William Shakespeare the Great Bard of Stratford

William Shakespeare

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
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.


The Sonnets of William Shakespeare
The text of each of the Sonnets of William Shakespeare can be accessed by clicking on the sonnets of your choice.
The most popular of the Great Bard's Sonnets are Sonnets 018, 029, 116, 126 and 130.

Sonnets 1 - 10

William Shakespeare Sonnet 01 From fairest creatures we desire increase
William Shakespeare Sonnet 02 When forty winters shall besiege thy brow 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 03 Look in thy glass and tell the face thou viewest 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 04 Unthrifty loveliness why dost thou spend
William Shakespeare Sonnet 05 Those hours that with gentle work did frame
William Shakespeare Sonnet 06 Then let not winter's ragged hand deface
William Shakespeare Sonnet 07 Lo in the Orient when the gracious light
William Shakespeare Sonnet 08 Music to hear, why hear'st thou music sadly?
William Shakespeare Sonnet 09 Is it for fear to wet a widows eye
William Shakespeare Sonnet 10 For shame deny that thou bear'st love to any 

Sonnets 11 - 20
11 As fast as thou shalt wane so fast thou grow'st
12 When I do count the clock that tells the time
13 O that you were yourself, but love you are
14 Not from the stars do I my judgement pluck
15 When I consider everything that grows
16 But wherefore do not you a mightier way
17 Who will believe my verse in time to come
Shakespeare's sonnet 18 Shall I compare thee to a Summer's day?
Shakespeare sonnet 19 Devouring time blunt thou the lion's paws
Shakespeare sonnet 20 A woman's face with nature's own hand 

Sonnets 21 - 30
William Shakespeare Sonnet 21 So is it not with me as with that Muse
William Shakespeare Sonnet 22 My glass shall not persuade me I am old
William Shakespeare Sonnet 23 As an unperfect actor on the stage
William Shakespeare Sonnet 24 Mine eye hath played the painter and hath 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 25 Let those who are in favour with their stars 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 26 Lord of my love, to whom in vassalage
William Shakespeare Sonnet 27 Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed
William Shakespeare Sonnet 28 How can I then return in happy plight
William Shakespeare Sonnet 29 When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes
William Shakespeare Sonnet 30 When to the sessions of sweet silent thought

Sonnets 31 - 40
31 Thy bosom is endeared with all hearts
32 If thou survive my well contented day
33 Full many a glorious morning have I seen
34 Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day
35 No more be grieved at that which thou hast 
36 Let me confess that we two must be twain
37 As a decrepit father takes delight
38 How can my Muse want subject to invent
39 Oh how thy worth with manners may I sing
40 Take all my loves, my love, yea take them all 

Sonnets 41 - 50
William Shakespeare Sonnet 41 Those pretty wrongs that liberty commits
William Shakespeare Sonnet 42 That thou hast her it is not all my grief
William Shakespeare Sonnet 43 When most I wink then do mine eyes best see 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 44 If the dull substance of my flesh were thought
William Shakespeare Sonnet 45 The other two, slight air and purging fire
William Shakespeare Sonnet 46 Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war
William Shakespeare Sonnet 47 Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took
William Shakespeare Sonnet 48 How careful was I when I took my way
William Shakespeare Sonnet 49 Against that time, if ever that time come
William Shakespeare Sonnet 50 How heavy do I journey on my way

Sonnets 51 - 60
William Shakespeare's Sonnet 51 Thus can my love excuse the slow offence
William Shakespeare's Sonnet 52 So am I as the rich whose blessed key
William Shakespeare's Sonnet 53 What is your substance, whereof are you made
William Shakespeare's Sonnet 54 Oh how much more doth beauty beauteous seem
William Shakespeare's Sonnet 55 Not marble nor the gilded monuments
William Shakespeare Sonnet 56 Sweet love renew thy force, be it not said
William Shakespeare Sonnet 57 Being your slave what should I do but tend
William Shakespeare Sonnet 58 That God forbid, that made me first your slave 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 59 If there be nothing new, but that which is 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 60 Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore 

Sonnets 61 - 70
61 Is it thy will thy image should keep open
62 Sin of self-love possesseth all mine eye
63 Against my love shall be as I am now
64 When I have seen by Time's fell hand defaced
65 Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea
66 Tired with all these for restful death I cry
67 Ah wherefore with infection should he live
68 Thus is his cheek the map of days outworn
69 Those parts of thee that the world's eye doth view
70 That thou art blamed shall not be thy defect 

