This is a romantic poem in praise of the beauty of a lover. Note that the subject matter of romantic poetry is the admiration of nature, beauty/love inclusive. The beauty of the lover (the subject matter of discourse) is quite incomparable which prompts the rhetorical question in line one of the poem: “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day”? Of all the seasons, summer seems to be the best. In the Western world, it is the period for vacations, picnics and fun fare, especially for lovers. The speaker does not end without his praise for the lover as he goes on to say: “Thou art more lovely and more temperate”. According to the poet, summer is often characterized by rough winds, shortness and hot sun, it may also affect colors or complexions. That said, the speaker is strongly optimistic that even though the summer may affect and upset certain natural settings, that summer of his love has no end: “By chance, or nature’s changing course, untrimm’d’. But thy eternal summer shall not fade nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st”. Finally, the poet even dares death and boasts that “Nor shall death brag thou wonderest in his shade”. And as long as there is life, he concludes, love lives.
“So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee”
This is why it is said that a thing of beauty is a joy forever hence his love is unshakeable and indestructible as long as life exists.