Original Text

Modern Text

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 empanellèd
A quest of thoughts, all tenants to the heart,
And by their verdict is determinèd
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.
My eye and my heart have gone to war with each other. They’re fighting over who gets to control your image. My eye wants to bar my heart from the image that it formed, while my heart wants to keep my eye away fromits image. My heart insists that your image lies safely hidden inside of him, protected from eyes, which give everything away. But my eye, the defendant, denies the charges and argues that your beauty resides in him. To decide whose claim is right, I have assembled a jury consisting of my thoughts, all of which owe allegiance to the heart. And they have delivered a verdict to determine which portion of your image belongs to the eyes and which precious portion to the heart. This is what they say: My eyes have the rights to your outward appearance, and my heart has the right to love you and be loved by you.

Popular pages: Shakespeare’s Sonnets