Shakespeare: “Oh sleep! Oh sweet sleep”


“Thousands of even my poorest subjects are sleeping right now. Oh sleep! Oh sweet sleep, nature’s gentle healer, what have I done to frighten you? You won’t weigh down my eyelids anymore, or dull my mind to make me forget. Sleep, why do you lie in filthy hovels, stretched out on uncomfortable cots, where insects’ buzzing is the lullaby? Why don’t you lie in the sweet-smelling bedrooms of kings, under opulent canopies, lulled with soft and beautiful music? You drowsy god, why do you lie with the common people in their loathsome beds, leaving the royal bed lonely like a sentry post, or a bell tower?

Will you even close the eyes of a ship boy, high up on the whirling mast, and rock him gently in a cradle made of rough, tossing seas and howling winds—winds which take the waves and, curling them over, crashes them through the air with such a deafening noise that they wake death itself? Can you, oh unfair sleep, give rest to a drenched little sailor in the midst of such roughness, and yet deny it to a king?”

in William Shakespeare, Henry IV