The Pains Of Sleep


Ere on my bed my limbs I lay
It hath not been my use to pray
With moving lips or bended knees
But silently, by slow degrees
My spirit I to Love compose
In humble trust mine eye-lids close
With reverential resignation
No wish conceived, no thought expressed
Only a sense of supplication
A sense o'er all my soul impressed
That I am weak, yet not unblessed
Since in me, round me, every where
Eternal Strength and Wisdom are
But yester-night I prayed aloud
In anguish and in agony
Up-starting from the fiendish crowd
Of shapes and thoughts that tortured me

Sense of intolerable wrong
And whom I scorned, those only strong
Thirst of revenge, the powerless will
Still baffled, and yet burning still
Desire with loathing strangely mixed
On wild or hateful objects fixed
Fantastic passions ! maddening brawl
And shame and terror over all
Deeds to be hid which were not hid
Which all confused I could not know
Whether I suffered, or I did
For all seemed guilt, remorse or woe
My own or others still the same
Life-stifling fear, soul-stifling shame

So two nights passed, the night's dismay
Saddened and stunned the coming day
Sleep, the wide blessing, seemed to me
Distemper's worst calamity
The third night, when my own loud scream
Had waked me from the fiendish dream
O'ercome with sufferings strange and wild
I wept as I had been a child
And having thus by tears subdued
My anguish to a milder mood
Such punishments, I said, were due
To natures deepliest stained with sin
For aye entempesting anew
The unfathomable hell within
The horror of their deeds to view
To know and loathe, yet wish and do
Such griefs with such men well agree
But wherefore, wherefore fall on me
To be beloved is all I need
And whom I love, I love indeed