Shakespearean sonnets on love

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?

William Shakespeare needs no introduction
  • William Shakespeare needs no introduction

Sonnet 17

  • Who will believe my verse in time to come,
  • If it were filled with your most high deserts?
  • Though yet heaven knows it is but as a tomb
  • Which hides your life, and shows not half your parts.
  • If I could write the beauty of your eyes,
  • And in fresh numbers number all your graces,
  • The age to come would say ‘This poet lies;
  • Such heavenly touches ne’er touched earthly faces.’
  • So should my papers, yellowed with their age,
  • Be scorned, like old men of less truth than tongue,
  • And your true rights be termed a poet’s rage
  • And stretched metre of an antique song:
  •    But were some child of yours alive that time,
  •    You should live twice, in it, and in my rhyme.

Sonnet 18

  • Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
  • Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
  • Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
  • And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
  • Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
  • And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
  • And every fair from fair sometime declines,
  • By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
  • But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
  • Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
  • Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
  • When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st,
  •    So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
  •    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

William Shakespeare (1564–1616) needs no introduction on a poetry page. The general reading public usually demonstrates an increased interest in his work, especially his sonnets on love, around Valentine’s Day. This year, devotees to his life and work will be commemorating the 400th anniversary of his death on April 23.

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