William Shakespeare (1564 -
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 bath all too short a date:
5 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 riot fade,
10 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.
1. What's your first impression after reading Shakespeare's sonnet?
2. Which two themes are presented in the above poem?
3. Describe the logical structure of the sonnet in question.
4. In what way is the beloved shown to be different from a summer's day? What are these differences based on?
3. How is time presented? Which words are related to it? Comment on the phrase "thy eternal summer" and on the type of eternity promised in
4. Find at least three stylistic devices and describe their function in the poem.
5. Give an overview of the history of the sonnet.
6. Compare Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 to Edmund Spenser's Sonnet 75.
One day I wrote her name upon the strand,
But came the waves and washed it away:
Again I wrote it with a second hand,
But came the tide, and made my pains his prey.
05 Vain man, said she, that doest in vain assay
A mortal thing so to immortalize,
For I myself shall like to this decay,
And eek my name be wiped out likewise.
Not so (quoth I), let baser things devise
10 To die in dust, but you shall live by fame:
My verse your virtues rare shall eternize,
And in the heavens write your glorious name.
Where whenas Death shall all the world subdue,
Out love shall live, and later life renew.
7. Describe the function of art in our time. Do you think the claim of the last two lines of Shakespeare's Sonnet 18 is still valid?