William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Elizabethan Verse. 1907. To Sleep
By Sir Philip Sidney (15541586)
C OME, 1 Sleep; O Sleep! the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, 2 the balm of woe,
The poor mans wealth, the prisoners release,
Th indifferent judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof, shield 3 me from out the prease 4 5
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw:
O make in me those civil wars to cease;
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind to light, 5 10
A rosy garland and a weary head:
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me, Livelier than elsewhere, Stellas image see.
Sonnet Note 1. xxxix. in Astrophel and Stella, 1591. This sonnet is one of the three which Charles Lamb mentions as his favourites among the Sidney Sonnets. [ back] Note 2. Baiting-place of wit: The two editions of 1591 read erroneously bathing-place (= refreshing-place) of wits (= witty men). [ back] Note 3. Shield: one man (and sleep is one and is represented as single throughout lines 14) carries one shield: hence shields of first two editions of 1591 is incorrect. (Grosart.) [ back] Note 4. Prease: press. [ back] Note 5. Deaf to noise and blind to light: The first two editions read deaf of noise and blind of light, which Grosart believes to be more Sidnean, considering the change to to as the Countess of Pembrokes or editors improvements. So also of the change of in right to by right in line 12. [ back]