Critics have praised the sonnets as being profoundly intimate and meditating on the values of love, lust, procreation, and death. Nowaday, Shakespeare is ranked as all-time most popular English poets on history
- A third and shorter narrative poem, A Lover's Complaint, was printed in the first collection of Shakespeare's sonnets. Most scholars agree now that it was also written by Shakespeare, though that was contested for some time. The poem tells the story of a young woman who is driven to misery by a persuasive suitor's attempts to seduce her. It is not regarded by critics to be his finest work.
Another short poem, The Phoenix and the Turtle, despairs the death of a legendary phoenix and his faithful turtle dove lover. It speaks to the frailty of love and commitment in a world where only death is certain.