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Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took, Between my eyes and heart a pact is made,
And each doth good turns now unto the other: And they each now do good things for the other:
When that mine eye is famish'd for a look, When my eyes are starved for a look (at you),
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother, Or my heart smothers itself with sighs,
With my love's picture then my eye doth feast On my love's picture my eyes do feast
And to the painted banquet bids my heart; And my eyes call my heart to this beautiful picture;
Another time mine eye is my heart's guest Another time my eyes are my heart's guests
And in his thoughts of love doth share a part: And in its thoughts of love do share a part:
So, either by thy picture or my love, So, either by your picture of my love,
Thyself away art resent still with me; You are still with me when you are away;
For thou not farther than my thoughts canst move, For you are not farther than my thoughts can move,
And I am still with them and they with thee; And I am always with them [my thoughts] as they are with you.
Or, if they sleep, thy picture in my sight Or, if they are asleep, your picture before my eyes
Awakes my heart to heart's and eye's delight. Awakens my heart to the pleasures of both the heart and eye.


in love with sighs (4) ] addicted to sad thoughts that result in deep and sorrowful sighs. "Sighs were considered deleterious to health, each sigh taking a drop of blood from the heart; compare 2H6 3.2.61: "blood-consuming sighs" (Blakemore Evans 156).

painted banquet (6) ] a lovely metaphor for the picture of the young friend that the poet clings to in his absence.

Awakes...delight (14) ] This brings us back to the first line of the poem and to the "league" between the heart and eye. Now both the poet's heart and his senses are mutually delighted.

Sonnet 47 is a continuation of Sonnet 46, and together they are classified as the eye-heart sonnets (along with Sonnet 24), addressed to the poet's dear friend. There are several theories regarding the identity of the friend, but he was likely Shakespeare's patron, the Earl of Southampton, although some suggest that he was the Earl of Pembroke, to whom the First Folio was dedicated. Many scholars regard the eye-heart Sonnets as more conventional and poetically uninspired than the other poems. In his book The Fickle Glass, Paul Ramsey has this to say about the effectiveness of Sonnet 47 and the others in the eye-heart group:
Few of the sonnets are finally, in my judgment, artificial in the bad sense, overwrought with showy elaboration or conceits which have little propriety to central meanings and feelings. The eye heart Sonnets 24, 46, 47; perhaps Sonnet 38 ("How can my Muse want subject to invent" ), which is partly redeemed by the well-turned compliment of the couplet..; Sonnet 45 ("The other two, slight air and purging fire"); Sonnet 88... and Sonnets 113 and 114, on flattery in seeing. Of these, only the eye-heart poems are seriously bothersome. In the sonnets occur patches of show, metaphorical twists which fail to come off, metrical and dictional posturings one could spare." He does qualify his critique with "So much though, is plangent, charged, powerfully imaged and sounded, deeply merged with theme, as to put any serious charge of affectation out of court (163).

How to cite this article:
Shakespeare, William. Sonnet 47. Ed. Amanda Mabillard. Shakespeare Online. 8 Dec. 2009. < >.

Ramsey, Paul. The Fickle Glass: A Study of Shakespeare's Sonnets. New York: AMS Press, 1979.
Shakespeare, William. The Sonnets. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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Shakespeare's Greatest Love Poem ... Sonnet 18 is the best known and most well-loved of all 154 sonnets. It is also one of the most straightforward in language and intent. The stability of love and its power to immortalize the poetry and the subject of that poetry is the theme.