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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Sleep
By Baltasar del Alcázar (1530–1606)
 
SLEEP is no servant of the will,
  It has caprices of its own:
  When most pursued,—’tis swiftly gone;
When courted least, it lingers still.
With its vagaries long perplext,        5
  I turned and turned my restless sconce,
  Till one bright night, I thought at once
I’d master it; so hear my text!
 
When sleep will tarry, I begin
  My long and my accustomed prayer;        10
  And in a twinkling sleep is there,
Through my bed-curtains peeping in.
When sleep hangs heavy on my eyes,
  I think of debts I fain would pay;
  And then, as flies night’s shade from day,        15
Sleep from my heavy eyelids flies.
 
And thus controlled the winged one bends
  Ev’n his fantastic will to me;
  And, strange, yet true, both I and he
Are friends,—the very best of friends.        20
We are a happy wedded pair,
  And I the lord and she the dame;
  Our bed—our board—our hours the same,
And we’re united everywhere.
 
I’ll tell you where I learnt to school        25
  This wayward sleep:—a whispered word
  From a church-going hag I heard,
And tried it—for I was no fool.
So from that very hour I knew
  That having ready prayers to pray,        30
  And having many debts to pay,
Will serve for sleep and waking too.
 
 
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