Shakespeare's Sonnets


  • Intro

    The sonnet is a 14-line fixed-pattern rhyming verse, borrowed from Italian poetry. Shakespeare was a master at creating them. His collection of 154 sonnets, first printed in 1609 but written many years earlier, is somewhat mysterious. Scholars have yet to reach agreement on the identity of either the ‘Fair Youth’ or the ‘Dark Lady’ to whom many of the poems are addressed.



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    Sonnets 135 and 136 play on the various meanings of ‘will’. The word appears 20 times, flexing its uses to convey the future, carnal desire and longing, with the author’s name William and its popular meaning in Elizabethan slang: male and female sexual organs.


    Shelfmark: C.21.c.44.

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