What is the explanation of Sonnet 31 & 75 by Sir Philip Sidney?

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amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sidney's sonnets 31 and 75 are part of a story entitled Astrophil and Stella. 


The moon looks sad and pale as it climbs up into the sky.  Is it possible that Cupid shoots his arrows even up in the sky?  Absolutely!  I can feel the lover's case and read it in your looks. Your state looks to me like you're in pain of it.

Because we know each other's pain, tell me, Moon, is it the same to be in love where you are as here where constant pain of love dulls one's brain and the ladies are proud?

Do the ladies there want to be loved yet spurn those who fall for them? Do ladies there call virtue ungratefulness?

The translated lines above explain the feelings of a man in love whose love is not returned.  He feels a connection to the moon whom he says also looks to be suffering from unrequited love.


Of all kings who ever reigned, Edward IV is the greatest. Not because of his looks or intellect or fame.

Not because of his wisdom or valiance, his inheritance of lands conquered by his father in war.


Nor that he intimidates France

Not because of anything except that he would rather lose his crown than fail his love.

The sonnet is written to admire Edward IV for his devotion to his love--could be a woman or it might be love for his country.