Betwixt mine eye and heart a league is took,
And each doth good turns now unto the other:
When that mine eye is famish’d for a look,
Or heart in love with sighs himself doth smother,
With 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,
Thy self away, art present still with me;
For thou not farther 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 eyes’ delight.

Sonnet 47: Translation to modern English

An agreement has been reached between my eye and my heart and each one is doing the other favours now. When my eye is starving for a glimpse of you or my heart is busy smothering himself sighing for you then my eye feasts on a picture of you and invites my heart to the painted banquet. Another time my eye is my heart’s guest and shares some of his thoughts of love. So either by your picture or my thoughts of love you are always with me even though you’re not here. You can’t travel further than my thoughts and I am always with them and they are always with you. If they go to sleep, as long as your picture is within sight my heart will wake and it will delight both heart and eye.

Search all of Shakespeare’s sonnets:

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