What’s Your Favorite Sonnet?

I’ve asked on Twitter, I’ve asked on Facebook (* so if you’ve answered there no need to answer again :)) so now I’m asking here for people that only read the blog:

What’s your favorite sonnet?  The catch : you can’t answer 18, 29, 116 or 130. 

Everybody and their mother has been inundated with those particular sonnets over the years.  What I’m looking for is the next group, the ones that the Shakespeare geeks love that, with a little more exposure, we can get the rest of the world to acknowledge.

So, hit me.  Other than those famous four, what’s your favorite sonnet, and why?  To make the results the most objective, try to come up with your answer before you look at the comments, otherwise you’ll never be able to tell if your vote was swayed.

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Sonnet?

  1. These two: 129 ("Th' expense of spirit in a waste of shame…") and 121 ("'Tis better to be vile than vile esteem'd"). The first one just crackles infernally, deliciously, and the second is the surest sign in the sonnets of Shakespeare the cheeky moral anarchist. Terrific stuff. For the cliches, the other ones may get a bit wearied but 116 thrills me no matter how many times I read it.

  2. After having been asked the question often, I decided I could not get away with saying there are too many to choose from and settled on Sonnet 52: ("So am I as the rich whose blessed key…"). My choice is based not only on the beauty of the poetry, but the elegance of thought. As I note in my book, the sonnet presents a series of scenes in which the beloved is compared with several things. "The last [a fine garment], seemingly the most trifling of the list is presented with such delicious pleasure that it dwarfs the rest, unfolding its imprisoned pride with a wealth of specialness."

  3. I should also say that I like GTeedle's choices, as well.
    And I will mention my son's favorite: 128 ("How oft when thou my music music playst.."). Perhaps I should note that he is a musicician (although the sonnet has been his favorite since he was about 10 years old).

  4. Darn, I was going to say 29.
    Other than that, I guess I like 12 (the clock one). It's so interesting to see how it fits in with the many other poems by different poets of the same tradition (for example, Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" and Herrick's "Gather ye Rosebuds"), and considering how different poets write poems that are obviously so similar; because every incarnation brings new ideas to the age-old themes of time and love.

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