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ODE XLIV.

ON

SLEEP.

BY JAMES SCOTT, D.D.

Why, gentle God, this long delay,
Since Night, and careless Quiet reigns?
Oh, hither take thy silent way,

And sooth, ah sooth my wakeful pains! So shall my hands for thee the wreath entwine, And strew fresh poppies at thy votive shrine.

When from the North, all wan and pale,
The sun withdraws his cheerful light,
And, arm’d with whirlwind, frost, and hail,

The big clouds bring the half year's night, Quick to their caves the shiv’ring natives tend, And hear without the rattling storms descend,

Then, stretcht along the shaggy bed,
To thee, indulgent Power, they cry;
Borne on thy wings, with happier speed,
The leaden-footed moments fly;

While Fancy paints Spring's visionary stores, Andcalls the distant sun to wake the slumb'ring flow'rs.

Nor yet is Sleep's supreme command
Confind to these cold dreary plains ;
O'er sultry Libya's boiling sand

This universal monarch reigns ;
And where with heat the sable Indians glow,
While streams of light through purest aether flow.

Weary and faint the dusky slaves
From cold Potosi's mines retire,
From rugged rocks, and darkling caves,

When scarce the panting lungs respire:
To citron shades they take their pensive way,
Where, bath'd in od'rous winds, their listless limbs

they lay,

The tyrant's voice, the galling chain,
Th’uplifted scourge no more they fear,
Deep slumbers drown the sense of pain ;

And, floating through the peopled air,
Ideal forms in pleasing order rise,
And bright illusions swim before their eyes.

Now Orellana's foaming tide
With pliant arms they seem to cleave;
And now the light canoe to guide
Across Muenca's glassy wave;

Or chase in jocund troops the savage prey,
Through woods impervious to the solar ray.

Some gentle youth, by love betray'd,
Recalls the joys he felt of old,
When, wand'ring with his sable maid

Through groves of vegetable gold,
He clasp'd her yielding to his raptur'd breast,
And free from guile his honest soul exprest.

Sleep on, much-injur'd hapless swain,
Nor wake thy cruel fate to moan,
To curse th’insatiate thirst of gain,

And proud Iberia's bloody son!
Old India's genius wept o'er millions slain,
And streams of gore ran foaming to the main.

But why to tragic scenes like these
Wilt thou, my restless fancy, rove?
Bear me to climes of downy ease,

To climes that sleep, and silence love :
Whether the shades of Lemnos most invite,
Or dark Cimmerian caves the still abode of night.

Fond fables all!-The partial God
Is flown to Belgia's drowsy plains,
There waves his Lethe-sprinkled rod,

And link'd with kindred Dullness reigns : 'Midst stagnant pools, the Bittern's safe retreat, Beset with osiers dank behold his gloomy seat!

His dwelling is a straw-built shed,
Safe from the sun's too curious eye,
A yew-tree rears its blighted head,

And frogs and rooks are croaking nigh: Through many a chink the hollow murm’ring breeze Sounds like the distant hum of swarming bees.

And more to feed his slumbers soft,
And lull him in his senseless swoon,
The hard rain beats upon the loft,

And swiftly-trickling tumbles down :
All livelier, ruder sounds are banish d far,
The lute's shrill voice, and brazen throat of war.

Hence let me woo thee, God of ease,
Ah, leave thy fav’rite haunt awhile,
And bid the midnight hours to please,

And bid the midnight gloom to smile!
Oh come, and o'er my weary limbs diffuse
The slumb’rous weight of sweet oblivious dews!

Bring to thy soft enchanting dreams,
Such as enamour'd Petrarch knew,
When, stretch'd by Sorgia's gentle streams,

Fair Laura's form his fancy drew :
Oh! see he wooes the soul-dissolving maid,
And grasps with eager arms the visionary shade.

At morn he sung the tender tale,
He sung his Laura's matchless charms,

And every tree in Clausa's vale

Attentive breath'd Love's soft alarms; Ev'n hoary monks full many a careless bead Have dropt, and left their Aves half unsaid.

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