Sleep

The nightly hours can be inspiring to write about. These hours and especially sleep, were inspiring enough for Sir Philip Sidney to write his poem Sleep about.

Sir Philip Sydney
Sir Philip Sydney.
Source: Wikimedia Commons

About the poet

Philip Sidney was born on November 30 1554 in Kent. He was an influencial diplomat who worked for queen Elizabeth I. He was the eldest son of Sir Henry Sidney and was educated at Shrewsbury School and Christ Church in Oxford. He was a master in languages (Latin, French and Italian).

In 1577 he was appointed as the ambassador to the German Emperor and the Prince of Orange. He was a true believer of Protestantism and therefore he adviced his queen not to marry the Duke of Anjou, as he was Roman Catholic.

His influence at the court of the queen would rise, when he was knighted in 1583. From that tome he became a member of the parliament for Kent. He was then appointed as governor for Vlissingen, a city in The Netherlands. He was strongly opposed to the occupation of The Netherlands by Spain and wanted to help the Dutch get rid of the Spainiards. He was responsible for the defeat of the Spanish troops at Axel in July 1586.

When he joned Sir John Norris in the Battle of Zutphen later that year, he was again fighting against the Spanish troops. He got wounded in the thigh and died 26 days later of gangrene at the age of 31 on October 17 1586. A few months later, his body was returned to London and interred in the Old St. Paul’s Cathedral.

 

Sleep

By Sir Philip Sidney

Sleep

Come Sleep; O Sleep! the certain knot of peace,
The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe,
The poor man’s wealth, the prisoner’s release,
Th’ indifferent judge between the high and low;
With shield of proof shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw:
O make in me those civil wars to cease;
I will good tribute pay, if thou do so.
Take thou of me smooth pillows, sweetest bed,
A chamber deaf to noise and blind of light,
A rosy garland and a weary head;
And if these things, as being thine by right,
Move not thy heavy grace, thou shalt in me,
Livelier than elsewhere, Stella’s image see.

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