Shakespeare’s 154 sonnets are all poems of the highest quality, but there are some that have entered deeply into the public consciousness and become some of Shakespeare’s most famous work.
These most famous sonnets are quoted regularly by people at all levels of modern Western life – sometimes without even realising that they are quoting a line from one of William Shakespeare’s sonnets.
Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets explore the subject of death, love, and the slow ageing process that precedes it.
Shakespeare is well-known for his sonnets.
Here are our top picks for the most famous Shakespeare sonnet
Sonnet 1–From fairest creatures we desire increase
Sonnet 2-When forty winters shall beseige thy brow
Sonnet 3-Look in thy glass, and tell the face thou viewest
Sonnet 4-Unthrifty loveliness, why dost thou spend
Sonnet 5-Those hours, that with gentle work did frame
Sonnet 6-Then let not winter’s ragged hand deface
Sonnet 7-Lo! in the orient when the gracious light
Sonnet 8-Music to hear, why hear’st thou music sadly?
Sonnet 9-Is it for fear to wet a widow’s eye
Sonnet 10-For shame! deny that thou bear’st love to any,
Sonnet 11-As fast as thou shalt wane, so fast thou growest
Sonnet 12-When I do count the clock that tells the time,
Sonnet 18: Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
Truly a gift from Shakespeare himself, Sonnet 18 is an exemplary work of literature. Its verses are as powerful as they are eloquent.
Shakespeare addresses a young man to whom he is very close.
It would be difficult to assess whether Shakespeare was a humble man as there is no available information. It is also difficult to know if he thought of himself as the great, immortal writer that we idolize him as today.
After describing the youth, the poet says that his poetry will live on forever.
An interesting take on love and ageing.
The narrator has a variety of regrets that he agonises over as he descends into old age.
In addition to this, he also feels immense pain from having to relive the mistakes that he has made.
However, when the narrator thinks about his beloved, all of these regrets and this sense of pain evaporate.
This is a poem about loss. It’s about the loss of someone dear, a loved one .
Shakespeare makes the contrast between morning sun and clouds, and how we feel about them.
When he was loved by the beloved it felt like a glorious morning, but now that he’s lost the beloved it feels like an overcast and gloomy morning.
He says that he doesn’t condemn the person he loves because human weakness is just as much a part of life as the clouds are.
The narrator of Sonnet 73 is approaching death and thinking about how different it is from being young. I
It’s like the glowing ashes of a fire that once roared, providing light and warmth.
The things that one gave him life have destroyed his life.
He learned that you need to love life as much as possible because it’s going to end sooner than you think.
Sonnet 129: The expense of spirit in a waste of shame
Shakespeare’s sonnets are among the most famous poems in the English language.
They are written in an age when love was seen as a divine gift, which meant that it could be “falling” rather than “flying.”