TO SLEEP - Statius Poems

 
 

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TO SLEEP
What is the charge, young god, what have I done
Alone to be denied, in desperate straits,
Epitome of Calm, your treasure, Sleep?
Hush holds enmeshed each herd, fowl, prowling beast;
The trees, capitulating, nod to aching sleep;
The raging floods relinquish their firm roar;
The heavy sea has ceased and the oceans curl
Upon the lap of land to sink and rest.
The moon has now in seven visits seen
My wild eyes staring; seven stars of dawn
And twilight have returned to me
And sunrise, transient witness of distress,
Has in compassion sprayed dew from her whip.
Where is the strength I need?  It would defeat
The consecrated Argus, thousand-eyed
Despite the watch that one part of him keeps,
Nerves taut, on guard relentlessly.
Oh Sleep, some couple, bodies interlocked,
Must shut you from their night-long ecstasy;
So come to me.  I issue no demand
That you enfold mine eyes with your wings--
Let all the world, more fortunate, beg that.
Your wand-tip's mere caress, your hovering form
Poised lightly on tiptoe: that is enough.

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