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With shield of proof shield'me from out the prease That sees through tears the mummers leap,
Would childlike on His love repose
Who "giveth his beloved sleep." Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed ;
ELIZABETH BARRETT BROWNING.
FROM "SECOND PART OF HENRY Iv."
KING HENRY. How many thousand of my
Are at this hour asleep!-0 sleep! O gentle SLEEP.
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frighted thee, Of all the thoughts of God that are
| That thou no more wilt weigh my eyelids down, Borne inward unto souls afar,
And steep my senses in forgetfulness? Among the Psalmist's music deep,
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, Now tell me if that any is
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, For gift or grace surpassing this,
And hushed with buzzing night-flies to thy “He giveth his beloved sleep"?
Than in the perfumed chambers of the great, What would we give to our beloved ?
Under the canopies of costly state, The hero's heart, to be unmoved,
And lulled with sounds of sweetest melody! The poet's star-tuned harp, to sweep,
| 0 thou dull god! why liest thou with the vile, The patriot's voice, to teach and rouse,
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly conch, The monarch's crown, to light the brows?
A watch-case, or a common 'larum-bell! “He giveth his beloved sleep."
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast What do we give to our beloved ?
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains A little faith, all undisproved, —
In cradle of the rude imperious surge, A little dust, to overweep, —
And in the visitation of the winds, And bitter memories, to make
Who take the ruffian billows by the top,
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them The whole earth blasted for our sake,
With deafening clamors in the slippery clouds, “He giveth his beloved sleep."
That, with the hurly, death itself awakes ? “Sleep soft, beloved !" we sometimes say,
Canst thou, O partial sleep! give thy repose But have no tune to charm away
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude ; Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep;
And in the calmest and most stillest night, But never doleful dreain again
With all appliances and means to boot, Shall break the happy slumber when
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down, “He giveth his beloved sleep."
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown. O earth, so full of dreary noise !
FROM "FIRST PART OF HENRY IV." O men, with wailing in your voice !
GLENDOWER. She bids you on the wanton O delvéd gold the wailers heap !
rushes lay you down, O strife, O curse, that o'er it fall !
And rest your gentle head upon her lap, God strikes a silence through you all,
And she will sing the song that pleaseth yon, And "giveth his beloved sleep."
And on your eyelids crown the god of sleep,
Charming your blood with pleasing heaviness ; His dews drop mutely on the hill,
Making such difference betwixt wake and sleep, His cloud above it saileth still,
As is the difference betwixt day and night, Though on its slope men sow and reap; The hour before the heavenly-harnessed team More softly than the dew is shed,
Begins his golden progress in the east. Or cloud is floated overhead, “He giveth his beloved sleep."
Weariness For me, my heart, that erst did go
Can snore upon the flint, when restive sloth Most like a tired child at a show,
| Finds the down pillow hard.
How wonderful is Death!
Death and his brother Sleep! One, pale as yonder waning moon, With lips of lurid blue ;
The other, rosy as the morn When, throned on ocean's wave,
It blushes o'er the world : Yet both so passing wonderful !
SLEEPLESSNESS. 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, blesséd barrier between day and day, Dear mother of fresh thoughts and joyous health !
Hath then the gloomy Power Whose reign is in the tainted sepulchres
Seized on her sinless soul ?
Must then that peerless form Which love and admiration cannot view
Without a beating heart, those azure veins Which steal like streams along a field of snow, That lovely outline which is fair
As breathing marble, perish ?
Must putrefaction's breath
But loathsomeness and ruin ?
Spare nothing but a gloomy theme, On which the lightest heart might moralize?
Or is it only a sweet slumber
Stealing o'er sensation,
Chaseth into darkness ?
Will lanthe wake again,
In the ancient town of Bruges,
Yes! she will wake again, Although her glowing limbs are motionless,
And silent those sweet lips,
Once breathing eloquence
Her dewy eyes are closed,
On the earth and in the air,
THE DREAM OF CLARENCE.
FROM "RICHARD 11."
CLARENCE. O, I have passed a miserable night! For a moment woke the echoes
So full of fearful dreams, of ugly sights, Of the ancient town of Bruges.
