Hey there, Lee Tobin McClain here, letting my inner English teacher out to play. It’s summer, a great time for reading and romance… and a great time to test your understanding of a great poem about summer and love. Here’s Sonnet 18 by that master of romance, William Shakespeare:
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.
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed;
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
Nor shall death brag thou wand’rest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to Time thou grow’st.
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
How good are you at literary analysis? Test yourself, then look at the answers and let us know how you did and what surprised you. I’ll do a drawing from all those who comment by July 15th for a $10 Amazon gift card.
- What is the “eye of heaven” in line 5?
- What is one thing that’s wrong with summer, according to Shakespeare?
- What is the “this” of the last line?
- Who wins the comparison game: the beloved, or summertime?
- Do you think this poem is romantic? Why or why not?
Now, here’s the part where I need to insert something to fill space so that you don’t accidentally see the answers before you’ve given the quiz a try. Hmmm, let’s see: how about a look at my latest book cover, the first of the Sacred Bond covers featuring a couple instead of an individual hero. I absolutely love this cover, and it fits the story of a disabled veteran and a struggling single mom perfectly. Love my cover designer—thank you, Angela Waters!
- the sun
- Lots! Summer winds destroy spring flowers, summer is short, it’s hot, the sun is sometimes covered by clouds… and it ends!
- the poem itself
- the beloved
- To me… yes and no. The poet does state that his beloved is lovely and “temperate.” And what woman wouldn’t want to be told that “Thy eternal summer shall not fade”? Only problem is… in the final couplet, the poet explains the reason her loveliness will last forever, and it’s nothing to do with her. Rather, the poet is cockily certain that his poem will last forever, thus preserving the beloved and her beauty. Of course, he is right!
How did you do? Had you read this poem before? Do you like it? Comment below for a chance to win a $10 gift card. Maybe you’ll use it to buy a collection of Shakespeare’s sonnets!
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