Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy Sleep!
He, like the world, his ready visit pays
Where Fortune smiles; the wretched he forsakes:
Swift on his downy pinion flies from woe,
And lights on lids unsullied with a tear.
From short (as usual) and disturb'd repose,
I wake: how happy they, who wake no more!
Yet that were vain, if dreams infest the grave.
I wake, emerging from a sea of dreams
Tumultuous; where my wreck'd desponding thought,
From wave to wave of fancied misery,
At random drove, her helm of reason lost.
Though now restor'd, 'tis only change of pain:
(A bitter change!) severer for severe:
The day too short for my distress; and night,
Even in the zenith of her dark domain,
Is sunshine to the colour of my fate.
Night, sable goddess! from her ebon throne,
In rayless majesty, now stretches forth
Her leaden sceptre o'er a slumbering world.
Silence how dead! and darkness how profound!
Nor eye, nor listening ear, an object finds:
Creation sleeps. 'Tis as the general pulse
Of life stood still, and nature made a pause;
An awful pause! prophetic of her end.
And let her prophecy be soon fulfill'd:
Fate! drop the curtain; I can lose no more.
Silence and Darkness! solemn sisters! twins
From ancient Night, who nurse the tender thought
To reason, and on reason build resolve
(That column of true majesty in man)
Assist me: I will thank you in the grave:
The grave, your kingdom. There this frame shall fall
A victim sacred to your dreary shrine.
But what are ye? – – – – – – – –
THOU, who didst put to flight
Primeval Silence, when the morning stars,
Exulting, shouted o'er the rising ball;
O THOU, whose word from solid darkness struck
That spark, the sun; strike wisdom from my soul;
My soul, which flies to thee, her trust, her treasure,
As misers to their gold, while others rest.
Through this opaque of nature, and of soul,
This double night, transmit one pitying ray,
To lighten and to cheer. Oh lead my mind
(A mind that fain would wander from its woe,)
Lead it through various scenes of life and death
And from each scene the noblest truths inspire...