That millions of strange shadows on you tend?
Since every one hath, every one, one shade,
And you, but one, can every shadow lend:
Describe Adonis, and the counterfeit
Is poorly imitated after you;
On Helen’s cheek all art of beauty set,
And you in Grecian tires are painted new;
Speak of the spring and foison of the year,
The one doth shadow of your beauty show,
The other as your bounty doth appear,
And you in every blessed shape we know.
In all external grace you have some part,
But you like none, none you, for constant heart.
The middle part is a bit more clear and direct — describe Adonis (you know, a handsome dude) and you’ll find that you’re really describing the subject of the sonnet. Likewise with Helen (also famous for being hot, you see) – paint a picture of her, and you’ll end up with a picture of Shakespeare’s beloved. If you want to get more symbolic let’s talk about springtime and bountiful harvests…but yet somehow we see an image of you there, too. What’s up with that? Everywhere we look, there you are.
It’s not until the last line that we get that little flip — everything *else* is just a shadow of *you*, but when it comes to your “constant heart”, you are unique. Nobody ..ahem…holds a candle to you. (Get it? Candle? Shadow? :))
I can’t really see anything negative about this one, unless that last line is straight up sarcasm.