Mine eye hath played the painter and hath steeledThy beauty’s form in table of my heart.My body is the frame wherein ’tis held,And pérspective it is best painter’s art.For through the painter must you see his skillTo find where your true image pictured lies,Which in my bosom’s shop is hanging still,That 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 meAre windows to my breast, wherethrough the sunDelights 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.
Shakespeare Sonnet 24 Analysis
Shakespeare compares his eyes to that of a painter “hath play’d the painter” who has drawn “hath steeled” a beautiful canvas which is compared to the youth’s beauty captured as a memory in his heart “table of my heart.” His body he says is the frame “My body is the frame” that holds the canvas “tis held”, and to possess the ability to appreciate such beauty is only the talent of a painter “that is best painter’s art.”
The youth needs to see through a painter’s eyes “through the painter” to see the true reflection of his own beauty “your true image pictured lies” that lies in the poet’s heart “my bosom’s shop is hanging still.”
He says that the youth’s eyes are a window to view the poet’s heart, “his windows glazed with thine eyes” In this way, the eyes of both persons have done each other a favor “what good turns eyes for eyes have done”
The poet’s eyes have rightly captured the beauty of the youth “Mine eyes have drawn thy shape” and the youth’s eyes “thine for me” has become a window through which the poet can gaze and see his own heart “windows to my breast”
He says even the sun loves peeping through the youth’s eyes “the sun Delights to peep” to look at the poet’s heart which is a reflection of the youth himself “therein on thee;”
In the couplet he says that eyes may be cunning “eyes this cunning” but they still need to possess the ability to see the art of true beauty “want to grace their art,” because his eyes can replicate the youth’s physical beauty “They draw” but what he sees with his eyes “but what they see”, his heart cannot feel the true feelings of the youth’s heart “know not the heart.”