by Laurence Hope

Adela Florence Nicolson

There is something so beseeching in the attitude of sleep,
A pathetic resignation, most appealing to the heart. .
There must surely be some secret that the eyes in slumber keep,
Which the lips, on their awakening, could not, if they would, impart.
See yon Slave from Sus, recumbent, with his ebon arms outspread
On the marigolds he crushes to a sheet of golden flowers,
How the mystery of dreaming lends a halo to his head,
And exalts him to a level never reached in waking hours.
In the form that lies impassive, while the sea-wind comes and goes
And uplifts his rags in pity, on its cool refreshing breath
There is something so prophetic of the Last and Great Repose:
Sleep has borrowed, in its quietude, the Dignity of Death.
Though his parted lips are wordless, though he breathes no uttered prayer
Yet his silence seems imploring "Let me deem the noonday night,
For my dreams are velvet-breasted, and they shelter me from care,
I entreat thee not to wake me to the sorrows of the light."
Ah, sleep on, in peace, my brother, to awaken when thou wi1t,
From the dreams that treat thee kindly, and the rest that sets thee free.
With the wild fig for thy canopy, the marigolds thy quilt,
And, to serve thee for a lullaby, the thunder of the Sea'

Last updated January 14, 2019