Shakespeare Sonnet 33 ORIGINAL TEXT
Full many a glorious morning have I seenFlatter the mountain tops with sovereign eye,Kissing with golden face the meadows green,Gilding pale streams with heavenly alchemy,Anon permit the basest clouds to rideWith ugly rack on his celestial face,And from the fórlorn world his visage hide,Stealing unseen to west with this disgrace.Ev’n so my sun one early morn did shineWith all triumphant splendor on my brow;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 heav‘n’s sun staineth.
Shakespeare Sonnet 33 MODERN TEXT (Translation)
Shakespeare Sonnet 33 Analysis
The poet says he has been fortunate to see beautiful mornings “many a glorious morning” where the sun rises over the mountaintops “flatter the mountain tops” making them even more beautiful and appear like royalty “with sovereign eye.” The morning sun kisses the green meadows with its golden color and turns pale looking streams “Gilding pale streams” into the color of gold. He uses the imagery of alchemy “with heaven alchemy” where alchemy was considered a magical science of turning metals into gold.
It must be noted that the theme of the poem is betrayal and hypocrisy where the poet has changed his attitude of the fair lord or friend to whom his previous sonnets were addressed. The imagery of beauty is replaced throughout the sonnet with something ugly which is reflective of his love and the beautiful relationship he shared with his friend that has now turned sour.
In the second quatrain, he says ugly clouds “Anon permit the basest clouds” overshadows the celestial sun “ugly rack on his celestial face.” He is actually comparing his friend to a beautiful sun about to set saying that he hides from the world “forlorn world his visage hide” and runs away in disgrace just like the sun becoming invisible as it sets in the west “stealing unseen to west with this disgrace:”
Again comparing the friend to the sun he recalls how they shared a beautiful friendship that shone like a blessing “my sun one early morn did shine” with a splendid glow on his forehead “splendour on my brow;” but unfortunately that moment he feels was very short-lived “he was but one hour mine” and the world has covered him up in ugliness just like clouds overshadow everything “region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.”
But then he expresses hope saying that all these things do not weaken his love for the friend or fair lord “my love no whit disdaineth” and just like the sun sets and rises again or is shadowed by clouds temporarily, “Suns of the world may stain” then the same thing is happening to his friend whom he compares to a sun of heaven “heaven’s sun staineth.”