fourteen lines each) to different distinguished personages; and a thing called, we know not why, 'A Song to Sir Philip Sidney.' It is not usual to sing to the dead, but the privileged muse of a lord, claims, we suppose, exemption from the common rules of propriety, which less dignified bards are compelled to observe" 45 (1813) 61-62.

Lord Byron, Journal, 1813: "Poor Thurlow is gone wild about the poetry of Queen Bess's reign — c'est dommage" Letters and Journals, ed. Rowland E. Prothero (1898-1901) 2:344.

Samuel Rogers: "I like Lord Thurlow's verses on Sidney" Table Talk (1856) 279.

Robert Shelton Mackenzie: "This is Lord Thurlow, whose volume of middling rhymes, in 1813, so much excited the ridicule of Byron, that he perpetrated some satires on them, which are to be found in his poems, and place some of Thurlow's lines, therein quoted, in a situation akin to that of flies in amber" Noctes Ambrosianae, ed. Mackenzie (1854) 1:224n.

Charlotte Smith also wrote a sonnet on the subject of Sidney and Penshurst, "Ye towers sublime, deserted now and mute...." as did Samuel Egerton Brydges, "Behold thy triumphs, Time!...."



Yet shall thy name be to all ages dear,
Beyond the sweetness of the balmy spring,
Or the soft notes that take the list'ning ear,
When in love's prime the nightingale doth sing;
The balm of woe, the rest from sorrowing,
The theme of pity, and the tongue of love,
Which never time shall to contemplation bring,
But in its sweetness still more dear shall prove;
That the pale moon, and the pure stars above
Shall stay their spheres with musick of thy praise,
The whiles the shepherds sing, as doth behove,
The triumph of Arcadia's blissful days,
And their shrill pipes to wood and fountain tell
The virtues of lamented Astrophel.

[(1812) p. 4]