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William Shakespeare
The Sonnets




Sonnet XVIII (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 fade,
Nor loose possession of that fair thou ow'st;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.




Sonnet XVIII (18)
(Modernised with Notes)

Shall I compare you to a summer's day?
You are more lovely and more temperate. (1)
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease has all too short a date: (2)
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines, (3)
And often is his gold complexion dimmed; (4)
And every fair from fair sometimes declines, (5)
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed. (6)
But your eternal summer shall not fade, (7)
Nor loose possession of that fair you own; (8)
Nor shall death brag you wander in his shade, (9)
When in eternal lines to time you grow. (10)
    So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, (11)
    So long lives this, and this gives life to thee. (12)



NOTES

(1) You are more lovely, more gentle, mild and pleasant, than a summer's day.

(2) Summer doesn't last long enough, it is too short.

(3) Sometimes the summer sun is too hot.

(4) Often the summer sun is overcast by clouds.

(5) Every beautiful thing loses its beauty sooner or later (at some time).

(6) By accident or by the natural way of things/process of decay.

(7) But your beauty, which is eternal, shall never fade.

(8) Nor will you ever lose the beauty you possess.

(9) Nor will you ever walk in the valley of death i.e. you will never die.

(10) Because you will always live in the lines of this sonnet.

(11) As long as men can breathe and have eyes to see

(12) This sonnet will be read, and this sonnet will give you life.



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