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Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee,
That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness?
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs,
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee,
And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great,
Under the canopies of costly state,
And lulled with sounds of sweetest melody?
O thou dull god! why liest thou with the vile,
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watch-case, or a common 'larum-bell?
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains
In cradle of the rude imperious surge,
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them
With deafening clamors in the slippery clouds,
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes ?
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude ;
And in the calmest and most stillest night,
With all appliances and means to boot,
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down;
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.



A FLOCK of sheep that leisurely pass by
One after one; the sound of rain, and bees
Murmuring; the fall of rivers, winds and seas,

Smooth fields, white sheets of water, and pure

sky ;I've thought of all by turns, and still I lie Sleepless; and soon the small birds' melodies Must hear, first uttered from my orchard trees, And the first cuckoo's melancholy cry. Even thus last night, and two nights more, I lay, And could not win thee, Sleep, by any stealth: So do not let me wear to-night away ; Without thee what is all the morning's wealth? Come, blessèd barrier between day and day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health !




SLEEP, love, sleep!
The dusty day is done.
Lo! from afar the freshening breezes sweep
Wide over groves of balm,
Down from the towering palm,
In at the open casement cooling run,
And round thy lowly bed,
Thy bed of pain,
Bathing thy patient head,
Like grateful showers of rain,
They come;
While the white curtains, waving to and fro,
Fan the sick air ;
And pityingly the shadows come and go,
With gentle human care,
Compassionate and dumb.

The dusty day is done,
The night begun;
While prayerful watch I keep,
Sleep, love, sleep!
Is there no magic in the touch
Of fingers thou dost love so much ?
Fain would they scatter poppies o'er thee now;
Or, with its mute caress,
The tremulous lip some soft nepenthe press
Upon thy weary lid and aching brow;
While prayerful watch I keep,
Sleep, love, sleep!

On the pagoda spire
The bells are swinging,
Their little golden circlet in a flutter
With tales the wooing winds have dared to utter,
Till all are ringing,
As if a choir
Of golden-nested birds in heaven were singing,
And with a lulling sound
The music floats around,
And drops like balm into the drowsy ear;.
Commingling with the hum
Of the Sepoy's distant drum,
And lazy beetle ever droning near.
Sounds these of deepest silence born,
Like night made visible by morn;
So silent that I sometimes start
To hear the throbbings of my heart,
And watch, with shivering sense of pain,
To see thy pale lids lift again.

The lizard, with his mouse-like eyes,

Peeps from the inortise in surprise
At such strange quiet after day's harsh din;
Then boldly ventures out,
And looks about,
And with his hollow feet
Treads his small evening beat,
Darting upon his prey
In such a tricky, winsome sort of way,
Ilis delicate marauding seems no sin.
And still the curtains swing,
But noiselessly ;
The bells a melancholy murmur ring,
As tears were in the sky :
More heavily the shadows fall,
Like the black foldings of a pall,
Where juts the rough beam from the wall;
The candles flare
With fresher gusts of air;
The beetle's drone
Turns to a dirge-like, solitary moan;
Night deepens, and I sit, in cheerless doubt alone.



To sleep I give myself away,
Unclasp the fetters of the mind,
Forget the sorrows of the day,
The burdens of the heart unbind.
With empty sail this tired bark
Drifts out upon the sea of rest,
While all the shore behind grows dark
And silence reigns from east to west.

At last awakes the hidden breeze
That bears me to the land of dreams,
Where music sighs among the trees
And murmurs in the winding streams.

O weary day, 0 weary day,
That dawns in fear and ends in strife,
That brings no cooling draught to allay
The burning fever thirst of life;

O sacred night, when angel hands
Are pressed upon the throbbing brow,
And when the soul on shining sands
Descends with angels from the prow,

And sees soft skies and meadows sweet, And blossoming lanes that wind and wind To bowers where friends long parted meet And sit again with arms entwined,

And catch the perfumed breeze that blows
From pink-plumed orchards sloping fair
And every fresh-expanding rose
That throws sweet kisses to the air.

O sacred night, O silvery shore,
O blossoming lanes that wind and wind,
Ye are my refuge more and more
From ghosts that haunt the waking mind.

To sleep I give myself away,
Forget the visions of unrest
That came through all the clamorous day,
And drift into the silent west.


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