Shakespeare Love Sonnets: Shakespeare is a name that is remembered and celebrated among the prominent authors in the English language. This classic author has had a significant impact on the history of language. Shakespeare’s sonnets are considered to be some of the best romantic poems that have ever been penned down.
Shakespeare has composed a total of 154 sonnets. All of these 154 sonnets are such fine works that, to date, the budding authors draw inspiration from them. Traditional Shakespeare sonnets have a class of their own and were written in a particular style.
Each sonnet that Shakespeare wrote had 14 lines, each divided into three quatrains/ it also had a rhyming couplet. The sonnets were written in iambic pentameter. These sonnets had multiple layers and dwelled into the themes of love, at times dedication, and even obsession many times.
Students can also check the English Summary to revise with them during exam preparation.
Here we have presented ten among those notable love sonnets written by Shakespeare:
Sonnet 1 – From Fairest Creatures, We Desire Increase
It is the first of all the 154 sonnets ever written by Shakespeare, published in the year 1609. It stands out owing to its mastery in structure and language and also the use of metaphors and motif. It has been dedicated to ‘Fair Youth.’
In this sonnet, the poet urges the young man to stop the precious time on useless things like himself. He wants the young man to start with the job of procreating. He encourages the young man to become more fruitful, and in this process, he also introduces the idea of pride and selfishness.
He explains to the young man that his children continue the beauty of a parent. The poet urges the young man to willingly provide his own beauty to a child to continue after his death.
Sonnet 18 – Shall I Compare Thee To A Summer’s Day?
This sonnet is one of the most well-known among all the works of Shakespeare. It is loved the most. The language of this sonnet is straightforward, and so is the intent. This sonnet’s theme is the stability of love and the power of love to immortalize a subject.
The poet has described the ‘Fair Youth’ as something even better than the best of summers. He also says that summer is temporary, which does not last for long. But the beauty of the youth will last. The youth’s beauty is similar to ‘eternal summer,’ which will remain immortalized through poetry.
Sonnet 20 – A Woman’s Face, With Nature’s Own Hand-Painted
In this sonnet, Shakespeare has explored the boundaries that exist between males and females. It is one of the more radical verses that Shakespeare has drafted. Even this poem focuses on ‘Fair Youth.’
Reading through the poem explains that the poet is describing the physique of a man. But the man has a feminine charm which is attractive to both males and females. The poet is in awe of the person he is describing in the poem.
He explains that this person’s beauty is so fulfilling that there is no need for it to change. The poet appreciates that the cheating intentions of this person are less than that of a woman.
Sonnet 29 – When in Disgrace With Fortune And Men’s Eyes
Shakespeare’s verse has laid focus on the poet’s depression, unhappiness with life, and hopelessness. Gradually, the poem moves to the poet’s subsequent recovery when he dwells on the happier thoughts of love and affection.
The initial lines of this sonnet are full of negative impressions of the poet. They talk of his self-pity and self-loathing. On the contrary, the sonnet’s final lines bring on positive notes about how love has helped to drive away from the depression.
In this sonnet, Shakespeare has spoken to those who talk and think ill of themselves. He explains to those people that they need not feel inferior, and they can easily overcome the dark and hateful feelings if they can think of someone they love and hold dear.
Sonnet 65 – Since Brass, Nor Stone, Nor Earth, Nor Boundless Sea
Shakespeare’s sonnet focuses on the central idea that beauty, no matter how long-lasting it is, fails to surpass time. He explains through the objects like brass, earth, stone, which are incredibly long-lasting, yet cannot retain their beauty for long.
He explains that beauty is as soft and delicate as a flower. So when the hardest things like stone or brass fail to escape from death, how can beauty flee from it? In this sonnet, Shakespeare has tried to address the concept of the impossibility of time resistance.
Sonnet 98 – From You Have I Been Absent In The Spring
In this sonnet, the poet has spoken about how he cannot enjoy the lovely season of spring due to the absence of his beloved. He accepts that the days of spring have been stunning. Saturn, who is a highly gloomy god, had been playing with the month of April.
However, no matter how good the days looked, the poet never felt the urge to go out to enjoy the beauty. He never felt amazed by the loveliness of the lilies, nor he felt the willingness to praise the roses’ beauty. The separation between him and his beloved made the lovely days seem like winter cold to him.
Sonnet 104 – To Me, Fair Friend, You Never Can Be Old
The central theme of this sonnet is the nature of change. He pens his thought that ‘Fair Youth’ might also be affected by the laws of nature and may be subjected to change. However, according to the speaker, the ‘Fair Youth’ seems to have not changed the least even after three long years.
The poet says that the ‘Fair Youth’ is still fresh as he was during their first meet. But the poet also knows very well that if not today, age and time will surely catch up to the ‘Fair Youth” in the near future. As of now, he explains that change has been prolonged and thus has been negligible to his eyes.
Sonnet 116 – Let Me Not To The Marriage Of True Minds
The theme of this sonnet is that true love never alters, no matter the time. In the initial lines, the poet explains what love is not. Shakespeare says that whatever explanation of love he has given, if proven false, then his work is futile in the sonnet’s final lines.
He explains that love never changes. Even if the circumstances change, love does not. Unlike beauty, which fades away with time, love remains like a fixed star and also gives directions if someone loses their way. He explains that if his audience fails to believe in him, then his words will be useless.
Sonnet 129 – The expense of spirit in a waste of shame.
Desperation, male anguish, and feelings of lust are the main themes of this sonnet. It provides an insight into the passion for females of the males. This sonnet is a symbolism of the past longing and the future as well.
He explains that lust and its actions are shameful. It can be a temporary enjoyment yet cannot be continued after the immediate chase is over. The poet describes that if this road is followed, the final results will be guilt and sadness and nothing else.
Sonnet 130 – My Mistress’ Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun
It is a satirical sonnet that focuses on comparing the poet’s lover to other beautiful things of nature. However, these comparisons are not in favor of the lover, as he compares the lips of his lover to something less than the redness of a coral.
Although he builds a negative impression of his lover’s beauty throughout the sonnet, yet in the couplet, he brings a twist. He tells in the final lines that it doesn’t matter that his lover isn’t gorgeous. Having lesser beauty never makes them inferior or unlovable.