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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
The Sleep
By Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806–1861)
“He giveth his belovèd sleep.”—Ps. cxxvii. 2.

OF all the thoughts of God that are
Borne inward into souls afar
  Along the Psalmist’s music deep,
Now tell me if that any is,
For gift or grace, surpassing this—        5
  “He giveth his belovèd sleep.”
What would we give to our beloved?
The hero’s heart to be unmoved,
  The poet’s star-tuned harp to sweep,
The patriot’s voice to teach and rouse,        10
The monarch’s crown to light the brows?—
  He giveth his belovèd sleep.
What do we give to our beloved?
A little faith all undisproved,
  A little dust to overweep,        15
And bitter memories to make
The whole earth blasted for our sake.
  He giveth his belovèd sleep.
“Sleep soft, beloved!” we sometimes say,
Who have no tune to charm away        20
  Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep;
But never doleful dream again
Shall break the happy slumber when
  He giveth his belovèd sleep.
O earth, so full of dreary noises!        25
O men with wailing in your voices!
  O delvèd gold the wailers heap!
O strife, O curse, that o’er it fall!
God strikes a silence through you all,
  And giveth his belovèd sleep.        30
His dews drop mutely on the hill,
His cloud above it saileth still,
  Though on its slope men sow and reap;
More softly than the dew is shed,
Or cloud is floated overhead,        35
  He giveth his belovèd sleep.
Ay, men may wonder while they scan
A living, thinking, feeling man
  Confirmed in such a rest to keep;
But angels say,—and through the word        40
I think their happy smile is heard,
  “He giveth his belovèd sleep.”
For me, my heart that erst did go
Most like a tired child at a show,
  That sees through tears the mummers leap,        45
Would now its wearied vision close,
Would childlike on His love repose
  Who giveth his belovèd sleep.
And friends, dear friends, when it shall be
That this low breath is gone from me,        50
  And round my bier ye come to weep,
Let one most loving of you all
Say, “Not a tear must o’er her fall!
  He giveth his belovèd sleep.”

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