Shakespeare’s 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 dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimmed:
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.

In my college days I did not think much of this sonnet and even began to doubt whether it was Shakespeare’s. The imagery appeared to be quite ordinary and looked like little more than use of the typical Elizabethan hyperbole. Later I thought the poet was merely being sarcastic about the charms of the beloved. Much later, in life, I thought Shakespeare was merely debunking the genre of love poetry of the time. I still see a trace of irony in the way he tells the object of his love that for all the beauty that she possesses there is only one way in which she could be immortalized i.e. through his own poetry!