Wednesday, February 02, 2005


Prayer for an Insomniac

Seneca, Hercules Furens 1063-1081:
Free his heart, o gods above, free it from these dire portents, turn his irrational mind to a better way. And you, Sleep, conqueror of evils, heart's relief, better part of human life, winged son of your mother Astraea, gentle brother of harsh Death, you who mix false dreams with true, trustworthy and yet unreliable prophet of the future, respite from wanderings, life's harbor, rest from daylight and companion of night, you who come equally to king and slave, who compel the human race, fearful of death, to become acquainted with endless night: peacefully and calmly refresh this weary man, bind him with heavy numbness, overpower him, let restfulness fetter his limbs and not depart from his savage breast until his mind is restored and regains its former path.

solvite tantis animum monstris,
solvite, superi, caecam in melius
flectite mentem. tuque, o domitor
Somne malorum, requies animi,
pars humanae melior vitae,
volucre o matris genus Astraeae,
frater durae languide Mortis,
veris miscens falsa, futuri
certus et idem pessimus auctor,
pax errorum, portus vitae,
lucis requies noctisque comes,
qui par regi famuloque venis
pavidum leti genus humanum
cogis longam discere noctem:
placidus fessum lenisque fove,
preme devinctum torpore gravi;
sopor indomitos alliget artus,
nec torva prius pectora linquat,
quam mens repetat pristina cursum.
Some previous posts on related subjects:

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