Poems from the 16th Century

The 16th century is also known as the English Renaissance period. The writers of this century took English poetry and drama to new heights. Beginning from Thomas Wyatt and Edmund Spenser to William Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Christopher Marlowe belonged to this period. They experimented with classical forms and explored new fields.

Writers from the contemporary age as well as the previous periods sought inspiration from their works.

Our revels now are ended by William Shakespeare

‘Our revels now are ended’ is the name given to one of the best-known speeches from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It can be found in Act IV, Scene 1, and is spoken by Prospero. 

Our revels now are ended by William Shakespeare Visual Representation

How Many Miles to Babylon?

‘How Many Miles to Babylon?’ is a children’s nursery rhyme and singing game that was first recorded in the 19th-century. 

How Many Miles to Babylon? Visual Representation

Of Treason by John Harington

‘Of Treason’ by John Harington is a two-line poem that uses humor and wit to describes the nature of successful and unsuccessful treason.

Of Treason by John Harington Visual Representation

The North Wind Doth Blow

‘The North Wind Doth Blow,’ also sometimes known as ‘The Robin,’ is a short English nursery rhyme that may date as far back as 16th century England.

the north wind doth blow

Sonnet 117 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 117,’ also known as ‘Accuse me thus: that I have scanted all,’ is a poem that delves into the complexities of relationships. The poet’s speaker emphasizes everything he’s done wrong and makes use his beloved understands them all.

Sonnet 128 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 128,’ also known as ‘How oft when thou, my music, music play’st,’ is a sensuous poem. In it, the speaker describes the way his mistress plays the harpsichord and how he longs to touch her.

Sonnet 128 by William Shakespeare visual representation

Sonnet 154 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 154,’ also known as ‘The little Love-god lying once asleep,’ describes how impossible it is for the speaker to rid himself of his love. There’s nothing he can do to stop loving the Dark Lady.

Sonnet 154 by William Shakespeare visual representation

Sonnet 153 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 153,’ also known as ‘Cupid laid by his brand and fell asleep,’ describes the speaker’s attempts to cure his lovesickness. He eventually fails and returns to the Dark Lady.

Sonnet 153 by WIlliam Shakespeare visual representation

Sonnet 152 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 152,’ also known as ‘In loving thee thou know’st I am forsworn,’ addresses the state of the speaker’s relationship with the Dark Lady. He seems to be willing to address that there’s no future for them.

sonnet 152 by william shakespeare

Sonnet 149 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 149,’ also known as ‘Canst thou, O cruel! say I love thee not,’ is about the speaker’s love and lust for the Dark Lady. His interest in her has evolved into an obsession that controls his life.

sonnet 149 by william shakespeare visual representation

Sonnet 151 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 151,’ also known as ‘Love is too young to know what conscience is,’ is a lustful poem. It explores the speaker’s uncontrollable longing for the Dark Lady. 

Sonnet 151 by William Shakespeare Visual Representation

Sonnet 150 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 150,’ also known as ‘O! from what power hast thou this powerful might,’ explores the ways the Dark Lady controls Shakespeare’s speaker. She makes him love her even though she’s cruel to him

Sonnet 148 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 148,’ also known as ‘O me! What eyes hath Love put in my head,’ uses figurative language to describe the speaker’s state of mind. He’s blinded to his mistress’s faults, just like the sun becomes blinded by rain and clouds.

Sonnet 146 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 146,’ also known as ‘Poor soul, the centre of my sinful earth,’ addresses the state of the speaker’s soul. He admonishes it for allowing him to worry about earthly pleasures.

Sonnet 147 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 147,’ also known as ‘My love is as a fever, longing still,’ is a dark poem. It expresses the speaker’s loss of control over his body and mind. The Dark Lady has consumed his life like an illness.

Sonnet 147 by william shakespeare

Sonnet 145 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 145,’ also known as ‘Those lips that Love’s own hand did make,’ details a woman’s changing regard for the speaker. It’s a simple poem with good examples of figurative language.

Sonnet 144 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 144,’ also known as ‘Two loves I have of comfort and despair,’ expresses the speaker’s fears in regard to the Fair Youth’s purity. The poem is concerned with how he may be corrupted by the Dark Lady.

Sonnet 142 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 142,’ also known as ‘Love is my sin, and thy dear virtue hate,’ is one of the sonnets Shakespeare wrote about the Dark Lady. It compares love and sin.

sonnet 142 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 140 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 140,’ also known as ‘Be wise as thou art cruel; do not press,’ contains the speaker’s threats towards the Dark Lady. He says he will expose her affairs and flirtatious behavior if she doesn’t change her ways.

Sonnet 139 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 139,’ also known as ‘O, call not me to justify the wrong,’ expresses the speaker’s longing that the Dark Lady stop treating him so cruelly. By the end, he gives in and accepts his fate. 

Sonnet 139 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 138 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 138,’ also known as ‘When my love swears that she is made of truth,’ is a poem about the lies at the heart of a relationship. It depicts the necessity of two lovers misleading one another. 

Sonnet 137 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 137,’ also known as ‘Thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes,’ is about the speaker’s love for the Dark Lady. It condemns love for misleading the speaker about her.

Sonnet 137 by William Shakespeare

Sonnet 136 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 136,’ also known as ‘If thy soul check thee that I come so near,’ is one of the “Will” sonnets. It describes the speaker’s lust for the Dark Lady.

Sonnet 133 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 133,’ also known as ‘Beshrew that heart that makes my heart to groan,’ is a poem about the speaker’s toxic relationship with the Dark Lady. He tries to find a way to improve his circumstances but admits he’s trapped.

Sonnet 135 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 135,’ also known as ‘Whoever hath her wish, thou hast thy Will,’ is an unusual sonnet within Shakespeare’s oeuvre. It expresses the speaker’s desire to sleep with the Dark Lady and counted among her many lovers.

Sonnet 125 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 125,’ also known as ‘Were’t ought to me I bore the canopy,’ is an expression of the speaker’s love for the Fair Youth. He declares the type of love he’s prepared to give and what he wants in return.

Sonnet 124 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 124,’ also known as ‘If my dear love were but the child of state,’ is a poem about the speaker’s superior love. It has withstood a great deal and will last the test of time. 

Sonnet 120 by William Shakespeare

‘Sonnet 120,’ also known as ‘That you were once unkind befriends me now,’ is one of several sonnets the speaker spends apologizing for his infidelity. He hopes their sins will cancel one another out. 

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