“Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate…”
So begins Sonnet 18, one of the best known of this collection of 154 poems in sonnet form written by William Shakespeare. Collectively, these poems deal with such themes as love, mortality, passion, and beauty.
The Sonnets were first published in 1609 and include some of the best known love poems ever written.
The collection can be divided into three sections. The Fair Youth Sequence is comprised of Sonnets 1-126. These poems were written to an unnamed young man. Sonnets 127-152 may be described as the Dark Lady sequence. These poems were written for the poet’s mistress and tell the story of his love for her. The final two sonnets tell an allegorical story involving Cupid, the Roman god of love.
This work is a part of the Lit2Go collection, a collaboration between the Florida Department of Education and the University of South Florida College of Education. Lit2Go is dedicated to supporting literacy teaching and learning by providing access to historically and culturally significant literature in K-12 schools.