Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Short Sunshine
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
 
FULL 1 many a glorious morning have I seen
Flatter the mountain tops with sovran eye,
Kissing with golden face the meadows green,
Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy;
Anon permit the basest clouds to ride        5
With ugly rack 2 on his celestial face,
And from the forlorn world his visage hide,
Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.
E’en so my sun one early morn did shine
With all-triumphant splendour on my brow;        10
But out, alack! he was but one hour mine,
The region cloud hath masked him from me now.
Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;
Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.
 
Note 1. Sonnet xxxiii. in Shake-speare’s Sonnettes, 1609. [back]
Note 2. Rack: vapours. Malone here explains rack to be the fleeting motion of the clouds: it more properly means the clouds themselves moving before the wind. Cf. Kipling in The Bell Buoy:
  When the smoking scud is blown
And the greasy wind-rack lowers.
 
 
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