Mary Sidney Herbert

Inspired By: It was after Mary wed Henry Herbert that she really focused on her love for literature and other arts. Some of the people that Mary associated herself with, and who are credited as being Mary's inspirations, include: Edmund Spenser, Michael Drayton, Sir John Davies, and Samuel Daniel.

Inspiration For: Mary was not only inspired by others but she also was the inspiration for not only others but also others works. Mary's completion of her brother's pslams inspired many of the great 17th century poets, including George Herbert and John Donne. It is also said that not only Mary's works but Sir Philip Sidney's works were influences for the Shakesperean plays. I also think it's safe to assume that Mary was an inspiration for all woman during her time. Mary was committed to her works and was not afraid to push limits. For example, Mary was the first woman to publish a play in English, the first woman to publish original dramatic verse and also the first woman to not apologize for simply publishing her work. In many ways Mary is an inspiration for women of today's day and age.

Works and Accomplishments

1952 - A Discourse of Life and Death
- The Tragedie of Antonie
1595 - The Dolefull Lay of Clorinda
- Antonius
1602 - A Dialogue Between Two Shepherds, Thenot and Piers
1590‘s - The Psalms
- The Triumph of Death
- Even Now That Care
- To the Angel Spirit of the Most Excellent Sir Phillip Sidney

Psalm 150 Mary Sidney Version

Oh, laud the Lord, the God of hosts commend,
Exalt his pow'r, advance his holiness:
With all your might lift his almightiness;
Your greatest praise upon his greatness spend.

Make trumpet's noise in shrillest notes ascend;
Make lute and lyre his loved fame express:
Him let the pipe, him let the tabret bless,
Him organs' breath, that winds or waters lend.

Let ringing timbrels so his honour sound,
Let sounding cymbals so his glory ring,
That in their tunes such melody be found,
As fits the pomp of most triumphant king.

Conclude: by all that air or life enfold,
Let high Jehovah highly be extolled.

King James Version

The Holy Bible: King James Version. 2000.
The Psalms

A Call to Praise God with Musical Instruments
Praise ye the LORD.
Praise God in his sanctuary:
praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him for his mighty acts:
praise him according to his excellent greatness.
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet:
praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance:
praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
Praise him upon the loud cymbals:
praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.
Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD.
Praise ye the LORD.

Link about the translations and the influence of MSH: 181.extract

Miscellaneous Information

Mary has been likened to Sappho, the well-known female poet of antiquity.
Sappho was born in the 700s BCE on Lesbos to an aristocratic family. She was the central figure of a close-knit group of women in a literary gathering. Sappho held strong feminine values and could see both herself and others clearly thus making her voice heard and well-known. Like Sappho, Mary looked inward at her own feelings and saw Aphrodite as a central figure in their works. A quote in reference to Sappho can be used to portray Mary Sidney as well, “Someone will remember us...even in another time”.

Key Words in Mary Sidney’s Works

Petrarch - (1304–74), Italian poet Francesco Petrarca. His reputation is chiefly based on the Canzoniere ( c. 1351–53), a sonnet sequence in praise of a woman he calls Laura. He was also an important figure in the rediscovery of Greek and Latin literature.

Neoplatonism - a philosophical and religious system developed by the followers of Plotinus in the 3rd century ad.
- a system of philosophical and theological doctrines composed of elements of Platonism and Aristotelianism and oriental mysticism; its most distinctive doctrine holds that the first principle and source of reality transcends being and thought and is naturally unknowable
- "Neoplatonism was predominant in pagan Europe until the 6th century"; "Neoplatonism was a major influence on early Christian writers and on later medieval and Renaissance thought and on Islamic philosophy"

The World Soul (Sub-category of Neoplatonism)
(Taken from Wikipedia)
The image and product of the motionless nous is the world-soul, which, according to Plotinus, is immaterial like the nous. Its relation to the nous is the same as that of the nous to the One. It stands between the nous and the phenomenal world, is permeated and illuminated by the former, but is also in contact with the latter. The nous is indivisible; the world-soul may preserve its unity and remain in the nous, but at the same time it has the power of uniting with the corporeal world and thus being disintegrated. It therefore occupies an intermediate position. As a single world-soul it belongs in essence and destination to the intelligible world; but it also embraces innumerable individual souls; and these can either submit to be ruled by the nous, or turn aside from the intellect and choose the sensual and lose themselves in the finite.


The Triumph of Death


The Triumph of Chastity