‘We thy Sydnean Psalmes shall celebrate’
Collaborative authorship, Sidney’s sister and the English devotional lyric
in Early modern women and the poem
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This chapter focuses on the pivotal role Mary Sidney played in the specific development of the English devotional lyric. It re-examines the terms in which John Donne praises 'thy Sydnean Psalmes' in 'Vpon the translation of the Psalmes by Sir Philip Sydney, and the Countesse of Pembroke his Sister'. In combining God's word, Mary Sidney's own words through translation and her brother's favourite sonnet form into an expression of communal praise, Mary Sidney's sonnet perhaps epitomises the truly collaborative nature of 'thy Sydnean Psalmes'. Calling upon his contemporaries specifically to celebrate 'thy Sydnean Psalmes', Donne's choice of syntactical rearrangement places the emphasis on the object and its possessors. Although Donne's poem has been curiously marginalised until relatively, its eloquent encapsulation of the essential problematic of early modern devotional poetics is remarkable.

Editor: Susan Wiseman


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