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Shakespeare's Sonnets

4.24 of 5 stars 4.24  ·  rating details  ·  42,183 ratings  ·  453 reviews
Following a facsimile of the 1609 Quatro printed in parallel with a conservatively edited, modernized text, Stephen Booth offers an analytic commentary that ranges from brief glosses to substantial critical essays.
Paperback, 583 pages
Published July 11th 2000 by Yale University Press (first published 1609)
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Shakespeare's Sonnet XVIII (abridged)

You're hot.
But not as hot as this poem.

Shakespeare's Sonnet CXVI (abridged)

I'll love you even when you are sixty four
Or my name's not Heather Mills.

Shakespeare's Sonnet XCIV (abridged)

Stay cool man. Peace.
Like, flower power, y'know?
Riku Sayuj
For we which now behold these present days,

Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.

This Pow’rful Rhyme Eternal

Tennyson is famously to have declared Shakespeare 'greater in his sonnets than in his plays'. While the reader who might not soar as easily along the paths described by these Sonnets would find the comparison absurd to a degree, he/she would also have to admit that they understand the sentiment behind Tennyson’s blasphemy. Some of the sonnets are so well-crafted and consists of...more
Nov 16, 2009 David rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by:
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2009

The first 17 or so sonnets in the series left me taken aback. It's right there in the first line of Sonnet #1:

1. From fairest creatures we desire increase
That thereby beauty's Rose might never die
But as the riper should be time decease
His tender heir might bear his memory

There's this obsession with propagating the species. This concern about breeding dominates the first 17 sonnets in the series, something I had not been aware of before.

2. ...
How much more pra
Over my years of teaching, I have memorized a couple dozen of these sonnets, on my morning walks. Some I learned in a two-mile walk,
like the one on his own writing, "Why is my verse so barren of new pride?"(76). Others I have had to re-memorize every time I teach it,
like "Some glory in their birth, some in their skill," (91). Their imbedded mnemonics vary greatly. When I have required Shakespeare classes
to memorize a couple, students would often pick very difficult ones, not knowing they varied...more
I’ve been wondering for a while how to approach this review. I had thought that it might be interesting to do a close reading of a single sonnet and leave it at that. What I’ve decided is to write a quick review on this edition of The Sonnets, mostly chatting about the stuff this book gives to help a reader read them, and then, over the next weeks and months, add ‘comments’ which will be reviews of some of my ‘favourite’ sonnets. I’m quite looking forward to doing this – so we’ll have to see how...more
For once I think I'm glad that I don't have much of a following because otherwise I'm pretty sure I'd get some serious hate mail for this one. There is no easy way to say this so I'm just going to jump in.

I hate Shakespeare's sonnets. There is no easy way to say it and I'm pretty sure it might make me some two bit hack of a reader, but it's the damn truth. All I could think while reading them was that it was a good thing the man could write a play because he wasn't much of a poet. I hate these...more
Two passions dwell in poet's heart
Two desperate obsessions are reflected through his art
Those are two characters from Shakespeare's poetry triangle:
The dark skinned lady and the man of fair skin
His charm is gentle and she's a striking beauty queen
Three lives, three loves in chains of jealousy are fatally entangled
Did two conspire secretly behind the poet's back
Betraying him two times, which caused his soul to wreck ?
Huda Aweys
شكسبير كان بيناقش هنا الموت و الحياة .. الموت و الولادة بكلاسيكية و بحس شاعرى رائع .. شفت صور كتير اوى رائعة وتشبيهات بليغه وجميلة و حبيت فعلا :)
دا رابط للقراءة بس ما تعتمدوش على ترجمته و اعتمدوا على حسكم اكتر :)
David Lentz
As I have been writing sonnets lately, I decided to re-read the works of the genius, the master, of the sonnet form. I was intrigued to understand how Shakespeare suffered in writing his sonnets as a young man not yet established as a dramatist. He was writing under the patronage of a young, handsome, English gent named Southampton, who presented these sonnets to women whom he pursued ardently. The sonnets when read sequentially reveal changes in the young poet's life as he evolves. He competed...more
Jowayria Rahal
It's a moral obligation that I confess that I've only read about two thirds of Shakespeare's sonnets ( 38 out of 154) . That being said , I'm not claiming that I deliberately neglected the other sonnets for who am I to disregard such beautiful masterpieces ?

