Antipoetry “Sonnet 130” by Shakespeare

In this chapter, it talks about how poet uses “antipoems” to describe what the poem is about. A famous poet who uses “antipoems” is Shakespeare.

Sonnet 130

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 damask’d, 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.


This sonnet compares the speaker’s lover to a number of other beauties but never in the lover’s favor. Her eyes are “nothing like the sun,” her lips are less red than coral; compared to white snow, her breasts are dun-colored, and her hairs are like black wires on her head.  The speaker also say he has seen roses separated by color into red and white, but he sees no such roses in his mistress’s cheeks; and he says the breath that “reeks” from his mistress is less delightful than perfume. But he admits that, though he loves her voice, music “hath a far more pleasing sound,” and that, though he has never seen a goddess, his mistress unlike goddesses, walks on the ground. But at the end, the speaker say that any love in which false comparisons were invoked to describe the loved one’s beauty.


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