Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: The Sonnets (Modern)
  • Editor: Michael Best

  • Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Michael Best
    Not Peer Reviewed

    The Sonnets (Modern)

    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;
    680My 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 empanelled
    685A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the heart,
    And by their verdict is determined
    The clear eyes' moiety, and the dear heart's part.
    As thus, mine eyes' due is thy outward part,
    And my heart's right, thy inward love of heart.
    Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
    And each doth good turns now unto the other;
    When that mine eye is famished for a look,
    Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,
    695With my love's picture then my eye doth feast,
    And to the painted banquet bids my heart;
    Another time mine eye is my heart's guest,
    And in his thoughts of love doth share a part.
    So either by thy picture or my love,
    700Thyself away, art present still with me;
    For thou no further than my thoughts canst move,
    And I am still with them, and they with thee;
    Or if they sleep, thy picture in my sight
    Awakes my heart to heart's and eye's delight.
    How careful was I, when I took my way,
    Each trifle under truest bars to thrust,
    That to my use it might unused stay
    From hands of falsehood, in sure wards of trust;
    710But thou, to whom my jewels trifles are,
    Most worthy comfort, now my greatest grief,
    Thou best of dearest, and mine only care,
    Art left the prey of every vulgar thief.
    Thee have I not locked up in any chest,
    715Save where thou art not, though I feel thou art,
    Within the gentle closure of my breast,
    From whence at pleasure thou mayst come and part;
    And even thence thou wilt be stol'n, I fear,
    For truth proves thievish for a prize so dear.