Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, INVOCATION TO SLEEP, by THOMAS BAILEY ALDRICH



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INVOCATION TO SLEEP, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: There is a rest for all things. On still nights
Last Line: Turn on its noiseless hinges, delicate sleep!
Subject(s): Sleep


I.

THERE is a rest for all things. On still nights
There is a folding of a million wings --
The swarming honey-bees in unknown woods,
The speckled butterflies, and downy broods
In dizzy poplar heights:
Rest for innumerable nameless things,
Rest for the creatures underneath the Sea,
And in the Earth, and in the starry Air ...
Why will it not unburden me of care?
It comes to meaner things than my despair.
O weary, weary night, that brings no rest to me!

II.

Spirit of dreams and silvern memories,
Delicate Sleep!
One who is sickening of his tiresome days
Brings thee a soul that he would have thee keep
A captive in thy mystical domain,
With Puck and Ariel, and the grotesque train
That people slumber. Give his sight
Immortal shapes, and bring to him again
His Psyche that went out into the night!

III.

Thou who dost hold the priceless keys of rest,
Strew lotus-leaves and poppies on my breast,
And bear me to thy castle in the land
Touched with all colors like a burning west --
The Castle of Vision, where the unchecked thought
Wanders at will upon enchanted ground,
Making no sound
In all the corridors ...

The bell sleeps in the belfry -- from its tongue
A drowsy murmur floats into the air,
Like thistle-down. Slumber is everywhere.
The rook's asleep, and, in its dreaming, caws;
And silence mopes where nightingales have sung;
The Sirens lie in grottos cool and deep,
The Naiads in the streams:
But I, in chilling twilight, stand and wait
At the portcullis, at thy castle gate,
Yearning to see the magic door of dreams
Turn on its noiseless hinges, delicate Sleep!





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