Nonfiction > E.C. Stedman & E.M. Hutchinson, eds. > A Library of American Literature > 1835–1860
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Stedman and Hutchinson, comps.  A Library of American Literature:
An Anthology in Eleven Volumes.  1891.
Vols. VI–VIII: Literature of the Republic, Part III., 1835–1860
 
Watching
By Emily Chubbuck Judson (Fanny Forrester) (1817–1854)
 
[Born in Eaton, N. Y., 1817. Died at Hamilton, N. Y., 1854. From An Olio of Domestic Verses. 1852.]

SLEEP, love, sleep!
The dusty day is done.
Lo! from afar the freshening breezes sweep
Wide over groves of balm,
Down from the towering palm,        5
In at the open casement cooling run,
And round thy lowly bed,
Thy bed of pain.
Bathing thy patient head,
Like grateful showers of rain,        10
They come;
While the white curtains, waving to and fro,
Fan the sick air;
And pitying the shadows come and go,
With gentle human care,        15
Compassionate and dumb.
The dusty day is done,
The night begun;
While prayerful watch I keep,
Sleep, love, sleep!        20
Is there no magic in the touch
Of fingers thou dost love so much?
Fain would they scatter poppies o’er thee now;
Or, with its mute caress,
The tremulous lip some soft nepenthe press        25
Upon thy weary lid and aching brow;
While prayerful watch I keep,
Sleep, love, sleep!
 
On the pagoda spire
The bells are swinging,        30
Their little golden circlet in a flutter
With tales the wooing winds have dared to utter
Till all are ringing,
As if a choir
Of golden-nested birds in heaven were singing;        35
And with a lulling sound
The music floats around,
And drops like balm into the drowsy ear;
Commingling with the hum
Of the Sepoy’s distant drum,        40
And lazy beetle ever droning near.
Sounds these of deepest silence born,
Like night made visible by morn;
So silent that I sometimes start
To hear the throbbings of my heart,        45
And watch, with shivering sense of pain,
To see thy pale lids lift again.
 
The lizard, with his mouse-like eyes,
Peeps from the mortise in surprise
At such strange quiet after day’s harsh din;        50
Then boldly ventures out,
And looks about,
And with his hollow feet
Treads his small evening beat,
Darting upon his prey        55
In such a tricky, winsome sort of way,
His delicate marauding seems no sin.
And still the curtains swing,
But noiselessly;
The bells a melancholy murmur ring,        60
And tears were in the sky:
More heavily the shadows fall,
Like the black foldings of a pall
Where juts the rough beam from the wall;
The candles flare        65
With fresher gusts of air;
The beetle’s drone
Turns to a dirge-like, solitary moan;
Night deepens, and I sit, in cheerless doubt, alone.
 
 
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