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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 24


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Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 24
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Sonnet 24



This sonnet elaborates the metaphor of carrying the beloved’s picture in one’s heart. The poet claims that his eyes have painted on his heart a picture of the beloved. The poet’s body is both the picture’s frame and the shop where it is displayed. His only regret is that eyes paint only what they see, and they cannot see into his beloved’s heart.

Mine eye hath played the painter and hath stelled
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,
4And perspective it is best painter’s art.
For through the painter must you see his skill
To find where your true image pictured lies,
Which in my bosom’s shop is hanging still,
8That hath his windows glazèd with thine eyes.
Now see what good turns eyes for eyes have done:
Mine eyes have drawn thy shape, and thine for me
Are windows to my breast, wherethrough the sun
12Delights to peep, to gaze therein on thee.
 Yet eyes this cunning want to grace their art:
 They draw but what they see, know not the heart.