William Shakespeare Sonnets
Sonnets are fourteen-line lyric poems, traditionally written in iambic pentameter - that is, in lines ten syllables long, with accents falling on every second syllable, as in: "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?". Sonnets originated in Italy and were introduced to England during the Tudor period by Sir Thomas Wyatt. Shake-speare followed the more idiomatic rhyme scheme of sonnets that Sir Philip Sydney used in the first great Elizabethan sonnets cycle, Astrophel and Stella (these sonnets were published posthumously in 1591). Sonnets are formal poems and consist of 14 lines (3 quatrains and a couplet) Poems may be accessed by clicking the above Poems link for texts of the poems of William Shakespeare - Venus and Adonis, Rape of Lucrece, Lover's Complaint and Phoenix and the Turtle
The Most Popular William Shakespeare Sonnets!
The most popular sonnets are:
The Sonnets of William Shakespeare "a Booke called Shakespeare's sonnettes".
The Sonnets of William Shakespeare appeared, without his permission, in 1609 and advertised as "never before imprinted". The publisher, although reputable, clearly wanted to make use of the celebrity of William Shakespeare who by 1609 was a famous member of the Globe Theatre and could count royalty amongst his patrons. The 1609 quarto, entitled Shakespeares Sonnets, was published by Thomas Thorpe, printed by George Eld, and sold by William Aspley and William Wright. On May 20, 1609, Thomas Thorpe was granted a license to publish "a Booke called Shakespeare's sonnettes" as this entry in the Stationer's Register attests: "Thomas Thorpe Entred for his copie vnder thandes of master Wilson and master Lownes Warden a Booke called Shakespeares sonnettes". The publisher clearly went through the correct procedures prior to publication, so despite Shakespeare's reticence in publishing any of his works, there were apparently no irregularities by the publisher. Sonnets 138 and 144, despite the "never before imprinted" claim, had been included, albeit in a slightly different format, in The Passionate Pilgrime (1599) a poetry collection containing twenty poems by various poets. The title page to the second edition contains the inscription "By W. Shakespeare" but only five of the poems appear to be his. Once again these appear to have been published without the consent of William Shakespeare.
Numbers of Sonnets added by the Printer?
There are no documented records of when the sonnets were written and there is even some doubt as to their true authorship. It is , however , certain that William Shakespeare had written some sonnets as in 1598 Francis Meres, in a "survey" of poetry and literature, made reference to the Bard and "his sugared sonnets among his private friends." The sonnets were intended as a form private communication, some perhaps to flatter potential patrons. The order of sonnets as they appeared in the 1609 publication were not necessarily the order in which they were written and in all probability were numbered by the printer in no particular order or arrangement, but just for ease of reference.
Sonnets - 1640 Edition
The second, 1640 edition of William Shakespeare's sonnets with an engraving by William Marshall is detailed on the section Marshall Engraving
Sequence & themes of Shakespeare's Sonnets
William Shakespeare's sonnets are stories about a handsome boy, or rival poet, and the mysterious and aloof "dark" lady they both love. The sonnets fall into three clear groupings: Sonnets 1 to 126 are addressed to, or concern, a young man; Sonnets 127-152 are addressed to, or concern, a dark lady (dark in the sense of her hair, her facial features, and her character), and Sonnets 153-154 are fairly free adaptations of two classical Greek poems. The text of these famous William Shakespeare sonnets can be accessed by clicking one of the sonnets links below. The most popular of the William Shakespeare Sonnets are Sonnets 018, 029, 116, 126 and 130.