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in the words of a quotation from Alcaeus,
of which he was fond,

    Six hours in sleep, in law's grave study six,
    Four spend in prayer, the rest on nature fix.

But Sir William Jones took a less ascetic
view of life when he wrote his paraphrase,

    Seven hours to law, to soothing slumber seven;
    Ten to the world allot, and all to Heaven.

The robust and ungallant old proverb has
it, "Five hours for a man, six for a
woman, and seven for a fool;" but life was
slower and less exhaustive than it is now
when that proverb was written.

Keats wrote well when he said:

    O magic sleep! O comfortable bird,
    That broodest o'er the troubled sea of the mind,
    Till all is hushed and smooth.

But, after all the poets' fine sayings, there
is a single sentence of Cervantes that, in
my estimation, beats them all. He puts it
in the mouth of that jovial materialist,

"Now blessings on him that first
invented sleep! it covers a man all over,
thoughts and all, like a cloak; it is meat
for the hungry, drink for the thirsty, heat
for the cold, and cold for the hot."

How unhappy must Cervantes have been
before he could have been so thankful for
sleep. In lonely marches, in captivity among
the Moors, in sorrow and disappointment,
he had learnt how worthy sleep was of
this simple-hearted benediction. Southey
speaks less kindly of it in the Curse of
Kehama, when he says,

    Thou hast been called, O sleep, the friend of woe,
    But 'tis the happy that have called thee so.

Young, in his Night Thoughts, anticipated
this depreciating strain, and snubs sleep as
a mere paltry time-server in these five
smooth lines:

    Tired Nature's sweet restorer, balmy sleep,
    He, like the world, his ready visits pays
    Where Fortune smiles, the wretched he forsakes;
    Swift on his downy pinion flies from woe,
    And visits lids unsullied by a tear.

Were I a sculptor I would in poetical
gratitude try to shape a statue of Sleep. I
would make him a beautiful youth with
the limbs of Adonis, and the face of an
Antinous. He should be lying on a couch
in profound and delicious ease, resting his
fair form on a lion's skin; one arm should
be under his head, the other dropping
languidly over the side of the couch. In
his relaxing fingers I would place a bunch
of poppies. Peace ineffable should rest
upon his brow, and a gentle smile upon his
lips should tell of innocent thoughts of
peaceful love. My whole effort would
be to express a profundity of tranquil

Some old writer of the Elizabethan
church breaks forth in one of his sermons
into quaint conjectures as to Adam's feelings
when his first sleep oppressed him.
It must have seemed like dissolution, a
fading away into the chaos from whence at
God's word he had emerged. Poor Hartley
Coleridge has a fine sonnet on the subject
of what awoke Adam from his first sleep,
and we cannot resist quoting it here:

    What was't awakened first the untired ear,
    Of that sole man who was all human kind?
    Was it the gladsome welcome of the wind,
    Stirring the leaves that never yet were sere?
    The four mellifluous streams which flowed so near,
    Their lulling murmurs all in one combined?
    The note of bird unnamed? The startled hind
    Bursting the brakein wonder, not in fear,
    Of her new lord? or did the holy ground
    Send forth mysterious melody and greet
    The gracious pressure of immaculate feet?
    Did viewless seraphs nestle all around,
    Making sweet music out of air as sweet,
    Or his own voice awake him with its sound?

Is not this perfect in every way?

The poets have written their best in their
comparisons of death and sleep.

        Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
    Morn of toil, not night of waking,

writes Scott; but the old Jesuit poet,
Crashaw, uses the word sleep with
ineffably more tenderness and a deeper feeling
in his beautiful elegy on two lovers:

                        Do not weep.
        Peace! the lovers are asleep,
        They, sweet turtles, folded lie
        In the last knot that love could tie.
        Let them sleep, let them sleep on,
        Till this stormy night be gone,
        And the eternal morning dawn;
        Then the curtains will be drawn,
        And they wake with that light
        Where day shall never sleep in night.


    'TIS very true, oh maiden fair,
        You're pleasant to the sight,
    With flowing locks of golden hair
        And eyes of flashing light.
    Upon your cheeks health loves to train
        The lily and the rose,
    But something makes your beauty vain,
        It dwells upon your nose!

    Not that the lovely nose could find
        Upon a lovelier face,
    'Mid all the flower of woman kind,
        A more befitting place.
    But there's a curl upon its tip,
        Half comic, half severe,
    In cool collusion with the lip
        That savours of a sneer.