Sonnets 71 - 80
William Shakespeares Sonnet 71 No longer mourn for me when I am dead
William Shakespeares Sonnet 72 O lest the world should task you to recite
William Shakespeares Sonnet 73 That time of year thou mayst in me behold
William Shakespeares Sonnet 74 But be contented when that fell arrest
William Shakespeares Sonnet 75 So are you to my thoughts as food to life
William Shakespeares Sonnet 76 Why is my verse so barren of new pride
William Shakespeares Sonnet 77 Thy glass will show thee how thy beauties wear
William Shakespeares Sonnet 78 So oft have I invoked thee for my muse
William Shakespeare Sonnet 79 Whilst I alone did call upon thy aid
William Shakespeare Sonnet 80 O how I faint when I of you do write

Sonnets 81 - 90
81 Or I shall live your epitaph to make
82 I grant thou wert not married to my muse
83 I never saw that you did painting need
84 Who is it that says most, which can say more
85 My tongue-tied muse in manners holds her still
86 Was it the proud full sail of his great verse 
87 Farewell, thou art too dear for my possessing
88 When thou shalt be disposed to set me light
89 Say that thou didst forsake me for some fault
William Shakespeare Sonnet 90 Then hate me when thou wilt, if ever, now

Sonnets 91 - 100
William Shakespeare Sonnet 91 Some glory in their birth, some in their skill
William Shakespeare Sonnet 92 But do thy worst to steal thyself away
William Shakespeare Sonnet 93 So shall I live, supposing thou art true
William Shakespeare Sonnet 94 They that have power to hurt, and will do none
William Shakespeare Sonnet 95 How sweet and lovely dost thou make the shame
William Shakespeare Sonnet 96 Some say thy fault is youth, some wantonness 
William Shakespeare Sonnet 97 How like a winter hath my absence been
William Shakespeare Sonnet 98 From you I have been absent in the spring
William Shakespeare Sonnet 99 The forward violet thus did I chide
William Shakespeare Sonnet 100 Where art thou muse, that thou forget'st so long

Sonnets 101 - 110
101 O truant muse, what shall be thy amends 
102 My love is strengthened, though more weak in seeming
103 Alack what poverty my muse brings forth
104 To me, fair friend, you never can be old
105 Let not my love be called idolatry
106 When in the chronicle of wasted time
107 Not mine own fears, nor the prophetic soul
108 What's in the brain that ink may character
109 O never say that I was false of heart
110 Alas 'tis true, I have gone here and there

Sonnets 111 - 120
111 William Shakespeare Sonnet O for my sake do you with fortune chide
112 William Shakespeare Sonnet Your love and pity doth th'impression fill
113 William Shakespeare Sonnet Since I left you, mine eye is in my mind
114 William Shakespeare Sonnet Or whether doth my mind, being crowned with you
115 William Shakespeare Sonnet Those lines that I before have writ do lie
William Shakespeare Sonnet 116 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
William Shakespeare Sonnet 117 Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all
William Shakespeare Sonnet 118 Like as to make our appetites more keen
William Shakespeare Sonnet 119 What potions have I drunk of siren tears
William Shakespeare Sonnet 120 That you were once unkind befriends me now

Sonnets 121 - 130
William Shakespeare Sonnet 121 'Tis better to be vile than vile esteemed
William Shakespeare Sonnet 122 Thy gift, thy tables, are withing my brain
William Shakespeare Sonnet 123 No, Time, thou shalt not boast that I do change
William Shakespeare Sonnet 124 If my dear love were but the child of state
William Shakespeare Sonnet 125 Were't aught to me I bore the canopy
William Shakespear Sonnet 126 O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power
William Shakespear Sonnet 127 In the old age black was not counted fair
William Shakespear Sonnet 128 How oft when thou, my music, music play'st
William Shakespear Sonnet 129 Th'expense of spirit in a waste of shame
William Shakespear Sonnet 130 My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun

Sonnets 131 - 140
William Shakespear Sonnet 131 Thou art as tyrannous, so as thou art
132 Thine eyes I love, and they, as pitying me
133 Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan
134 So, now I have confessed that he is thine
135 Whoever hath thy wish, thou hast thy Will 
136 If thy soul check thee that I come so near
137 Thou blind fool Love, what dost thou to mine eyes
138 When my love swears that she is made of truth
139 O call not me to justify the wrong
140 Be wise as thou art cruel, do not press

Sonnets 141 - 154
141 In faith, I do not love thee with mine eyes
142 Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate
143 Lo, as a careful housewife runs to catch
144 Two loves I have, of comfort and despair
145 Those lips that Love's own hand did make
William Shake-speare - 146 Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth
William Shake-speare - 147 My love is like a fever, longing still
William Shake-speare - 148 O me, what eyes hath love put in my head 
William Shake-speare - 149 Canst thou, O cruel, say I love thee not 
William Shake-speare - 150 O, from what power hast thou this powerful might
William Shake-speare - 151 Love is too young to know what conscience is
William Shake-speare - 152 In loving thee thou know'st I am forsworn 
William Shake-speare - 153 Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep
William Shake-speare - 154 The little love-God lying once asleep



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