Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
Sleep
By Thomas Sackville, Earl of Dorset (1536–1608)
 
BY 1 him lay heavy Sleep, the cousin of Death,
Flat on the ground, and still as any stone,
A very corpse, save yielding forth a breath:
Small keep took he, whom Fortune frownèd on,
Or whom she lifted up into the throne        5
Of high renown: but as a living death,
So, dead live, of life he drew the breath.
 
The body’s rest, the quiet of the heart,
The travail’s ease, the still night’s fear was he,
And of our life on earth the better part:        10
Reaver of sight, and yet in whom we see
Things oft that tide, and oft that never be:
Without respect, esteeming equally
King Crœsus’ pomp, and Irus’ poverty.
 
Note 1. Thomas Sackville, Lord Buckhurst, born in 1536, was elevated to the earldom of Dorset with the accession of James I., but is generally referred to by his earlier title to avoid confusion with Charles Sackville, sixth Earl of Dorset (1638–1706). He was the author of Gorboduc, the first English tragedy, first acted 1562, and greatly admired by Sir Philip Sidney, who describes it in his Defense of Poetry as “Full of stately speeches and well-sounding phrases, climbing to the height of Seneca his style, and as full of notable morality, which it doth most delightfully teach, and thereby obtain the very end of poetry.” [back]
 
 
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