The story behind, “My Mistress”

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks;
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound;
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.

—William Shakespeare

This poem is a one of Shakespeare famous sonnet. It was written during the Elizabethan era and during this time many poets work was based on Petrarch. Petrarch was an Italian Poet that became very famous for is sonnet sequence in praise of a women he calls Laura. He was also an important idol during the rediscovery of Greek and Latin literature. During this time period many other poets wrote  in praise of a women they had come to love/court. When Shakespeare came out with this poem it was mocking this time period in literature and the other poets. It was very popular to compare nature’s elements to women to show affection. The elements that Shakespeare used in this poem were very commonly seen. He uses a new structure within this sonnet, it has a very straightforward and bold theme throughout the whole poem. There is tons of imagery and comparisons that are made throughout.

I choose this poem because i thought it was very different from Shakespeare’s  traditional sonnets, and other poems that were written during this time period.


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