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Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war
How to divide the conquest of thy sight;
Mine eye my heart thy picture's sight would bar,
My heart mine eye the freedom of that right.
My heart doth plead that thou in him dost lie --
A closet never pierced with crystal eyes --
But the defendant doth that plea deny
And says in him thy fair appearance lies.
To 'cide this title is impanneled
A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the heart,
And by their verdict is determined
The clear eye's moiety and the dear heart's part:
   As thus; mine eye's due is thy outward part,
   And my heart's right thy inward love of heart.

Paraphrase and Analysis of Sonnet 46


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 Games in Shakespeare's England [M-Z]
 An Elizabethan Christmas
 Clothing in Elizabethan England

 Queen Elizabeth: Shakespeare's Patron
 King James I of England: Shakespeare's Patron
 The Earl of Southampton: Shakespeare's Patron
 Going to a Play in Elizabethan London

 Ben Jonson and the Decline of the Drama
 Publishing in Elizabethan England
 Shakespeare's Audience
 Religion in Shakespeare's England

 Alchemy and Astrology in Shakespeare's Day
 Entertainment in Elizabethan England
 London's First Public Playhouse
 Shakespeare Hits the Big Time

More to Explore

 Introduction to Shakespeare's Sonnets
 Shakespearean Sonnet Style
 Six Theories About Shakespeare's Sonnets
 How to Analyze a Shakespearean Sonnet
 The Rules of Shakespearean Sonnets

 Shakespeare's Sonnets: Q & A
 Are Shakespeare's Sonnets Autobiographical?
 Petrarch's Influence on Shakespeare
 Themes in Shakespeare's Sonnets

 Shakespeare's Greatest Love Poem
 Shakespeare and the Earl of Southampton
 The Order of the Sonnets
 The Date of the Sonnets

 Who was Mr. W. H.?
 Are all the Sonnets addressed to two Persons?
 Who was The Rival Poet?


Points to Ponder... "Here as in the whole series of sonnets, the poet terms the eye the perceptive, -- the heart the sensitive faculties of his being. Intellect and sentiment. Above and beyond both, and in a certain independence of them, stands his genius. However strange this idea of his whole being may appear to us, Shakespeare adopted it. He maintains it with consistency and emphasis throughout the sonnets from beginning to end; and this it is that has caused them to remain a riddle to superficial readers." (D. Barnstorff. A key to Shakespeare's sonnets. Translated from the German by T. J. Graham.)