Shakespeare's sonnets are Shakespeare at his best ; an amalgam of the human , the psychoanalyst and the artist . These are two of the ones that I adored so much I now secretly wish I could tattoo them :

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?...more
Erik Graff
Jul 18, 2009 Erik Graff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: English speakers
Recommended to Erik by: Harriet J. Naden
Shelves: poetry
We had a lot of Shakespeare in high school, reading many of his plays, seeing them performed on stage or in film. We also had a lot of poetry, mostly classical stuff, ee cummings being about as modern or far out as the English Department dared go. That was fine by me. I've ever been thankful for being forced to read Pope, Keats, Shelley, Yeats, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Burns, Blake, Dickinson et cetera while I was young. We kids ourselves passed around the moderns...

While my favorites back then we...more
I loved rereading the sonnets. I read a different edition (one that includes other poems I haven't read), but one of my students brought this edition in to office hours. In class, I gave a presentation on sonnet 130, blazon poetry, and Shakespeare's diverse, outlandish (a la Gascoigne) garden (a comparison of 130 with 99--the dark lady with the young man). I also wrote this prompt:

“O, know, sweet love, I always write of you”

How is the language of the sonnets reflected in the love poetry of a tra...more
I love LOVE Shakespeare's sonnets. my favorites are 116:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and...more
Jul 16, 2013 Lolita marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition

Shall I compare thee to a Summers day?
Thou art more louely and more temperate:
Rough windes do shake the darling buds of Maie,
And Sommers lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heauen shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d,
And euery faire from faire some-time declines,
By chance, or natures changing course vntrim’d:
But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade,
Nor loose possession of that faire thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wandr’st in his shade,
When in eternall lines...more
الثلاث نجمات للترجمة التي قام بها الشاعر والباحث والمترجم توفيق علي منصور, وهذه أول مرة أقرأ له أي شىء , أما السونيتات نفسها فتحتاج إلى وقت أطول لقراءة تفسيرات عنها وللقراءة عنها من مصادر إنجليزية
وقد وجدت بعد بحث سريع موقعين للسونيتات إستعنت بهما في فهم بعض السونيتات, الأول به تفسير بسيط وسريع وهو موقع مخصص أساسا للطلبة الذين يدرسون الأدب الإنجليزي, والثاني به تفصيل وشرح أكثر كثيرا مع وضع كل سونيتة في سياقها اللغوي والتاريخي
لم تعجبني كثيرا هذه الترجمة رغم أن الكتاب مطبوع بطريقة رشيقة وجميلة, كل صفحة تحتوي على السونيتة الأصلية باللغة الإنجليزية وترجمتها إلى العربية, والرسوم للفنان محمود الهندي هي أجمل ما في الكتاب

ترجمة بدر توفيق أجدها في الغالب مسطحة ومباشرة وحرفية, كأنه يترجم جملة جملة بدون النظر لسياق السونيتة الواحدة على بعضها, وهي أيضا غير دقيقة في بعض الأحيان كما لو كان يترجم بسرعة وبدون تدقيق في الكلمات والمعاني, وبدون رجوع للقواميس حتي يفرق بين المعاني المختلفة للكلمة الواحدة, ناهيك عن أن لغة شكسبير تختلف كثي...more
They may exist, but I've never read any better words than these:

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Malak Alrashed
Sep 04, 2014 Malak Alrashed rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shelves: favorites, poetry
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doo
You don't read this book. You make love to it.
Nawar Esmel
اقتلنى بكرهك لكن لا تجعل العداء يفرق بيننا
I finally finished Romeo and Juliet in my Brit Lit class (thank God!) Oddly enough, when I was looking to escape Shakespeare, I found this book of his sonnets at a rummage sale. It was simply meant to be.

Here's the thing I don't like about Shakespeare. He goes on and on about the beauty of his love, but that's all he talks about. Is she only a pretty face? Does she have a sense of humor? Is she kind? Smart? Anything but beautiful. Though this doesn't diminish the beauty of his writing, I do w...more
Diana Cigher
Well... I decided to read this book because we had a lesson at Universal Literature about Shakespeare's sonnets. We read like two of them and I was kind of interested in Shakespeare's mind because we learnt that he dedicated his sonnets to Dark Lady and to the Fair Youth and I wanted to know more. So I started reading his sonnets and there's a bunch I love.

The first sonnet that atracted me was Sonnet 14. I liked it because it was about astrology mainly, which I love. I loved that he wanted to cr...more
Timothy Ferguson
I did not enjoy them, and I hate that. I’m continually harping on about how people should enjoy poetry more, and so when the book club pulls out the a celebrity like William, I thought I’d be able to just wallow in the fantasticness of his words, and then evangelise him afterward. No such luck.

