Verse > Anthologies > Ralph Waldo Emerson, ed. > Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry
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Ralph Waldo Emerson, comp. (1803–1882).  Parnassus: An Anthology of Poetry.  1880.
 
Before Sleep
By Sir Thomas Browne (1605–1682)
 
(See full text.)

  THE NIGHT is come like to the day,—
Depart not thou, great God, away,
Let not my sins, black as the night,
Eclipse the lustre of thy light.
Keep still in my horizon; for to me        5
The sun makes not the day, but thee.
Thou, whose nature cannot sleep,
On my temples sentry keep;
Guard me ’gainst those watchful foes
Whose eyes are open while mine close.        10
Let no dreams my head infest
But such as Jacob’s temples blest.
While I do rest, my soul advance,
Make my sleep a holy trance,
That I may, my rest being wrought,        15
Awake into some holy thought,
And with as active vigor run
My course, as doth (be nimble sun,
Sleep is a death; O make me try
By sleeping, what it is to die:        20
And as gently lay my head
On my grave, as now my bed.
Howe’er I rest, great God, let me
Awake again at least with thee;
And thus assured, behold I lie        25
Secure, or to awake or die.
These are my drowsy days; in vain
I do now wake to sleep again:—
O come that hour, when I shall never
Sleep again, but wake forever.        30
 
 
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