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My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun…

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Have fun with the poem by trying this...

This is one of Shakespeare’s most popular sonnets. A conventional reading of the poem sees the sonnet as a deeply sincere love poem that rejects the use of elaborate romantic metaphors. However, you might also like to consider a very different interpretation from the poet Don Paterson who thinks the poem is almost misogynistic in its inability to really explain the appeal of his mistress. Which interpretation do you favour? Both Daniel Radcliffe and Alan Rickman have recorded versions of this sonnet. Track them down and see which you prefer.

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Modern English Original spelling

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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.

MY Mistres eyes are nothing like the Sunne,
Currall is farre more red, then her lips red,
If snow be white, why then her brests are dun:
If haires be wiers, black wiers grow on her head:
I haue seene Roses damaskt, red and white,
But no such Roses see I in her cheekes,
And in some perfumes is there more delight,
Then in the breath that from my Mistres reekes.
I loue to heare her speake, yet well I know,
That Musicke hath a farre more pleasing sound:
I graunt I neuer saw a goddesse goe,
My Mistres when shee walkes treads on the ground.
And yet by heauen I thinke my loue as rare,
As any she beli’d with false compare.