John Keats

Sonnet to Sleep

O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
    Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleas’d eyes, embower’d from the light,
    Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
    In the midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the Amen ere thy poppy throws
    Around my bed its lulling charities.
Then save me or the passed day will shine 
    Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still hoards
    Its strength for darkness, burrowing like the mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
    And seal the hushed casket of my soul.


[written in April 1819]


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