That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
I would not spend another such a night, But amid my broken slumbers
Though 't were to buy a world of happy days, Still I heard those magic numbers,
So full of dismal terror was the time! As they loud proclaimed the flight
Methought that I had broken from the Tower, And stole marches of the night;
And was embarked to cross to Burgundy, Till their chimes in sweet collision
And, in my company, my brother Gloster, Mingled with each wandering vision, | Who from my cabin tempted me to walk, Mingled with the fortune-telling
Upon the hatches; thence we looked toward Gypsy-bands of dreams and fancies,
England, Which amid the waste expanses
And cited up a thousand heavy times, Of the silent land of trances
During the wars of York and Lancaster, Have their solitary dwelling ;
That had befallen us. As we paced along All else seemed asleep in Bruges,
Upon the giddy footing of the hatches, In the quaint old Flemish city.
Methought that Gloster stumbled ; and, in fall
ing, And I thought how like these chimes Struck me, that thought to stay him, overboard, Are the poet's airy rhymes,
Into the tumbling billows of the main. All his rhymes and roundelays,
O Lord ! methought what pain it was to drown! His conceits, and songs, and ditties, What dreadful noise of water in mine ears ! From the belfry of his brain,
What sights of ugly death within mine eyes! Scattered downward, though in vain, Methought I saw a thousand fearful wrecks ; On the roofs and stones of cities!
A thousand men that fishes gnawed upon; For by night the drowsy ear
Wedges of gold, great anchors, heaps of pearl, Under its curtains cannot hear,
Inestimable stones, unvalued jewels, And by day men go their ways,
All scattered in the bottom of the sea : Hearing the music as they pass,
Some lay in dead men's skulls; and in those holes But deeming it no more, alas!
Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept Than the hollow sound of brass.
|(As 't were in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems,
That wooed the slimy bottom of the deep, Yet perchance a sleepless wight,
And mocked the dead bones that lay scattered by. Lodging at some humble inn
BRAKENBURY. Had you such leisure, in the In the narrow lanes of life,
time of death, When the dusk and hush of night
To gaze upon these secrets of the deep? Shut out the incessant din
CLAR. Methought I had ; and often did I strive Of daylight and its toil and strife,
To yield the ghost: but still the envious flood May listen with a calm delight
Stopt in my soul, and would not let it forth To the poet's melodies,
To seek the empty, vast, and wandering air; Till he hears, or dreams he hears,
But smothered it within my panting bulk, Intermingled with the song,
Which almost burst to belch it in the sea. Thoughts that he has cherished long;
BRAK. Awaked you not with this sore agony ! Hears amid the chime and singing
CLAR. No, no, my dream was lengthened after The bells of his own village ringing,
life; And wakes, and finds his slumberous eyes 10, then began the tempest to my soul ! Wet with most delicious tears.
I passed, methought, the melancholy flood,
With that grim fetryman which poets write of, Thus dreamed I, as by night I lay
Unto the kingdom of perpetual night. In Bruges, at the Fleur-de-Blé,
The first that there did greet my stranger soul Listening with a wild delight
Was my great father-in-law, renownéd Warwick; To the chimes that, through the night,
Who cried aloud, “What scourge for perjury Rang their changes from the Belfry
Can this dark monarchy afford false Clarence ?" Of that quaint old Flemish city.
And so he vanished : then came wandering by HENRY WADSWORTH LONGFELLOW. | A shadow like an angel, with bright hair
Dabbled in blood; and he shrieked out aloud, Not by the sport of nature, but of man : “Clarence is come, - false, fleeting, perjured These two, a maiden and a youth, were there Clarence,
| Gazing, — the one on all that was beneath
As the sweet moon on the horizon's verge,
SHAKESPEARE. And that was shining on him ; he had looked
Upon it till it could not pass away ;
He had no breath, no being, but in hers;
She was his voice ; he did not speak to her,
Which colored all his objects ; - he had ceased Our life is twofold ; sleep hath its own world,
To live within himself : she was his life,
The ocean to the river of his thoughts,
Which terminated all ; upon a tone, And a wide realm of wild reality,
A touch of hers, his blood would ebb and flow, And dreams in their development have breath,
And his cheek change tempestuously, --- his heart And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy;
Unknowing of its cause of agony. They leave a weight upon our waking thoughts,
But she in these fond feelings had no share : They take a weight from off waking toils,
Her sighs were not for him ; to her he was They do divide our being ; they become
Even as a brother, — but no more ; 't was much, A portion of ourselves as of our time,
For brotherless she was, save in the name And look like heralds of eternity;
Her infant friendship had bestowed on him ;
Herself the solitary scion left
Which pleased him, and yet pleased him not, They make us what we were not, - what they
and why? will,
Time taught him a deep answer -- when she loved And shake us with the vision that's gone by,
Another ; even now she loved another, The dread of vanished shadows. -— Are they so?
