A to Z Challenge: Astrophel and Stella

Let me start by saying how much fun I’ve had researching for A to Z. I know Greek myth plays a huge role in our culture, but I didn’t understand how much. I’ve been blown away. And with my daily posts, I hope you’ll be blown away as well.

Today’s post is centered around a poem by Sir Philip Sydney entitled Astrophel and Stella.  I’d like to give you some background on the poem before I post it.The name derives from two Greek words, (aster) star, and (phil), and the Latin word (stella) meaning star. Astrophil, then, is the lover of stars, making Stella the star. Thus we have a love poem between the star and the lover of stars.

It is most true that eyes are formed to serve
   The inward light, and that the heavenly part
   Ought to be king, from whose rules who do swerve,
   Rebels to nature, strive for their own smart.
It is most true that what we call Cupid’s dart
   An image is which for ourselves we carve,
   And, fools, adore in the temple of our heart
   Till that good god make church and churchman starve.
True, that true beauty virtue is indeed,
   Whereof this beauty can be but a shade,
   Which elements with mortal mixture breed.
True, that on earth we are but pilgrims made,
   And should in soul up to our country move;
   True, and yet true that I must Stella love.

As for my personal interpretation, I believe Astrophel is attempting to come up with all the reasons he should not love Stella–his duty to God, to church, to his country. But in the end, with the line “I must love Stella” I believe we learn the true intentions of his heart. He must love Stella.

Love conquers all.

And that is all the explanation I will give. The rest I leave up to you, reader, and hope you will share in your comments what it means to you!


  1. Very pretty! I feel too that you can't control who you love Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. And eyes are ties so close to the heart sometimes, to keep my heart from aching over love/lust that can't be had I wish I was blind. Not literally but at least that my eyes were not tied so closely to my heart strings.

  2. Good theme.Beautiful poem. Yes, eyes for inward light and so should be ears for inner voice.

  3. Ah, the poet makes fun of his own human frailities as he recognizes the costs of loving Stella. I love that opening phrase . . . "the eyes are formed to served that inward light . . . " This poet can see and yet chooses Stella! Interesting theme for the A-Z month!

  4. Thanks for this beautiful poem!

  5. My niece's name is Stella. I shall be sending this link to her parents immediately. What a beautiful poem. Happy Blogging over these next thirty days!

  6. As Emily Dickinson said, "The heart wants what it wants or else it does not care." Good luck with the challenge!

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