So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Because of this poem, the young man — unlike Summer — has an eternal lease on life. A nice compliment to the poem’s recipient, and also to the poet.
As long as people can read the poem, the young man will live on. He is given something approaching eternal life through the poem, unlike all other beauty in the world, which is temporary.
Although some have suggested that the gender of the poem’s recipient is a woman (and others that it is unspecified) the weight of critical opinion is that the recipient is a man. Here’s one example.
To help improve the meaning of these lyrics, visit “Sonnet 18” by William Shakespeare and leave a comment on the lyrics box