Shakespeare's Sonnets: Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war

Sonnet 46

Original Text: 
SHAKE-SPEARES SONNETS (London: G. Eld for T. T. and sold by William Aspley, 1609): d2v.
1Mine eye and heart are at a mortal war
2How to divide the conquest of thy sight.
5My heart doth plead that thou in him dost lie
7But the defendant doth that plea deny,
11And by their verdict is determinèd


3] "My eye would bar my heart [from] the sight of their [jointly held] picture." their] sometimes emended to "thy" (meaning "My eye would bar my heart [from] the sight of your picture") but the apparent referent, "Mine eye, mine heart" (lines 1, 3), makes sense. This choice of reading affects the word "their" in three more lines (8, 13-14). Back to Line
4] "My heart would bar [prevent] my eye from exercising that right." freedom] freeedome Q. Back to Line
6] closet] the pericardium (OED, "closet," n., 6a). Back to Line
8] in him] in the eye. their fair appearance] sometimes emended to "thy fair appearance," but the noun phrase can mean "the fair manifestation to them (eye and heart)." Back to Line
9] side] assign to one party of several (OED, "side," v., 5). Back to Line
10] quest] inquest. tenants] "One who holds or possesses lands or tenements by any kind of title. (In English Law implying a lord, of whom the tenant holds.)" (OED, "tenant," n., 1a). Back to Line
12] moity] half, share. Back to Line
13] their] moity and part (12). Back to Line
14] their] sometimes emended to "thy," but moity and part are a possible referent. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
Ian Lancashire
RPO Edition: