In the sonnet, the speaker asks whether he should compare the young man to a summer's day, but notes that the young man has qualities that surpass a summer's day.He also notes the qualities of a summer day are subject to change and will eventually diminish. How to cite this article: Shakespeare, William. For more on the theme of fading beauty, please see Sonnet 116. Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Sonnet 18. Sonnet 18 is one of the best-known of the 154 sonnets written by the English playwright and poet William Shakespeare.. An important theme of the sonnet (as it is an important theme throughout much of the sequence) is the power of the speaker’s poem to defy time and last forever, carrying the beauty of the beloved down to future generations. By William Shakespeare. Amanda Mabillard. Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
For more on how the sonnets are grouped, please see the general introduction to Shakespeare's sonnets. Sonnets 18-25 are often discussed as a group, as they all focus on the poet's affection for his friend.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Sonnet 18, then, is the first “rhyme”—the speaker’s first attempt to preserve the young man’s beauty for all time.
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 dimmed, And … Ed. Sonnet XVIII.