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Shakespeare Saturdays: Sonnet 24

Shakespeare saturdays

Welcome to a very short post about sonnet 24.

DividerSonnet 24

Mine eye hath play’d the painter and hath stell’d
Thy beauty’s form in table of my heart;
My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,
And perspective it is the 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,
That hath his windows glazed 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, where-through the sun
Delights 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.

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Sonnet 24 is a fairly standard Shakespearean sonnet. Shakespeare wasn’t trying to do anything special or interesting with this sonnet.

The entire poem centres around a dialogue between the eyes and the heart – a common cliché during Shakespeare’s time – and this makes the poem rather conventional for it’s time. Unfortunately, this means that I don’t actually have a lot to say about this poem. There’s been some debate around Shakespeare’s use of perspective, with some scholars arguing it is referring to a Renaissance optical allusion – known as a ‘perspective house’ – while others claim it is being used in the modern way.

Some people think that this poem is a spoof of other poetry of this time – probably because it doesn’t fit their idea of the genius that is Shakespeare – but a few take the poem seriously. I’ve never actually heard anyone talk about sonnet 24 so I don’t know what modern scholarship thinks about it. I’m starting to feel sorry for this poem now – which is weird because it’s a poem – but it’s a shame that certain poems are overlooked just because they fit in with the style of Shakespeare’s time.

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It’s a nice poem, if a tad boring, but I liked the final couplet a lot.


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4 thoughts on “Shakespeare Saturdays: Sonnet 24

      1. Yes, it is the whole thing about if art is the mirror or the perception, and from which aspect the artist uses, and then extrapolating that to relationships, and self-perception.

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