Sonnet 18

This is Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18, and parts of it have featured in these Notes once before – in a comment on how unpredictable the weather in the month of May can be. Seeing the whole sonnet as set out here reveals that it’s not about the weather (or the Summer) at all, but about love, and poetry. Who will you recite it to?

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 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 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.

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