And on the summit of that hill she stood Is not the past all shadow? What are they?
Looking afar if yet her lover's steed
Kept pace with her expectancy, and flew.
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. I would recall a vision which I dreamed
There was an ancient mansion, and before Perchance in sleep, — for in itself a thought,
Its walls there was a steed caparisoned ; A slumbering thought, is capable of years,
Within an antique oratory stood
The boy of whom I spake ; -- he was alone,
He sate him down, and seized a pen, and traced I saw two beings in the hues of youth
Words which I could not guess of; then he leaned Standing upon a hill, a gentle hill,
His bowed head on his hands and shook, as 't Green and of a mild declivity, the last
were As 't were the cape of a long ridge of such, With a convulsion, — then rose again, Save that there was no sea to lave its base, | And with his teeth and quivering hands did tear But a most living landscape, and the wave What he had written, but he shed no tears. Of woods and cornfields, and the abodes of men And he did calm himself, and fix his brow Scattered at intervals, and wreathing smoke Into a kind of quiet ; as he paused, Arising from such rustic roofs; the hill
The lady of his love re-entered there ; Was crowned with a peculiar diadem
She was serene and smiling then, and yet Of trees, in circular array, so fixed,
She knew she was by him beloved ; she knew
For quickly comes such knowledge, that his
A change came c'er the spirit of my dream. Was darkened with her shadow, and she saw
The wanderer was returned. - I saw him stand That he was wretched, but she saw not all.
Before an altar — with a genile bride ; He rose, and with a cold and gentle grasp Her face was fair, but was not that which made He took her hand ; a moment o'er his face
The starlight of his boyhood ;-as he stood A tablet of unutterable thoughts
Even at the altar, o'er his brow there came Was traced, and then it faded, as it came ;
The selfsame aspect and the quivering shock
His bosom in its solitude ; and then –
Was traced, — and then it faded as it came, And ne'er repassed that hoary threshold more.
And he stood calm and quiet, and he spoke
And all things reeled around him ; he could see A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. Not that which was, nor that which should have The boy was sprung to manhood ; in the wilds
been, -Of fiery climes he made himself a home,
But the old mansion, and the accustomed hall, And his soul drank their sunbeams; he was girt And the remembered chambers, and the place, With strange and dusky aspects ; he was not The day, the hour, the sunshine, and the shade, Himself like what he had been; on the sea
All things pertaining to that place and hour, And on the shore he was a wanderer ;
And her who was his destiny, came back There was a mass of many images
And thrust themselves between him and the light; Crowded like waves upon me, but he was What business had they there at such a time! A part of all ; and in the last he lay Reposing from the noontide sultriness,
. VII. Couched among fallen columns, in the shade Of ruined walls that had survived the names
| A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. Of those who reared them ; by his sleeping side
The lady of his love ; -0, she was changed, Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
As by the sickness of the soul ! her mind Were fastened near a fountain ; and a man,
Had wandered from its dwelling, and her eyes, Clad in a flowing garb, did watch the while,
They had not their own lustre, but the look While many of his tribe slumbered around:
Which is not of the earth ; she was become And they were canopied by the blue sky,
The queen of a fantastic realm ; her thoughts So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
Were combinations of disjointed things ;
And forms impalpable and unperceived
And this the world calls frenzy ; but the wise A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. Have a far deeper madness, and the glance The lady of his love was wed with one
Of melancholy is a fearful gift;
And brings life near in utter nakedness,
A change came o'er the spirit of my dream. As if its lid were charged with unshed tears. The wanderer was alone as heretofore, What could her grief be ? — she had all she loved, The beings which surrounded him were gone, And he who had so loved her was not there Or were at war with him; he was a mark To trouble with bad hopes, or evil wish,
For blight and desolation, compassed round Or ill-repressed affliction, her pure thoughts. With hatred and contention ; pain was mixed What could her grief be ? — she had loved him In all which was served up to him, until, not,
Like to the Pontiac monarch of old days, Nor given him cause to deem himself beloved, He fed on poisons, and they had no power, Nor could he be a part of that which preyed But were a kind of nutriment; he lived Upon her mind -- a spectre of the past.
| Through that which had been death tomany men,