Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. V. Browning to Rupert Brooke
 
Night and Sleep
By Coventry Patmore (1823–1896)
 
I
HOW strange at night to wake
  And watch, while others sleep,
Till sight and hearing ache
  For objects that may keep
The awful inner sense        5
  Unroused, lest it should mark
The life that haunts the emptiness
  And horror of the dark!
 
II
How strange the distant bay
  Of dogs; how wild the note        10
Of cocks that scream for day,
  In homesteads far remote;
How strange and wild to hear
  The old and crumbling tower,
Amidst the darkness, suddenly        15
  Take tongue and speak the hour!
 
III
Albeit the love-sick brain
  Affects the dreary moon,
Ill things alone refrain
  From life’s nocturnal swoon:        20
Men melancholy mad,
  Beasts ravenous and sly,
The robber and the murderer,
  Remorse, with lidless eye.
 
IV
The nightingale is gay,
        25
  For she can vanquish night;
Dreaming, she sings of day,
  Notes that make darkness bright;
But when the refluent gloom
  Saddens the gaps of song,        30
Men charge on her the dolefulness,
  And call her crazed with wrong.
 
V
If dreams or panic dread
  Reveal the gloom of gloom,
Kiss thou the pillow’d head        35
  By thine, and soft resume
The confident embrace;
  And so each other keep
In the sure league of amity
  And the safe lap of sleep.        40
 
 
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