Robert Sidney/Sonnet 25

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Sonnet 25 (“Yow that take pleasure in yowr cruelty...” / “You that take pleasure in your cruelty...” ...)
автор Robert Sidney (1563—1626)
Original text:

Sonnet 25

Yow that take pleasure in yowr cruelty,
and place yowr health in my infections:
yow that add sorrowes to afflictions
[and Triumphs leade in my captiuity]
and thinck yowr wealth shines in my poverty

Since that there is all inequality
between my wants and yowr perfections
between yowr scorns and my affections
between my bands and yowr soueranity

O loue yowr self: be yow yowrself yowr care:
Ioy in those acts, in which yowr making stood;
Fayre, lovely, good: of these [composed] made, these yow are:
Pity is fayre, grace louely, mercy good.

And when [hauen] Sunn like, yow in yowrself yow show
let mee the point bee, about which yow goe.


Contemporary text:

Sonnet 25

You that take pleasure in your cruelty
And place your health in my infections,
You that add sorrows to afflictions
And think your wealth shines in my poverty,

Since that there is all inequality
Between my wants and your perfections,
Between your scorns and my affections,
Between my bands and your sov’ranity—

O love yourself: be you yourself your care:
Joy in those acts, in which your making stood:
Fair, lovely, good — of these made, these you are;
Pity is fair, grace lovely, mercy good.

And when sun-like, you in yourself you show,
Let me the point be about which you go.



The Sonnet 25 is witty exercise modelled on the Neoplatonism expounded by Ficino, and cannot be properly understood unless its intellectual background is recognised. The idea of the beloved as a type of reflection of the deity implicit in the second quatrain’s stressing of her perfections and her sovereignty, is more esoterically developed in the sestet, which alludes to Fincho’s teaching that it was divine power’s wish to propagate its own perfection—a kind of love for itself—which created the universe. The entreaty to the beloved in the sestet’s first line:

O love yourself: be you yourself your care

Directly echoes Spenser’s line, itself echoing Fincho, describing how the ‘high eternal power’ begot the universe:

It loves itself, because itself was fair (An Hymne of Heavenly Love, line 29, publ. 1596)

The term acts in line 10 od Robert’s sonnet is adopted straight from Ficino, where actus is the term used for the divine power as manifested in creation...

The sonnet’s final couplet involves the familiar comparison of the beloved to the sun and thus gives a fresh turn to the continued idea of her as a reflection of the divine creator, and the same paragraph of Ficino’s Commentary must have prompted Robert here too.

The astronomical image in this final couplet emphasises once more the vast distance between bellowed and lover, for the lover calls himself a point (Latin punctum) in just same sense as Milton’s Adam calls the earth ‘this punctual spot’ when he views it in relation to the whole Universe (Paradise Lost, VIII. 23).

См. также / See also