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Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?. By William Shakespeare The Ultimate Love poem?. SONNET. Poetry form that began in 13 th C. Means ‘little song’ (Italian sonnetto ) Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets! Sonnet 18 is his most famous Shakespearean sonnets: 14 lines

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sonnet 18 shall i compare thee to a summer s day

Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a Summer’s Day?

By William Shakespeare

The Ultimate Love poem?

sonnet
SONNET
  • Poetry form that began in 13th C. Means ‘little song’ (Italian sonnetto)
  • Shakespeare wrote 154 sonnets!
  • Sonnet 18 is his most famous

Shakespearean sonnets:

  • 14 lines
  • Formed of 12 lines of ABAB/ CDCD/ EFEF ends with a rhyming couplet GG
  • iambic pentameter
sonnet 18
Sonnet 18
  • 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 fadeNor lose possession of that fair thou owest;Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,So long lives this and this gives life to thee.
shakespeare s beloved fair youth
Shakespeare’s BELOVED‘FAIR YOUTH’
  • Sonnets 1-126 - to an unnamed young man, Mr W.H. Some think it was a nobleman, the Earl of Southampton (his patron) – but we don’t know.
  • Platonic love (? Or not?)

The love I dedicate to your lordship is without end ... What I have done is yours; what I have to do is yours; being part in all I have, devoted yours."

LEFT: Shakespeare

RIGHT: Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton.

translate it into plain english
‘translate’ it into plain English

Start like this…

  • Shall I compare you to a summer's day?
  • You are more lovely and more constant
  • Rough winds shake the pretty flower buds in May…
sonnet in plain english
Sonnet in plain ENGLISH
  • At times the sun is too hot,
  • Or often goes behind the clouds;
  • And everything beautiful sometime will lose its beauty
  • By chance or by nature's planned out course.
  • But your youthful beauty shall not fade,
  • Nor will you lose the beauty that you possess;
  • Nor will death claim you for his own,
  • Because in my eternal verse you will live forever.
  • So long as there are people on this earth,
  • So long will this poem live on, making you immortal.
another plain english version
Another plain English version
  • Who says you're like one of the dog days?  You're nicer. And better.  Even in May, the weather can be gray,  And a summer sub-let doesn't last forever.  Sometimes the sun's too hot;  Sometimes it is not.  Who can stay young forever?  People break their necks or just drop dead!  But you? Never!  If there's just one condensed reader left  Who can figure out the abridged alphabet,           After you're dead and gone, 
  • In this poem you'll live on! 

(Howard Moss)

copy complete choose the correct answer
COPY / COMPLETE& CHOOSE THE CORRECT ANSWER

COMMENTARY

The poet believes his beloved is as lovely as / lovelier than a Summer’s day. This is because sometimes summer is [select all those that apply!]changeable/full of flowers/windy/cloudy/rainy /wet/hot /too hot/ too short. By line 9 he is referring to his friend as Death/Eternal Summer, which shows he sees him as the standard of beautiful things. He goes onto say that, unlike the season of summer, his beloved’s beauty will fade/die/never fade because he will live on in this poem.

language features
Can you find examples of the following?

Conceit

Metaphor

Parallel structure

personification

Balanced sentences

Use of comparatives

Language features
is it the ultimate love poem
Is it the ultimate love poem?

Critic James Boyd-White says:

  • What kind of love does 'this' in fact give to 'thee'? We know nothing of the beloved’s form or height or hair or eyes or bearing, nothing of her character or mind, nothing of her at all, really.
  • This 'love poem' is actually written not in praise of the beloved, as it seems, but in praise of itself. Death shall not brag, says the poet; the poet shall brag. This famous sonnet is on this view one long exercise in self-glorification.
  • WHAT DO YOU THINK?
comparison
COMPARISON
  • If you were to write about this poem in your exam, which poems would make interesting comparisons for it? Why?
sonnet parody
SONNET PARODY
  • Parody = a composition that imitates somebody's style in a humorous way. IOt is humorous or satirical mimicry.
  • In pairs, have a go at filling in the gaps to create a parody of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18.
  • *Remember to keep the iambic pentameter (5 ‘feet’ per line – or 10 syllables per line) and the rhyme scheme intact!
sonnet parody13
Sonnet parody
  • Shall I compare thee to a ____________________?
  • Thou art more ______and ______ ___________.
  • Rough winds do __________________ __ I'd say,
  • Which looks ___________ than ______________________________.
  • Sometime thy ___________eye________into mine
  • Through ____________________needs be trimm'd,
  • And ne'er a ________had such a ________as thine,
  • As though in __________________ thou hast swimm'd.
sonnet parody14
Sonnet parody
  • Thy ____________ image shall not fade;
  • This my ______________mind and __________ doth know.
  • O, I should love to _____________ thee ________ ___________;
  • And with that ____________ I hope that thou wouldst _______.
  • So long as_______ can _____________, _____ eyes can __________,
  • And_______ can ____________, _______ ________ ______ ______ thee...
anthony baldwin s sonnet parody
Anthony Baldwin’s sonnet parody
  • Shall I compare thee to a bale of hay?
  • Thou art more dusty and far less neat.
  • Rough winds do toss thy mop about, I'd say,
  • Which looks far worse than hay a horse would eat.
  • Sometime thy squinty eye looks into mine
  • Through stringy, greasy hair that needs be trimm'd,
  • And ne'er a horse had such a stench as thine,
  • As though in stagnant sewers thou hast swimm'd.
  • Thy disgusting image shall not fade;
  • This my tortured mind and soul doth know.
  • O, I should love to hit thee with a spade;
  • And with that blow I hope that thou wouldst go.
  • So long as I can breathe, my eyes can see,
  • And I can run, I'll stay away from thee...