Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Shakespeare's Sonnets” as Want to Read:
Shakespeare's Sonnets
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Shakespeare's Sonnets

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  79,291 ratings  ·  1,121 reviews
Paperback, Arden Shakespeare: Third Series, 488 pages
Published August 21st 1997 by Bloomsbury Arden Shakespeare (first published 1609)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Shakespeare's Sonnets, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Anna Patterson Yes, definitely. I had not read them in some time. When I first started reading this again, I thought, I don't even understand this anymore. But I…moreYes, definitely. I had not read them in some time. When I first started reading this again, I thought, I don't even understand this anymore. But I decided to come back again and read the same sonnet, one sentence at a time. I even read this out loud because I believe a poem is just a song which hasn't been put to music yet. Of course Shakespeare has, because if you read it several times it not only becomes easier to read, but you can begin to see the beauty of the words.(less)
Alia Moustafa No, it's just a collection of his sonnets.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  79,291 ratings  ·  1,121 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Shakespeare's Sonnets
Manny
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?
Alok Mishra
Jun 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shakespeare has almost become synonymous to drama, we all know the fact. However, the lyrical quality that he was born with (even his life was lyrical, wasn't it?) bestowed immense poetry to his plays and perhaps, those plays led to the sonnets we are singing even today. Is there any sonnet sequence in the world which is as popular as Shakespeare's is? I don't think so. Academic people may debate upon the authenticity and ramifications of the sonnets' interpretation, but the people who love ...more
Sean Barrs The Ultra Vegan
This is my favourite Shakespeare sonnet:

Sonnet 29

When, in disgrace with fortune and mens 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 possessed,
Desiring this mans art and that mans scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
(Like to the lark at
...more
James
Book Review
William Shakespeare wrote hundreds of sonnets over three decades, mostly from the 1580s through 1610. I'm assuming most everyone has read a few of his sonnets, given they are usually required reading in high school. There is something to love in every single one of them. There is something to be confused at in every single of them. No one can deny his talent. Whether you enjoy rhymes or prefer just the beauty of the words, the lines definitely create images in your mind of what
...more
Dolors
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Are you in love with words?
Recommended to Dolors by: Cristina
Less notorious than his plays, Shakespeares sonnets assimilate a secret map with hidden clues that lead to precious treasures. The intimate, even confessional tone of the 154 rhymes urges the eager reader to believe that the poetic voice is The Bard himself, who playfully volunteers the key to unlock the mysteries of his heart.
And yet Do the sonnets tell a coherent story? If they do, is this story real or fictional? The fact that Thomas Thorpe, a poet, editor and admirer of Shakespeare, and not
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sonnets, William Shakespeare
Shakespeare's sonnets is the title of a collection of 154 sonnets by William Shakespeare, which covers themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality. The first 126 sonnets are addressed to a young man; the last 28 to a woman.
Sonnet 1 Sonnet 1 is one of 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare. It is a procreation sonnet within the Fair Youth sequence.
From fairest creatures we desire increase,
That thereby beauty's rose
...more
Michael
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, poetry
Ever intimate in tone, Shakespeare's sonnets reflect upon the relationship between love and power, in addition to considering the many forms attempts to ward off oblivion might take. Most of the sonnets are addressed to the so-called Fair Youth (1-126), some to the Dark Lady (127-154), but all the sonnets share strikingly similar thematic and formal concerns, to the point at which the two sequences read as variations on the same set of topics. So many of the sonnets express simple thoughts, but ...more
Riku Sayuj
For we which now behold these present days,

Have eyes to wonder, but lack tongues to praise.


This Powrful 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 Tennysons blasphemy. Some of the sonnets are so well-crafted and consists of
...more
Huda Yahya
Feb 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
بلا جدال السونيتة المفضلة
----------------

Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest
Now is the time that face should form another;
Whose fresh repair if now thou not renewest,
Thou dost beguile the world, unbless some mother.
For where is she so fair whose uneared womb
Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?
Or who is he so fond will be the tomb
Of his self-love, to stop posterity?
Thou art thy mother's glass and she in thee
Calls back the lovely April of her prime;
So thou through windows of thine
...more
Manuel Antão
Sep 24, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

To Sonnetate or not to Sonnetate, that is the Question: "Os Sonetos de Shakespeare" by William Shakespeare and Vasco Graça Moura
 
 
 
NB: VGM = Vasco Graça Moura; "Os Sonetos de Shakespeare" = The Shakespeare Sonnets.
 
Ive always wanted to read VGMs take, not only because of the sonnets, but also because of VGMs translation. What VGM did was not really a translation. Why? Read on.
 
Before I proceed with the review, its necessary to clarify
...more
Amit Mishra
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There is no fundamental issue to call this book a great one. Shakespeare is really different from other poets. The style and composition of words in a beautiful pattern makes him look beyond the ordinary league.
His sonnets secretly deliver manifold messages. From joy to the seriousness.
Manny
Here's a minor literary mystery that has been bothering me this morning. On p 176 of La vieillesse, Simone de Beauvoir quotes a French translation of Shakespeare's Sonnet 73, which in the original goes as follows:
That time of year thou mayst in me behold
When yellow leaves, or none, or few, do hang
Upon those boughs which shake against the cold,
Bare ruin'd choirs, where late the sweet birds sang.
In me thou see'st the twilight of such day
As after sunset fadeth in the west,
Which by and by black
...more
Piyangie
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: brittish-lit, poetry
I have known Shakespeare wrote sonnets. I had also bought a pocket book of them from my visit to Shakespearean birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon. But honestly, I really didn't give much thought on reading it until I was impelled by a group read. I'm really glad that I read it and thankful to the group and the member who nominated it.

