Shakespeare’s sonnets are a collection of 154 sonnets that deal with themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty and mortality. The quarto ends with “A Lover’s Complaint”, a narrative poem of 47 seven-line stanzas written in rhyme royal.
The first 17 poems which are traditionally called the procreation sonnets, are addressed to a young man urging him to marry and have children in order to immortalise his beauty by passing it to the next generation. Other sonnets express the speaker’s love for a young man, brood upon loneliness, death, and the transience of life seem to criticise the young man for preferring a rival poet, express ambiguous feelings for the speaker’s mistress, and pun on the poet’s name. The final two sonnets are allegorical treatments of Greek epigrams referring to the “little love-god” Cupid.
Pandorica has made several trademark images that involve some of these sonnets. Have a read!
Here is the first Shakespeare sonnet.