I can see he’s a talented poet, and he has a skilled turn of phrase. I can see that I have hamstrung his work because I’ve listened to the sonnets in a steady stream, rather than one at a time, separated b...more
I like a lot of Shakespeare. I enjoy his plays, especially when I see them performed. But I find it much harder for the sonnets to reach me. For one thing (and this is my issue not the author's obviously) but I feel the archaic language is a little harder to reach here because there is no one reacting to it. However, even if that were not the case, if you were to modernize these poems it would be clear that they are pretty much sappy moanings of a guy with relationship issues. I got really bored...more
Aug 22, 2007 Frederick rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anybody willing to read it.
Shelves: poetry, shakespeare
I announce first that I've only read about a third of Shakespeare's sonnets. But I do feel I may make a valid point. While the sonnets, with virtually no varying texts, are very pure compared to the plays, which exist in many editions, nevertheless, Shakespeare's personality is stamped on the plays, not the sonnets.
Okay, now that the scholars have stopped reading this review, let's tell the truth: As brilliant as the sonnets are, as carved in marble as they seem to be, if the plays didn't exist...more
I enjoyed reading these for the most part. I mean, I wouldn't go out of my way to read them again, but I'm still giving it 4 stars because who am I to give Shakespeare less than 4 stars? A lot of them were on the theme of "I love you so much, so I am going to write this poem so that you will live on in eternity", which they did, but we don't actually know who he is writing about so he's kind of a liar. My favourites were 71, 91, 105, and 109. I made that list so I knew which ones to go back and...more
Leo Robertson
If Shakespeare is not a genius I need the details of a good endocrinologist because I cried like I just huffed World War I-grade organophosphates so if this is not love immortally documented by a genius endocrinologist please because organophosphates.

Wait I just looked at Shakespeare on Wikipedia and people seem to agree that he is a genius so no endocrinologist because it wasn't World War I organophosphates I just gotta bitta Shakespeare in my eyes that's all it happens sometimes though probabl...more
Michael Handy
Reading the sonnets as a whole shows me why Shakespeare is better known for his plays. There is a lot of merit in the sonnets, and I am not sorry to have read them all. However, I may never read the sonnets in their entirety again.
Some things surprised me. For example, I was surprised by how much internal evidence there is of the Dark Lady and the Fair Young Man. I assumed they were critical interpretations. They are not. The existence of those two figures is abundantly clear. There are, however...more
Theodore Reitscheff
Superb.. one of the greatest things I've ever read.. It's not so much in his plays, but here where Shakespeare shows us why his name will never be forgoten (hopefully ^^) There hasn't been even one time, when i take them to read one or two.. and then another one, and another one. The lines are engulfing me and give me feeling, that i will probably never be able to express with words.. A feeling, that cannot be discribed, but one that can only be felt. Even now, even when i want to say smth about...more
Why do we read? Is it for the thrill, adventure, sense of belonging, or the deluge of new information? For me, it is to find the why in itself. I pore over a bunch of pointless words ravaged together to form complex sentences that manage to convey pure feeling. Will I ever find the answers? I doubt it. But when I come close this hunger for a purpose to everything is abated.

Shakespeare manages to bring me closer to the definition of why in almost every sonnet. Sometimes I feel he is trying to con...more
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Favourite Sonnet? 45 182 Sep 11, 2014 06:36PM  
La Stamberga dei ...: Angolotesti: Sonetto XLIII di William Shakespeare 1 10 May 25, 2014 05:58AM  
sonnets... 2 14 Aug 21, 2013 12:16PM  
Classics Without ...: Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day? 2 43 Apr 02, 2013 09:23AM  
The Most Awesome ...: The Sonnets 2 7 Jan 22, 2013 03:44PM  
Shakespeare Fans: The Sonnets 20 55 Sep 03, 2012 09:20AM  
Sonnets 4 33 Mar 05, 2012 06:45AM  
  • The Complete Poems
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  • Selected Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)
  • The Complete Poems
  • Lyrical Ballads
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
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  • The Complete Poems
  • My Last Duchess and Other Poems
  • The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Other Poems
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost (Collected Poems, Complete & Unabridged)
  • Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems
  • The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
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  • The Complete Poems
William Shakespeare (baptised 26 April 1564) was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon" (or simply "The Bard"). His surviving works consist of 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and several other poems. His plays have been tr...more
More about William Shakespeare...
Romeo and Juliet Hamlet Macbeth A Midsummer Night's Dream Othello

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“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:
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And too often is his gold complexion dimm'd:
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance or natures changing course untrimm'd;
By thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor 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.”
“Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
O no, it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand'ring bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken."

(Sonnet 116)
More quotes…