Shakespeare is universally acclaimed for his plays. His use of satire, wit, clever plots and darker and tragic elements have attracted the readers. And I feel that
...more
Alan
May 23, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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, 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
Apoorva
Nice collection of poetry on various themes such as different types of love, lust, beauty, betrayal, destruction caused by time, art etc.

Some of the ideas expressed seemed archaic and regressive but its understandable as it was written long ago, so it doesnt affect my reading experience.

I liked the collection of romantic sonnets; some sonnets have a sad quality to them. Heres one of them:

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travail tired;
But then begins a journey
...more
David
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: david-giltinan@sbcglobal.net
Shelves: poetry, read-in-2009
SHAKESPEARE WANTS YOU TO BREED!!!!

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
...more
WhatIReallyRead (Anna)
I didn't expect to enjoy Shakespeare's Sonnets quite so much. The only word I can think of to describe the experience is: lovely. So far it seems, I'm more into classical poetry than I am into modern one.
Katherine Elizabeth
4/5 Stars

Shakespeare has some wonderful poems, he really does. They're even better than his plays, in my opinion. However, quite unfortunately, some of them are really difficult to understand. So even though I appreciate his expertly/tightly written poems, I didn't appreciate how I had trouble understanding about 30% of them.

Asides from the trouble understanding some of them, these are imaginative and lovely poems that everyone should read at least once. So don't let his boring/strange (sorry
...more
Darwin8u
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, 2017, shakespeare, poetry
I really haven't read Shakespeare's sonnets in any consistent way since high school (where I read less than twenty and memorized two). It was fascinating to read all 154 from first to last as a whole connected work. One really gets a sense that English is a tool which almost all of us use, many often play with, but only Shakespeare fully owned. The Bard could bend a word, fit infinity in a couplet, and drop the whole universe on a period.
Judith Johnson
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My Dad, actor James Hayter, had a lot of sonnets off by heart, and years after his passing away, I can still hear his beautiful voice reciting them - Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore ...
Deepthi
Apr 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
All I want to do now is lie on the grass, and make mooony-eyes at the moon!
Naman Singh
May 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
What a collection? Flawless, superb, and amazing! You cannot ignore this book by any means. Interpretations can go wild at times and remain conserved most of the other times...
Shyam
Probably, more nonsense has been talked and written, more intellectual and emotional energy expended in vain, on the sonnets of Shakespeare than on any other literary work in the world. W. H. Auden, Introduction to Shakespare's Sonnets

__________
It is my understanding that Shake-speare composed these sonnets primarily for himself, and his friends, and that they were completed some time before he took them to be published in 1609, and may have done so partly due to declining revenue due to the
...more
Virginia Pavone
Shakespeare is so good! The Bard always wins!
leynes
Mar 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Oh wow, these were beautiful. Most of them I didn't understand but the language was beautfiul.
I still have to film a review for this and I'm just really intimidated, dear God, how am I to make sense of these!

I don't have the book at hand (whilst writing this review) but the two lines that stuck out to me the most were:
Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck;
And yet methinks I have Astronomy,
Gaah it's just so beautiful. But yeah, let's get this review going.

There are 154 sonnets in this
...more
Lolita
Jan 06, 2013 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 dimmd,
And euery faire from faire some-time declines,
By chance, or natures changing course vntrimd:
But thy eternall Sommer shall not fade,
Nor loose possession of that faire thou owst,
Nor shall death brag thou wandrst in his shade,
When in eternall lines to
...more
Tracey
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Probably the best known of all of the 154 sonnets is Sonnet 18;

Shall I compare thee to a summers day? 
Thou art more lovely and more temperate: 
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, 
And summers lease hath all too short a date: 
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines, 
And often is his gold complexion dimmd; 
And every fair from fair sometime declines, 
By chance or natures changing course untrimmd; 
But thy eternal summer shall not fade 
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest; 
Nor shall
...more
 amapola
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poesia, inglesi, owned
Shakespeare in love

Trovo che Shakespeare sia di una attualità sorprendente. Passano gli anni, i secoli, i millenni, ma il cuore delluomo resta eternamente lo stesso.

18
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate
Rough winds do y 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 dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
...more
Trevor
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, poetry
Ive 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 Ive 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. Im quite looking forward to doing this so well have to see how things ...more
David Lentz
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Waste Land and Other Poems
  • The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson
  • The Complete Stories and Poems
  • Paradise Lost
  • Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair
  • The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems
  • The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • The Iliad
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost
  • The Complete Poems
  • Les Fleurs du Mal
  • Beowulf
  • Leaves of Grass
  • The Waste Land
  • The Complete English Poems
See similar books…
34,956 followers
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 ...more

Articles featuring this book

Every month is a good month to appreciate poetry, but in April it's an official thing. Founded in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets, Natio...
48 likes · 28 comments
“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.”
1326 likes
“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)
839 likes
More quotes…