Study Guide

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies! Man and the Natural World

By Sir Philip Sidney

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Man and the Natural World

With how sad steps, O Moon, thou climb'st the skies!
How silently, and with how wan a face! (1-2)

The personification here makes the Moon seem like a person, like one of Astrophel's pals even. Here, at the very beginning, Astrophel starts to forge an identity between himself and nature.

I read it in thy looks; thy languisht grace
To me that feel the like, thy state descries. (7-8)

The identity between the moon and Astrophel is made really clear here: the Moon and Astrophel experience the same feelings.

Then, even of fellowship, O Moon, tell me,
Is constant love deemed there but want of wit?
Are beauties there as proud as here they be? (9-11)

"Fellowship" makes us think of the bond between the Moon and the speaker. However, the repetition of "there" reminds us that, despite the apparent similarities between Astrophel and the Moon, they inhabit different worlds, a "here" and a "there."

Do they above love to be loved, and yet
Those lovers scorn whom that love doth possess? (12-13)

The repetition of words ("love," "loved," "lovers") and sounds (look at all those O's) is pretty neat. The sameness of sound in these lines imitates, mimics, or reflects the sameness between the moon and Astrophel. Pretty neat, eh?

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