Is this from Shakespeare? "Fear is more pain than is the pain it fears"?

iamstella | Student

Dear littlemabel, your question is very interesting.  I was also checking the quote as I was reading Rainbow Valley, so thatns to lit24 for the reference.  It's even more interesting as earlier in the book, Mr Meredith is thinking of the quote "continual comfort in a face" - which he attributes to Sidney, when it is in fact from Spenser!  So either we are to think "ah, poor Meredith, too vague to get his sources right", or Lucy Maude didn't check her sources!  As they are rather obscure poems, I tend to think it's the latter!!  I must check some of her others.  For example, in Anne of Windy Willows she calls the hill "Storm King - the ruling passion etc".  I can't put my finger on the source of that, can you?


littlemabel | Student

Dear lit24, thank you very much for your answer. I asked because of this passage in L. M. Montgomery's "Rainbow Valley":

'Fear is more pain than is the pain it fears.' Do you know who wrote that, Walter? It was Shakespeare. Was there any feeling or emotion or experience of the human heart that that wonderful man did not know? 

Do you think Mrs. Montgomery didn't know the author of the maxim or she simply wanted to show that her hero (Mr. Meredith, a pastor) didn't know it?

lit24 | Student

The line is from one of Sir Philip Sidney's sonnets in "Arcadia" which deals with man's fear of death. "Arcadia" itself is a long pastoral romance which exists in two versions, 1590 and 1593.

The two princes, the heroes of "Arcadia," Pyrocles and Musidorus on the eve of their anticipated execution debate whether the departed human soul retains memories of its earthly existence, then Musidorus "looking with a heavenly joy upon Pyrocles sang this song unto him." The line "Fear is more pain than is the pain it fears," occurs in this sonnet.

Conventionally, this type of a sonnet would be labelled as a 'moriturus' lyric - a song sung by a person on his deathbed or just before he dies. It is rumoured that King Charles I quoted lines from Sidney's "Arcadia" just before he was executed.

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