HomeEdgar Allan PoeTHE SLEEPER

THE SLEEPER. Edgar Allan Poe


     At midnight in the month of June,
     I stand beneath the mystic moon.
     An opiate vapour, dewy, dim,
     Exhales from out her golden rim,
     And, softly dripping, drop by drop,
     Upon the quiet mountain top.
     Steals drowsily and musically
     Into the univeral valley.
     The rosemary nods upon the grave;
     The lily lolls upon the wave;
     Wrapping the fog about its breast,
     The ruin moulders into rest;
     Looking like Lethe, see! the lake
     A conscious slumber seems to take,
     And would not, for the world, awake.
     All Beauty sleeps!—and lo! where lies
     (Her easement open to the skies)
     Irene, with her Destinies!

     Oh, lady bright! can it be right—
     This window open to the night?
     The wanton airs, from the tree-top,
     Laughingly through the lattice drop—
     The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,
     Flit through thy chamber in and out,
     And wave the curtain canopy
     So fitfully—so fearfully—
     Above the closed and fringed lid
     ‘Neath which thy slumb’ring sould lies hid,
     That o’er the floor and down the wall,
     Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall!
     Oh, lady dear, hast thous no fear?
     Why and what art thou dreaming here?
     Sure thou art come p’er far-off seas,
     A wonder to these garden trees!
     Strange is thy pallor! strange thy dress!
     Strange, above all, thy length of tress,
     And this all solemn silentness!

     The lady sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
     Which is enduring, so be deep!
     Heaven have her in its sacred keep!
     This chamber changed for one more holy,
     This bed for one more melancholy,
     I pray to God that she may lie
     Forever with unopened eye,
     While the dim sheeted ghosts go by!

     My love, she sleeps! Oh, may her sleep,
     As it is lasting, so be deep!
     Soft may the worms about her creep!
     Far in the forest, dim and old,
     For her may some tall vault unfold—
     Some vault that oft hath flung its black
     And winged pannels fluttering back,
     Triumphant, o’er the crested palls,
     Of her grand family funerals—
     Some sepulchre, remote, alone,
     Against whose portal she hath thrown,
     In childhood, many an idle stone—
     Some tomb fromout whose sounding door
     She ne’er shall force an echo more,
     Thrilling to think, poor child of sin!
     It was the dead who groaned within.



     THE ring is on my hand,
         And the wreath is on my brow;
     Satins and jewels grand
     Are all at my command,
         And I am happy now.

     And my lord he loves me well;
         But, when first he breathed his vow,
     I felt my bosom swell—
     For the words rang as a knell,
     And the voice seemed his who fell
     In the battle down the dell,
         And who is happy now.

     But he spoke to re-asure me,
         And he kissed my pallid brow,
     While a reverie came o’re me,
     And to the church-yard bore me,
     And I sighed to him before me,
     Thinking him dead D’Elormie,
         “Oh, I am happy now!”

     And thus the words were spoken,
         And this the plighted vow,
     And, though my faith be broken,
     And, though my heart be broken,
     Behold the golden token
         That proves me happy now!

     Would God I could awaken!
         For I dream I know not how,
     And my soul is sorely shaken
     Lest an evil step be taken,—
     Lest the dead who is forsaken
         May not be happy now.


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