Epilogue: “Curious Networks” and Lost Sons

  • Elizabeth Mazzola


What else can be said about a thirty-one-year-old poet who died? Much of the poetry written subsequent to Philip Sidney’s death—what we commonly describe as the English literary tradition—wrestles with this problem. Edmund Spenser’s efforts are instructive, for he sometimes construes Sidney as a father figure, at other times as lost son. In Muiopotmos, a short fable published in the 1591 volume of Complaints, Spenser transforms his dead mentor Sidney into a gorgeous insect:

Of all the race of silver-winged Flies

Which doo possesse the Empire of the aire,

Betwixt the centred earth, and azure skies,

Was none more favourable, nor more faire

Whilst heaven did favour his felicities,

Then Clarion, the oldest sonne and haire

Of Muscaroll, and in his fathers sight

Of all alive did seeme the fairest wight. (ll. 17–24)1


Father Figure Literary Legacy Implied Reader Wild Thyme Heroic Myth 
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© Elizabeth Mazzola 2003

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  • Elizabeth Mazzola

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