Friday, May 16, 2008

Poetry Friday - To Sleep

Work was crazy this week and I've had a lot on my mind, so I'm very tired and desperate for a good night's sleep. Apparently, people had this same problem in the 16th century. Here is a sonnet from that time about sleep.
To Sleep
by Sir Philip Sidney

Come, Sleep; O Sleep! the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,
Th’ indifferent judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof, shield me from out the prease
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,
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, Stella’s image see.
I checked the old Oxford English Dictionary, but could not find an entry for prease. Any thoughts on this one?

The round up this week is being hosted by the fine ladies at Two Writing Teachers. Do stop by to read some of the wonderful poetry being shared this week. Before you go, be sure to check out this week's poetry stretch results. Happy poetry Friday, all!

**UPDATED - Believe it or not, I was exhausted at the close of last semester (what does THAT say about me?) and posted a poem about sleep then as well. It was a sonnet by John Keats, also entitled To Sleep. Drug of choice, indeed!


  1. You posted this poem at the perfect time for me -- I was up for a good chunk of the night with my son. And once he was calm and quiet, sleep still proved elusive for me...

  2. Sleep is definitely my drug of choice.

    My daughter used to fall asleep in the middle of her dinner, sliding down out of her chair and onto the floor. It was the only time she stopped moving all day!

  3. Oh, skip the rosy garland, I just need a nice cool pillow!

    I've never lived this far north -- the sun is going down at 8:45 already and coming up juuuuust shy of 5:00 a.m. -- so it's disrupting my sleep cycle and I'm going to have to figure out how to nap somehow!

  4. Bad nights the last two nights so I'm sucking this poem in like air. Thanks...

  5. Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

    Prease \Prease\, v. t. & i.
    To press; to crowd. [Obs.] -- n. A press; a crowd. [Obs.]

  6. Thanks for sharing this. Hope tonight's a long, uninterrupted, dreamless sleep. (I'm making myself sleepy typing about it...)

  7. Oh, I'm so glad Pam found a definition for prease - my Oxford Ref Dictionary was letting me down (no surprise, since the full OED lacked it!)

    Thanks for posting this lovely poem.

  8. Love this! Esp "The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
    The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,..."

    I sleep well most of the time, though since I've been trying to remember my dreams this past year, most of them are somewhat tense or disturbing, so I wake up a little out of it. Maybe I was better off not remembering!

    Here's to better nights of sleep for you.