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 ·  97,651 ratings  ·  1,648 reviews
The Arden Shakespeare has long been acclaimed as the established scholarly edition of Shakespeare's work. Now being totally reedited for the third time, Arden editions offer the very best in contemporary scholarship. Each volume provides a clear and authoritative text, edited to the highest standards; detailed textual notes and commentary on the same page of the text; full ...more
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 dec…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.…moreNo, it's just a collection of his sonnets.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  97,651 ratings  ·  1,648 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Shakespeare's Sonnets
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?
Ahmad Sharabiani
Sonnets = Shakespeare's 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 increa
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 lite ...more
Sean Barrs
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my favourite Shakespeare sonnet:

Sonnet 29

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 possessed,
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,
(Like to the la
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
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Less notorious than his plays, Shakespeare’s 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 no
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.
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, brittish-lit
I have known Shakespeare wrote sonnets. I had also bought a pocketbook 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
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recs, 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 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 consi
هدى يحيى
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 thi
Jonathan O'Neill
Nov 17, 2022 rated it really liked it
4.5 ⭐️

anne hathaway and shakespeare
William Shakespeare pictured with wife, Anne Hathaway, who, awkwardly, is not the subject of his famous sonnets.

I read the Sonnets and ‘A Lover’s Complaint’ in ‘The Arden Shakespeare – Complete Works’ so, strictly speaking, I’ll be reviewing the portion of that much larger book which contains these works. The difference, I believe, is that this individual edition, under which I’m reviewing, has incredibly detailed textual notes and commentary; the Complete Works has merely an introdu
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 nigh
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
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 it’s understandable as it was written long ago, so it doesn’t affect my reading experience.

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

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,
The dear repose for limbs with travail tired;
But then begins a journ
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...
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the past several months, I listened to the actor Patrick Stewart read these sonnets, only one each day. That counts as reading, right? He skipped a few for different reasons and I then went to the text to read those, as well as several I wanted to “hear” more fully after listening to his rendering. Regardless, these sonnets deserve to be reread.
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What to say about this pretty collection of Shakespeare's sonnets?

Well, I gifted this gorgeous edition to myself for my birthday. I do have a very pretty book of Shakespeare's plays it goes along with nicely. Why the sonnets though, and why now? Truth be told, it's all Sir Patrick Stewart's fault. When the lockdowns started everywhere, he (actually, his wife) had the brilliant idea of recording him reading a sonnet every day. So I followed alone and enjoyed his voice and some little anecdotes he
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. ...more
This is how much I managed to extract from the Bard's sonnets thanks to this excellent guide:

Less notorious than his plays, Shakespeare’s 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
Briar's Reviews
This is a great collection of Shakespeare's Sonnets that isn't just a collection - it has meaning, explanations and logical all behind it. It felt like I was back in high school English class - one of my fave places back in my high school days. Seeing how his writing evolved over time, and the beauty of Sonnets from both the collection of Sonnets but his plays was incredible. I truly enjoyed diving into this book! I highly recommend it for fans of Shakespeare and poetry.

Four out of five stars.

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 Sh
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shakespeare, 2017, poetry, 2013
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. ...more
Yogita Singh
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
This is an amazing collection of poems... you cannot argue against it. However, the collection (if taken in group) is different when you compare it to the poems individually in the series. It makes difficult concerns for the readers who are novice.
Himanshu Karmacharya
Sep 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Everything you'd expect from Shakespeare, full of drama and that peculiar lyrical quality, while exploring the themes of beauty, love, betrayal. ...more
Oct 04, 2020 rated it really liked it

"Yet do thy worst, old Time, despite thy wrong,
My love shall in my verse ever live young.”

- last couplet of Sonnet 19

Since March, I have been following Sir Patrick Stewart on Instagram, reading these sonnets with fervour and dedication. His love for them is palpable and infectious. I have loved listening to his amazing voice give life to the Bard’s words. Many of the poems went over my head, but I did connect with a few, and appreciated many couplets. As with all poetry, this is something t
Dec 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, poetry
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
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 ...
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
A WOnderful collection of poems... however, Shakespeare seems to, at times, obsessed with his art of poetry. Nevertheless, his art is immense and he had all the rights to brag about the same.
« 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
  • Songs of Innocence and of Experience
  • The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets
  • The Poetry of Robert Frost
  • The Iliad
  • The Collected Poems of W.B. Yeats
  • The Complete Poetry and Prose
  • Howl and Other Poems
  • Leaves of Grass
  • Les Fleurs du Mal
  • Selected Poems
  • The Collected Poems
  • The Complete Poems
  • The Sun and Her Flowers
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

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,...
62 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.”
“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…