Sonnet 72

William Shakespeare
Sonnet 18

Shall I compare thee to a summer?s day? a
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: b
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, a
And summer?s lease hath all too short a date: b
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines c
And often is his gold complexion dimmed, d
And every fair from fair sometimes declines, c
By chance, or nature?s changing course, untrimmed; d
But thy eternal summer shall not fade, e
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow?st; f
Nor shall death brag thou wander?st in his shade, e
When in eternal lines to time thou grow?st: f
So long as man can breathe, or eyes can see, g
So long lives this and this gives life to thee g

3 Sentences:
1st sentence: line 1
2nd sentence: lines 2 - 8
3rd sentence: lines 9 - 14
This is a Shakespearean sonnet with no characteristics of a Petrarchan sonnet.

Temperate moderate
Darling very dear
Lease the term during which possession is guaranteed
Date the time during which something lasts
Complexion colour, visible aspect, appearance
To decline to diminish, decrease, deteriorate
Untrimmed not carefully or neatly arranged or attired
Fair beauty, fairness, good looks
Eternal infinite in past and future duration,
without beginning or end
To brag to declare or assert boastfully


Sonnet 18 by William Shakespeare is one of the sonnets that describe the outstanding beauty of an unspecified lover and time as a relentless ravisher with no mercy for anyone or anything. The only way to defy time is to become immortal in verse. The persona is the "I" in line 1 and he (Shakespeare himself?) is addressing a person (a him or a her) whom he adores.
The description of the beauty of the unknown lover is the central idae throughout the sonnet and the element of time makes its first appearance in line 4 where it says "And summer?s lease hath all too short a date". This signifies the limited time during which the positive qualities of summer are at their best. The beauty is described in the shape of an answer to the question posed in the first line: "Shall I compare thee to a summer?s day?" This question is only intended to introduce the subject, which is the beauty of the lover. It is not relevant if the poet does or does not compare him or her to a summer?s day. Of more importance is the result of this comparison.
What then is the result of the comparison? Already in line 2 it becomes clear that the object of admiration is preferred to the "summer?s day". The following lines (lines 3 to 8) present a number of negative qualities of summer. These can be reduced to two basic ideas which are joined in line 4: "And summer?s lease hath too short a date".
The first idea presented is the idea that the beauty of summer is not stable. Sometimes there are "Rough winds" (line 3), the sun may be too hot (line 5) or not bright enough (line 6). The lover is described as "more temperate" in line 2 and therefore less prone to vary between extremes.
The second basic idea is the idea that time ends everything. The notion of time is already present in line 1 in which the "summer?s day" is mentioned, the day being one of the measures of time. Then in line 7 it says that every beauty at one time or another is affected either by chance or by the change of season ("nature?s changing course" line 8), in this case the end of summer. The object of the persona?s adoration does not suffer from this finiteness. His "eternal summer?s day shall not fade", or, as described in line 10, his beauty will remain his forever and the personification of death in line 11 shall not be able to make him follow him into the realms of the dead.

This immunity from devouring time is accomplished by immortalisation in lines of verse. These lines will even make stronger and more beautiful as time proceeds, as line 12 points out. The use of the word "eternal" in this line as well as in line 9 ("eternal summer") contrasts sharply with the idea of finiteness attached to "a summer?s day" (line 1) and "every fair" (line 7). The immortalisation is continued in the final lines: life will be preserved by the readers of these verses in years and years to come.
The syntax and form in general work together. Most lines constitute a grammatical unity, there is no enjambment.