William Shakespeare, bapt. 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616, was an English playwright, poet and actor. The world widely regards him as the greatest writer in the English language and is also the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon”. Apart from the most known plays he wrote, William Shakespeare Sonnets are also very famous each one of which touch on a range of themes.
William Shakespeare has written 154 sonnets during his lifetime. Sonnet 104 : ‘To me, fair friend, you never can be old’, is one of these. Dedicated to a beautiful young man, the poem addresses the Fair Youth, whose beauty is complimented throughout the text. He seems not to have aged the whole time the speaker has known him. Over the last three years, he has remained just as fresh and green as when they first met. But, the speaker acknowledges towards the end, he knows this can’t be the case. All people age and time moves so slowly that he just can’t see it.
In the final two lines Shakespeare addresses the future generations. He tells them that when they are alive, the most beautiful person to have ever lived will have already died. Thus this particular poem speaks on themes of age, beauty, and the future.
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William Shakespeare Sonnets
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eyed,
Such seems your beauty still. Three winters cold
Have from the forests shook three summers’ pride,
Three beauteous springs to yellow autumn turned
In process of the seasons have I seen,
Three April perfumes in three hot Junes burned,
Since first I saw you fresh, which yet are green.
Ah, yet doth beauty, like a dial-hand,
Steal from his figure, and no pace perceived;
So your sweet hue, which methinks still doth stand,
Hath motion, and mine eye may be deceived:
For fear of which, hear this, thou age unbred:
Ere you were born was beauty’s summer dead.
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