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The Fair Lord is the unnnamed young man to whom most of Shakespeare's Sonnets are addressed. Shakespeare writes of the young man in romantic and loving language, a fact which has led several commentators to suggest a homosexual relationship between them. However the language is never sexual in character, unlike the poems addressed to the Dark Lady. It is, nevertheless clearly passionate.
The earliest poems in the collection do not imply a close personal relationship, instead they recommend the benefits of marriage and children. With the famous sonnet 18 ("Shall I compare thee to a summer's day") the tone changes dramatically towards romantic intimacy. Sonnet 20 explicitly laments that the young man is not a woman. Most of the subsequent sonnets describe the ups and downs of the relationship, culminating with the affair between the poet and the Dark Lady. The relationship seems to end when the Fair Lord himself succumbs to the Lady's charms.
There have been many attempts to identify the Fair Lord. Shakespeare's patron the Earl of Southampton is the most common candidate. While Shakespeare's language often seems to imply that the 'lord' is of higher social status than himself, this may not be the case. The apparent references to the poet's inferiority may simply be part of the rhetoric of romantic submission.