Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day? by William Shakespeare

Sonnet XVIII: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day?

By William Shakespeare


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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, performed by Bertram Selwyn:

Here is a musical interpretation of the sonnet:

Sonnet 18 follows the English sonnet form, and is composed of three quatrains followed by a couplet, with the rhyme scheme: abab cdcd efef gg.

Quatrain: A poem or stanza consisting of four lines.
Couplet:  In poetry, a pair of rhyming lines often appearing at the end of a sonnet.

You may learn more about poetic form here, or read additional sonnets by John Milton and Elizabeth Barret Browning.

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