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I cannot veil mine eyelids from the light;
I cannot turn away
From this insulting and importunate day,
That momentarily grows fiercer and more bright,
And wakes the hideous hum of monstrous flies
In my vexed ear, and beats
On the broad panes, and like a furnace heats
The chamber of my rest, and bids me rise.

 

I cannot follow thy departing track,
Nor tell in what far meadows, gentle Sleep,
Thou art delaying. I would win thee back,
Were mine some drowsy potion, or dull spell,
Or charm√ęd girdle, mighty to compel
Thy heavy grace; for I have heard it said,
Thou art no flatterer, thou dost only keep
In kingly haunts, leaving unvisited
The poor man's lowlier shed;
And when the day is joyless, and its task
Unprofitable, I were fain to ask,
Why thou wilt give it such an ample space,
Why thou wilt leave us such a weary scope
For memory, and for that which men call hope;
Nor wind in one embrace
Sad eve and night forlorn
And undelightful morn.

 

If with the joyous were thine only home,
I would not so far wrong thee, as to ask
This boon, or summon thee from happier task.
But no--for then thou wouldst too often roam,
ANd find no rest; for me, I cannot tell
What tearless lids there are, where thou mightst dwell:
I know not any unenthralled of sorrow,
I know not one, to whom this joyous morrow,
So full of living motion new and bright,
Will be a summons to secure delight.
And thus I shall not wrong thee, though I claim
Awhile thy presence.--O mysterious Sleep,
Some call thee shadow of a mightier Name,
And whisper how that nightly thou dost keep
A roll and count for Him.--
Then be thou on my spirit like his presence dim.

 

Yet if my limbs were heavy with sweet toil,
I had not needed to have wooed thy might,
But till thy timely flight
Had lain securely in thy peaceful coil;
Or if my heart were lighter, long ago
Had crushed the dewy morn upon the sod,
That darkened where I trod,
As was my pleasure once, but now it is not so.

 

And therefore am I seeking to entwine
A coronal of poppies for my head,
Or wreathe it with a wreath engarlanded
By Lethe's slumberous waters. Oh! that mine
Were some dim chamber turning to the north,
With latticed casement bedded deep in leaves,
That opening with sweet murmur might look forth
On quiet fields from broad o'erhanging eaves;
And ever when the Spring its garland weaves,
Were darkened with encroaching ivy-trail
And jagged vine-leaves' shade;
And all its pavement starred with blossoms pale
Of jasmine, when the wind's least stir was made;
Where the sunbeam was verdurous-cool, before
It wound into that quiet nook, to paint
That tessellated floor.

 

How pleasant were it there in dim recess,
In some close-curtained haunt of quietness,
To hear no tones of human pain and care,
Our own or others'; little heeding there,
If morn, or noon, or night
Pursued their weary flight,
But musing what an easy thing it were
To mix our opiates in a larger cup,
And drink, and not perceive
Sleep deepening lead his truer kinsman up,
Like undistinguished Night, darkening the skirts of Eve.