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Alternate Forms for Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18

The Bard’s most famous sonnet very nearly wasn’t a Shakespearean sonnet. Rejected pairings of content and form, from rondelet to an acrostic hiding his name.

Spenserian Sonnet

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 the sun’s release be far too great, And often his complexion overshines; And every fair from fair needs must abate, By chance or nature’s obdurate designs.

But thy eternal summer ne’er resigns, Nor will thy beauty precious fair be trimm’d; Nor shall Death snare thy spirit in his vines, When in eternal writing thou be pinned.

So long as men can breathe or souls hath prayed, So long lives this, and thus thy life is made.

Petrarchan Sonnet

Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate: Rough winds do darling buds bow under weight, And summer’s lease hath little time to play.

Sometime too hot is heaven’s bright display, And often... Continue Reading

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