Sonnet 18; Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer’s Day
There was this joke going around the internet that my cousin sent me, ‘if he writes her a few sonnets, he loves her. If he writes her 200 sonnets, he loves sonnets.” I think Shakespeare loved both. And he is very right to, thankfully for us.
Ever since I first read this one specifically, it’s always been stuck in my head. I would want to start off by explaining it but that could make it so boring for you, so I won’t. Let’s just talk about why it’s so beautiful. He starts off by kind of rhetorically asking whether he should compare her to a summer’s day. Then he starts talking about all the reasons she is incomparable to a summer’s day. He says that she is more lovely and moderate, that winds can ruin the beauty of flowers, and that summer sometimes does not last long enough. He tells her that sometimes the sun is too hot and that sometimes it is hidden by clouds, that beauty fades away, because of life or simply because of the passing of time. But her, her eternal summer does not fade away. Nor does her beauty fade away, nor shall death ever be able to brag that it’s taken her and her beauty away from life. Because her beauty does not only exist for now, it exists eternally in the lines he’s written about her. He says that as long as people are alive, or eyes can see, so long as this poem is still in existence, it will give life to her and her beauty. How beautiful is that? I guess I did end up explaining the whole sonnet, but I couldn’t help it. Explaining it is part of its beauty I suppose. I think part of the appeal is that it really shows the power of words, because what he says is so true. This was written around 1608 and well 400 years later it still stands, and her beauty does in fact still live in those lines. Shows you that words really are eternal.