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Shakespeare's sonnets require time and effort to appreciate. Understanding the many meanings of the lines, the sharp references, the brilliance of the images and the sound, rhythm and structure of the verse requires attention and experience. The reward is plentiful because few writers have ever approached the richness of Shakespeare's prose and poetry.

"Sonnet XVIII" is also known as "Should I compare you to a summer day?" It was written around 1599 and published with over 150 other sonnets in 1609 by Thomas Thorpe.

The first 126 sonets are written for a youth, a boy, probably about 19, and perhaps specifically William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke. His initials, WH, appear in Thorpe's engagement, and the first volume of Shakespeare's plays, published by two of his co-actors, Herminge and Condell, after Shakespeare's death, was dedicated to William Herbert.

"Sonnet XVIII" is one of the most famous of all Shakespeare's sonnets. It is written in the sonnet style that Shakespeare preferred, 14 lines long with three squares (four rhymed lines) and a clutch (a few rhymed lines).

Sonnet praises the beauty and disposition of the youth, compares and contrasts the youth to a summer day. Then the sonnet immortalizes the youth through the "eternal lines" of the sonnet.

First Quatrain

The first line announces a youth's comparison to a summer day. But the second line says that youth is more perfect than a summer day. "Meter" can be interpreted as more gentle. A summer day can have surpluses such as hard wind. During Shakespeare's time, May is considered a summer month, a reference in the third row. The fourth line contains the metaphor that summer has a lease for the year, but the lease is of short duration.

Second Quatrain

This square describes how summer can be imperfect, a trait that the youth does not have. The fifth line personifies the sun as the "eye of heaven" which is sometimes too fiery. On the other hand, "his gold component", the sun's face can be dimmed by clouds and clouds. According to line 7, all beautiful things (fair means beautiful) sometimes diminish from their beauty condition or perfection in the event of accident or through natural events. "Untrimmed" in line 8 means lack of decoration and may refer to any beauty from line 7.

Third Quatrain

This square declares that the youth will have eternal beauty and perfection. In line 10, "ow & # 39; st" is short for own, which means to have. In other words, the youth "will not lose any of your beauty." Line 11 says death will not conquer life and may refer to nuances of classical literature (Virgil & # 39; s Aeneid ) who wander helplessly in the underground. In line 12, "eternal lines" refer to the immortal lines of the sonnet. Shakespeare realized that the sonnet is capable of attaining an eternal status, and that one could be killed within it.

The last link

The coupling is easy to interpret. As long as humans live and breathe on earth with eyes that can see, that is as long as these verses will live. And these verses celebrate the youth and constantly renew the youth's life.

"Shall I Compare You" is one of the most quoted sonnets from Shakespeare. It is complex, yet elegant and memorable and can be quoted by both men and women. It has been enjoyed by all generations since Shakespeare and will continue to be enjoyed "as long as men can breathe or eyes can see."

Sonnet XVIII, should I compare you?

By William Shakespeare

Should I compare you to a summer day?

You are more beautiful and more temperate:

Coarse winds shake the sweethearts in May

And this summer's rental agreement has too short a date:

Sometime too hot, the sky's eye shines,

And often his golden skin is foggy & # 39; d;

And every fair from the fair diminishes at some point,

By chance or nature, the course changes untrimmed & # 39; d:

But your eternal summer should not fade

Don't lose the justice you own & # 39; pc;

Death must also not boast that you walk in his shadow,

When in eternal lines to time you grow & # 39;

As long as men can breathe or eyes can see,

As long as this lives, and this gives you life.