And Darkly
Bright

Shakespeare Sonnet 43  
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,
And, darkly bright, are bright in dark directed.
Then thou, whose shadow shadows doth make bright—
How would thy shadow’s form happy show
To the clear day with thy much clearer light,
When 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
Through 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.
MODERN TEXT
My eyes work best when I’m asleep, because all day they look at things I don’t care about. When I sleep, my dreaming eyes alight on you and glitter brightly in the dark, having found your bright image there. Given that your shadowy dream-image brightens even the dark, how bright might you appear in daylight, when your own light is so much clearer? How bright, when your shadow shines so brightly to my eyes blinded by darkness? What good would it do my eyes to see you in the daytime when they already look at your beautiful image in the dead of night, as I sleep? Every day is as dark as night until I get to see you again, and every night is as bright as day when I see you in my dreams.

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