Sonnet 33

by William Shakespeare

Even so my sun one early morn did shine,

With all triumphant splendour on my brow;

But out, alack, he was but one hour mine,

The region cloud hath mask’d him from me now.

Yet him for this my love no whit disdaineth;

Suns of the world may stain when heaven’s sun staineth.

Set Me Whereas the Sun Doth Parch the Green

by Henry Howard

Set me whereas the sun doth parch the green

Or where his beams may not dissolve the ice;

In temperate heat where he is felt and seen;

With proud people, in presence sad and wise;

Set me in base, or yet in high degree,

In long night or in the shortest day,

In clear weather or where mists thickest be,

In lost youth, or when my hairs are grey …

Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-47) invented the English sonnet form, adapting the Italian form and rhyme scheme to create the blueprint that Shakespeare, among many others, would later use. In this sonnet, Surrey adapts an Italian poem written by Petrarch, and essentially says, ‘Put me wherever you like, in the warmest sun, in youth or in old age, in earth, heaven, or hell, but I’ll still love you the same’. The poem earns its place on this list for its opening four lines, describing the sun’s ‘temperate heat’.


Just a glimmer to brighten your day

A Gleam Of Sunshine

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is the place. Stand still, my steed,

Let me review the scene,

And summon from the shadowy Past

The forms that once have been.

The Past and Present here unite

Beneath Time's flowing tide,

Like footprints hidden by a brook,

But seen on either side.

Here runs the highway to the town;

There the green lane descends,

Through which I walked to church with thee,

O gentlest of my friends!

The shadow of the linden-trees

Lay moving on the grass;

Between them and the moving boughs,

A shadow, thou didst pass.

Thy dress was like the lilies,

And thy heart as pure as they:

One of God's holy messengers

Did walk with me that day.

I saw the branches of the trees

Bend down thy touch to meet,

The clover-blossoms in the grass

Rise up to kiss thy feet,

"Sleep, sleep to-day, tormenting cares,

Of earth and folly born!"

Solemnly sang the village choir

On that sweet Sabbath morn.

Through the closed blinds the golden sun

Poured in a dusty beam,

Like the celestial ladder seen

By Jacob in his dream.

And ever and anon, the wind,

Sweet-scented with the hay,

Turned o'er the hymn-book's fluttering leaves

That on the window lay.

Long was the good man's sermon,

Yet it seemed not so to me;

For he spake of Ruth the beautiful,

And still I thought of thee.

Long was the prayer he uttered,

Yet it seemed not so to me;

For in my heart I prayed with him,

And still I thought of thee.

But now, alas! the place seems changed;

Thou art no longer here:

Part of the sunshine of the scene

With thee did disappear.

Though thoughts, deep-rooted in my heart,

Like pine-trees dark and high,

Subdue the light of noon, and breathe

A low and ceaseless sigh;

This memory brightens o'er the past,

As when the sun, concealed

Behind some cloud that near us hangs

Shines on a distant field.