Updated: Oct 8, 2020
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
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;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st;
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.
The speaker asks a rhetorical question whether he should compare his friend/lover to a summer’s day. His friend is the loveliest and more pleasant person. The violent winds shake the opening buds of the May tree (this indicates the warm summer season ahead; and to the freshness and exuberance of youth as it turns towards adult maturity). The prolongation of summer remains only for a short period. Sometimes the eye of heaven (sun) is too hot and shines, but often it’s golden face is dimmed and so beauty falls downward from the beauteous people. This may be of nature’s changing course or it is stripped by chance. But his friend will not fade by it. Death cannot possess him because he is set apart from time by becoming eternal through these lines. The speaker concludes by saying, as long as men breathe or they have eyes to see, as long as this sonnet lives, it will keep his friend/lover alive for ever.
Refer to know a detailed info on Sonnets and its structure:
Source: The Norton Anthology of English Literature: Volume One Seventh Edition (2000)