[ xlv << ] [ >> xlvii ] [ Change line numbering ]

William Shakespeare, Sonnet xlvi

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 pierc'd with crystal eyes,)
But the defendent does that plea deny,
And says in him thy fair appearance lies.
To 'cide this title is impannelled [*]
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 thine outward part,
And my heart's right thine inward love of heart.


line 3: Thy. The original has their; and it is remarkable that the same typographical error occurs four times in this one Sonnet -- a pretty convincing proof that no competent or authorised person superintended the publication. Errors of this sort are very frequent in the original; but we have not thought it necessary to notice them when there can be no doubt of the meaning. [ Back to text ]

line 9: 'Cide. Malone explains that this is a contraction of decide. The original reads side. [ Back to text ]

line 10: Quest -- inquest or jury. [ Back to text ]

line 12: Moiety -- portion. [ Back to text ]

Most notes to Shakespeare's sonnets are from Charles Knight's edition, but those in square brackets are mine.