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Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII

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Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII 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, Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, And often is his gold complexion dimm'd, And every fair from fair sometime declines, By chance or nature's changing course untrimm'd, But thy eternal summer shall not fade, Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest, Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest, So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee. ...read more.


The poet starts the sonnet by asking his lover the question 'Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?' comparing him to a summer's day in itself is a delectable plaudit but he then goes on to build upon the image of his lover as a perfect being by stating the faults of a summer's day compared to the beauty and excellence of his lover. He tells him of how the summer winds can be too rough and the weather can change quickly without warning compared with the temperate and calm nature of his lover. Shakespeare also tells how summer's end comes too soon and the sun can be too hot or go behind the clouds and all that is beautiful loses its beauty, by chance or by nature's planned out course. ...read more.


The poet' s only answer to such profound joy and beauty is to ensure that his lover be forever in human memory, saved from the ultimate oblivion that accompanies death. He achieves this through his verse, believing that, as history writes itself, his lover will become one with time as anyone who reads his words will build up their own picture of incredible beauty, therefore fashion and changing views will never mean that his lover's beauty will never die and his words will always bring across the beauty of his lover. The couplet reaffirms Shakespeare's hope that as long as there is breath in mankind, his poetry will too live on, and ensure the immortality of his lover's beauty. ...read more.

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