1564 - 1616
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
provide examples of Shakespearean sonnets.
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;
The 154 sonnets Shakespeare
wrote exemplify his talent for compressed writing and depth of thought. Generally thought to be (at least to some degree)
autobiographical, many are in the nature of apostrophic generalities; a large number are addressed to a man, others to a
"dark lady." The identity of these persons addressed has generated considerable conjecture and a torrent of controversy .
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 grow'st;
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
I summon up remembrance of things past,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE
Excerpt from Act IV, Scene 1
Venice: A court of justice.
provides an example of blank verse.
- Is your name Shylock?
- Shylock is my name.
- Of a strange nature is the suit you follow;
Yet in such rule that the Venetian law
Cannot impugn you as you do proceed.
You stand within his danger, do you not?
- Ay, so he says.
- Do you confess the bond?
- I do.
- Then must the Jew be merciful.
- On what compulsion must I? tell me that.
- The quality of mercy is not strain'd,
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath; it is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes;
'Tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
The throned monarch better than his crown;
His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
The attribute to awe and majesty,
Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
But mercy is above this sceptred sway;
It is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
It is an attribute to God himself;
And earthly power doth then show likest God's
When mercy seasons justice. Therefore, Jew,
Though justice be thy plea, consider this,
That, in the course of justice, none of us
Should see salvation: we do pray for mercy;
And that same prayer doth teach us all to render
The deeds of mercy. I have spoke thus much
To mitigate the justice of thy plea;
Which if thou follow, this strict court of Venice
Must needs give sentence 'gainst the merchant there.
- My deeds upon my head! I crave the law,
The penalty and forfeit of my bond.
(from Cymbeline, Act II, Scene III)
Hark! hark! the lark at heaven's gate sings,
provides an example of an aubade.
And Phoebus 'gins arise,
His steeds to water at those springs
On chaliced flowers that lies;
And winking Mary-buds begin
To ope their golden eyes:
With every thing that pretty is,
My lady sweet, arise: