William Shakespeare

(26 April 1564 - 23 April 1616 / Warwickshire)

Sonnet 130: My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun - Poem by William Shakespeare

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.


Comments about Sonnet 130: My Mistress' Eyes Are Nothing Like The Sun by William Shakespeare

  • Glen Kappy (8/25/2016 7:10:00 AM)


    once again i'm reminded why will has the reputation he does. four centuries later he still remains the master of the sonnet in english. and here he deftly combines criticism of sappy, hackneyed verse with a lovely affirmation of his beloved. will is the bard, the master. -glen kappy (Report) Reply

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  • Fabrizio Frosini (4/2/2016 10:03:00 AM)


    in ITALIAN:

    Gli occhi della mia donna non sono come il sole; il corallo è assai più rosso del rosso delle sue labbra; se la neve è bianca, allora i suoi seni sono grigi; se i capelli sono crini, neri crini crescono sul suo capo. Ho visto rose variegate, rosse e bianche, ma tali rose non le vedo sulle sue guance; e in certi profumi c'e' maggiore delizia che nel fiato che la mia donna esala. Amo sentirla parlare, eppure so che la musica ha un suono molto più gradito. Ammetto di non aver mai visto camminare una dea, ma la mia donna camminando calca la terra. Eppure, per il cielo. ritengo che la mia amata si straordinaria come ogni altra donna falsamente cantata con immagini esagerate.
    (Report) Reply

  • Fabrizio Frosini (1/25/2016 5:34:00 PM)


    With a deftness of touch that takes away any sting that might otherwise arise from implied criticism of other sonneteers, the poet satirises the tradition of comparing one's beloved to all things beautiful under the sun, and to things divine and immortal as well. It is often said that the praise of his mistress is so negative that the reader is left with the impression that she is almost unlovable. On the contrary, although the octet makes many negative comparisons, the sestet contrives to make one believe that the sound of her voice is sweeter than any music, and that she far outdistances any goddess in her merely human beauties and her mortal approachability.
    shakespeares-sonnets.com/sonnet/
    (Report) Reply

  • Reyvrex Questor Reyes (10/10/2015 8:19:00 PM)


    Sonnet 130-A

    My love, caress me only with thine eyes,
    And not with hands, so bare, where corn now grows,
    Or call to me as of brisk wind that blows,
    With thy damp breath which always brings the flies;
    Now, pour some Cognac, filled to flowing be,
    Or else, just kiss the brim of my wine cup
    Before you toast, and fully drink it up,
    Oft thou consumes the contents before me,
    Then call me from afar with shrill catcalls,
    To complement thy sharp and pointed claws,
    Which might highlight thine other childish flaws,
    That could explain, to some degree, thy falls;
    ........But mark to Heaven mine love's industry,
    ........That makes up for her lacking artistry.
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/27/2014 3:02:00 PM)


    What a delightful parody of Elizabethan romances this is! A favorite among Shakespeare's sonnets simply because it is so different, so humorous, so unselfconscious.

    And, by the way, just for the record, this is NOT my beloved, who is absolutely the opposite of the 'mistress' of this jest.
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/27/2014 2:42:00 PM)


    What a delightful parody of Elizabethan romances this is! A favorite among Shakespeare's sonnets simply because it is so different, so humorous, so unselfconscious.

    And, by the way, just for the record, this is NOT my beloved, who is absolutely the opposite of the 'mistress' of this jest.
    (Report) Reply

  • Brian Jani (4/26/2014 5:44:00 AM)


    Awesome I like this poem, check mine out (Report) Reply

  • Fiona Schwartzinoff (12/19/2013 7:55:00 PM)


    The way a love sonnet should be. One of my favorite Shakespeare pieces. (Report) Reply

  • (7/4/2010 1:56:00 AM)


    This sonnet by William Shakespeare is not an attack on his beloved mistress, nor is it a recommendation to abstain from taking a mistress. Indeed in the concluding couplet, Shakespeare declares both his exceptional love for his mistress and his purpose with the lines ‘And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
    /As any she belied with false compare.’
    Shakespeare is rejecting the normal Petrarchan conceit employed in love poems, which had become hacked-neyed by some imitator Elizabethan sonneteers. The Italian poet Petrarch used the “conceit” as a striking, usually elaborate parallel between two dissimilar things or situations.
    Shakespeare in Sonnet 130 seems to mourn the fall of ingenious, detailed, often exaggerated figures of speech, into predictable poetaster verse forms. Shakespeare has wonderfully parodied standard comparisons. His mistress does not have eyes like the sun, coral lips, white skin, golden hair, rose cheeks or a nice breath as convention dictates.
    Shakespeare is writing an accurate realistic comparative description of his mistress. Her breath stinks, it reeks; her voice grates yet he still loves to listen to her voice. She does not walk on air but on the ground, because she is a real woman, not a goddess. Rejecting all false comparisons, Shakespeare pays his mistress, the ultimate compliment, his love for her is greater and rarer than, the love for a goddess like idealized beauty. This is true love which overcomes the decay of age and the test of time. Therefore a sonnet earthed in reality attaining immense significance.
    (Report) Reply

  • (10/27/2006 9:32:00 AM)


    Its wonderful. The very fact that she is not perfect in the physical sense and yet he thinks his 'love as rare'- oh its one of those awww poems- one of my favourites! (Report) Reply

  • (1/22/2006 10:52:00 PM)


    This is my favorite sonnet from Shakespeare. I love the way it doesn't embellish the woman's features to incomparable substances. (Report) Reply

  • (12/17/2005 5:51:00 PM)


    Will at his very, very best! (Report) Reply

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Read poems about / on: red, snow, music, heaven, sun, love, sonnet, rose



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003



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