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 loose 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.
Reference:- These lines have been taken from Shakespeare’s sonnets 18, it is best known and most well- loved sonnet of all 154 sonnets. It is also one of the most straightforward in language and intent. The theme of the poem is based on stability of love and its power to immortalize the subject of the poet’s verse.
Context:- In the sonnet, Shakespeare starts the praise of his dear friend without ostentation, but he slowly builds the image of his friend into that of a perfect being. His friend is first compared to summer in the octave, but at the start of the third quatrain (line 9), he refers to summer and thus, he has metamorphosed into the standard by which true beauty can and should be judged.
The poet’s only answer to such profound joy and beauty to ensure that his friend be forever in human memory, saved from oblivion that accompanies to death. He achieves this through is verse, believing that, as history writes itself, his friend will become one with time. The final couplet reaffirms the poet’s hope that as long as there is breath in mankind, his poetry too will live on, and ensure the immortality of his muse.
Critical Comments:- Shakespeare in his sonnet, describes that interestingly, not everyone is willing to accept the role of sonnet 18 as the ultimate English love poem. But according to James Boyd white, this ‘love poem’ is actually written not in praise of the beloved, as it seems, but in praise of itself.
Death shall not brag, says the poet; the poet shall brag. This famous sonnet is on the this view one long exercise in self- glorification, not a love poem at all; surely not suitable for earnest recitation at a wedding or anniversary party, or in a valentine.
Shakespeare’s sonnet follows the pattern ABABCDCD, whereas the poem is in verse form and has fourteen lines of iambic pentametre.