A Short Note on Shakespeare's Sonnet No.18
And every fair from fair sometimes decline
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed.
Shakespeare in this sonnet immortalizes his friend's beauty. He says, 'your beauty is eternal and it never can fade. Your eternal summer is not to be destroyed and you never can lose your possession of this Fair beauty. Your beauty's sun is not to be dimmed and the brightness of the sun is everlasting. Spenser gets the same idea in his sonnet No. IX -
Long-while I sought to what I might compare
Those powerful eyes,which lighte' my dark sprite
Yet find I nought on earth to which I dare
Resemble the image of their goodly light.
Not to the sun; for they do shine by night.
and like this the beauty of the poet's friend is as rare, and as lighted as no other beauty can resemble.
Shakespeare says that even death will not be able to touch his beauty away because of my eternal lines (sonnets) that will increase his beauty. Shakespeare is a conscious writer of his exceptional gifts as a poet and these lines show that consciousness. And not only Shakespeare,but all the contemporaries of his age have had like anticipation of immortality for their verse. Drayton speaks,
While thus my pen strives to eternize thee. (Idea, XLIV. I)and Daniel was no less explicit,
This (verse) may remain in thy lasting monument (Delia)
Shakespeare sounds that as long as men can breath and 'As long as the eyes can see' so long would my sonnets continue to read, and by the immortality of these rhymes, his friend also must will remain immortal. To indicate these lines W.Knight has a remarkable remark,
Starting by saying something large, the poet ends by saying something small.
Text - Sonnet No. 18 by ShakespeareShall 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:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
But 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.
Note: This article is originally published on Precious Works with the title "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?"