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Sonnet 18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?" - William Shakespeare

Book describing Sonnet 18: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?" by William Shakespeare

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.

"Sonnet 18" by William Shakespeare is a classic example of the sonnet form, which was very popular in the 16th and 17th centuries. The poem is part of Shakespeare's collection of 154 sonnets, which were published in 1609. "Sonnet 18" is one of the most famous and well-loved sonnets of all time, and is often studied in English classes, including the IB English exams.

In this sonnet, Shakespeare explores the theme of beauty and time. The poem is written in iambic pentameter, with each line consisting of ten syllables in a specific rhythm. Shakespeare's use of language in this poem is striking and memorable, making it a perfect example of the power of poetry to convey complex emotions and ideas in a concise and elegant way.

The poem begins by asking whether the speaker's beloved will ever live on through the pages of poetry. Shakespeare then goes on to describe the beauty of his beloved in a series of metaphors, comparing him to the summer's day and to a bright and shining star. The speaker argues that his beloved is far more beautiful than anything that nature has to offer, and that she will never fade or die.

However, Shakespeare also acknowledges that time is a cruel and unstoppable force that eventually consumes all things, and that even the most beautiful of things will eventually pass away. In the final lines of the poem, Shakespeare asserts that his words will ensure that his beloved will live on forever, as long as people continue to read and appreciate his poetry.

"Sonnet 18" is a powerful and moving poem that speaks to the timeless themes of beauty, time, and the power of art to preserve and celebrate the things we love. Whether you're studying for the IB English exam, or simply appreciate great poetry, this sonnet is a must-read.


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