Skip to main content
or search all Shakespeare texts
Back to main page

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 43


Navigate this work

Shakespeare's Sonnets - Sonnet 43
Jump to

Sonnet 43



The poet, separated from the beloved, reflects on the paradox that because he dreams of the beloved, he sees better with his eyes closed in sleep than he does with them open in daylight. His desire, though, is to see not the dream image but the actual person.

When most I wink, then do mine eyes best see,
For all the day they view things unrespected;
But when I sleep, in dreams they look on thee
4And, darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou whose shadow shadows doth make bright,
How would thy shadow’s form form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light
8When to unseeing eyes thy shade shines so!
How would, I say, mine eyes be blessèd made
By looking on thee in the living day,
When in dead night thy fair imperfect shade
12Through heavy sleep on sightless eyes doth stay!
 All days are nights to see till I see thee,
 And nights bright days when dreams do show thee me.