A young man in love is useless. An old man, in marriage to his beloved, knows that the contemplation of her eyes and attending his gaze on her is not being useless, but of great value.
It is far better to preserve the family than seek great ambition. Our Kings and Rulers will sacrifice our families.
The truth is that Stella chose another, for the sake of State, and ambition, and status. But I think she thought Sydney was a soyboy.
The curious wits, seeing dull pensiuenesse
Bewray it self in my long-settl’d eies
Whence those same fumes of melancholy rise,
With idle paines and missing ayme do guesse.
Some, that know how my spring I did addresse,
Deem that my Muse some fruit of knowledge plies;
Others, because the prince my seruice tries,
Thinke that I think State errours to redress:
But harder iudges iudge ambitions rage:
Scourge of itselfe, still climbing slipperie place:
Holds my young brain captiu’d in golden cage.
O fooles, or ouer-wise. alas, the race
Of all my thoughts hath neither stop nor start
But only Stellaes eyes and Stellaes heart.
Sir Philip Sydney
But, Sydney knew that he had to serve his prince — be it Elizabeth or James — and that he could not contemplate Stella. She chose another. He is left in melancholy. And the cure for that is duty.
Which, to his credit, he did.