Monday, July 8, 2013

Monday Poetry: Shakespearean Sonnet #18

I know I am skipping ahead.  My original intention was to go through each of Shakespeare's sonnets in a row.  But sonnets 1-17 are all about trying convince a young man to procreate.  I don't know about you, but 17 sonnets on that subject are a bit much.

He could have convinced me in 12.

Anyway, flash forward to Sonnet #18.  It is one of the most famous.  And it is a notable shift from the previous ones.  In all the preceding sonnets, Shakespeare tries to convince the subject that age and death will destroy his beauty.  This one points to a beauty that death cannot touch.

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.

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