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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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.)