While there have been many famous writers in the world, no one truly compares to William Shakespeare. Famous for so many different pieces, he is a writer who has truly done it all, which is why he is so well admired even to this day. However, perhaps the writing he is most known for is love poetry. So in this piece, we wanted to share some of the best classic love poems and sonnets written by William Shakespeare.
Classic Love Poems and Sonnets by William Shakespeare
1. Take, O Take
“TAKE, O take those lips away That so sweetly were forsworn, And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn: But my kisses bring again, Bring again— Seals of love, but seal’d in vain, Seal’d in vain!” (Source: poemhunter.com)
2. If I Should Think of Love
“If I should think of love
I’d think of you, your arms uplifted,
Tying your hair in plaits above,
The lyre shape of your arms and shoulders,
The soft curve of your winding head.
No melody is sweeter, nor could Orpheus
So have bewitched. I think of this,
And all my universe becomes perfection.
But were you in my arms, dear love,
The happiness would take my breath away,
No thought could match that ecstasy,
No song encompass it, no other worlds.
If I should think of love,
I’d think of you.” (Source: Shakespearessonnets.com)
For more classic love poems and sonnets by Shakespeare, visit, “Love Poems and Sonnets Quotes by William Shakespeare” for more.
3. Love Sonnet 18
“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 owest; Nor shall Death brag thou wander’st in his shade, When in eternal lines to time thou growest: So long as men can breathe or eyes can see, So long lives this and this gives life to thee.” (Source: Sparknotes.com)
4. Love Sonnet 40
“Take all my loves, my love, yea, take them all; What hast thou then more than thou hadst before? No love, my love, that thou mayst true love call; All mine was thine before thou hadst this more. Then if for my love thou my love receivest, I cannot blame thee for my love thou usest; But yet be blamed, if thou thyself deceivest By wilful taste of what thyself refusest. I do forgive thy robbery, gentle thief, Although thou steal thee all my poverty; And yet, love knows, it is a greater grief To bear love’s wrong than hate’s known injury. Lascivious grace, in whom all ill well shows, Kill me with spites; yet we must not be foes.” (Source: Genius.com)
For more sonnets like this, visit our piece, “Top 3 Most Romantic Sonnets About Love” for additional ideas.
5. Love Sonnet 147
“My love is as a fever, longing still For that which longer nurseth the disease, Feeding on that which doth preserve the ill, Th’ uncertain sickly appetite to please. My reason, the physician to my love, Angry that his prescriptions are not kept, Hath left me, and I desperate now approve Desire is death, which physic did except. Past cure I am, now reason is past care, And frantic-mad with evermore unrest; My thoughts and my discourse as mad men’s are, At random from the truth vainly expressed. For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, Who art as black as hell, as dark as night.” (Source: poetryfoundation.com)
In conclusion, while there are hundreds more pieces we could look over from Shakespeare, these five are some of the most well-written poems. Of course, Shakespeare has written so many more like these throughout his time, so researching his other works is a great way to learn and appreciate his style even more. Overall, his poetry is beautiful, impactful, and admirable. There’s truly no question as to why he’s kept his title as one of the best poets for centuries.
For more love poems similar to Shakespeare, be sure to check out our article, “Sad Love Poetry” for more literary masterpieces.