…wrote, I believe all, or most, of his sonnets while unable to perform his plays during an outbreak of the plague. There was,at this time, a moratorium placed on most public activities; therefore, concerts and plays of all kinds were, for a time, proscribed. So Shakespeare had little to do but confine himself to his rooms and write. I do not know why he chose to write sonnets at this time, however his chosen form–much simpler, and some might say elegant or sublime–was of his own devising.
His first sequence is some 127 sonnets long and deals with one subject only. Although I am far from an expert on these matters, I do rather feel that the young man to which he is speaking metaphorically in these works is more likely himself than any other, nor do I feel that he was speaking metaphorically to young men in general–although certainly there is a level on which this certainly is the case.
Although I have now written as many sonnets as did Shakespeare at that time, I have certainly not written a sequence much over 10 sonnets in length. There are too many subjects upon which I ponder, to keep to one subject for such a length of time. On the other hand, When I write of love–such sonnets could be taken as a sequence, since they explore different aspects of my love for my sweetheart. Such things as I have felt–and over so many years. I have not counted how many of these are specifically directed to my beloved; however it is bound to be quite a large share, I should think. Possibly more than half? Truly, I am not sure, but perhaps such an accounting would be a worthy pursuit.