the sonnets (= poems of 14 lines) of William Shakespeare, which were probably written in the 1590s. Many of them are addressed to a young man, expressing the poet's affection for him and giving him advice. Others are written to a beautiful dark lady. The sonnets are famous for the beauty of their language, but also because no one has discovered for sure who the young man and the dark lady really were. The sonnets are dedicated to 'Mr W H ’, and his identity is also a mystery.