Saturday, May 11, 2013


A Sonnet to Sleep, by Pontus de Tyard

A sonnet to Sleep, by Pontus de Tyard (1521-1605), tr. Henry Carrington:
Source of soft rest and happy dreams, O sleep,
Now that the night, dark with its spreading cloud,
Wraps o'er the placid air its misty shroud,
Come, thou much longed-for, o'er my eyelids creep.

Thine absence doth in lengthening anguish keep,
And make the ills I feel more thickly crowd.
Come, lift the weight 'neath which my soul is bowed;
Come, cheat my woes and in sweet falsehood steep.

Already doth mute silence, 'neath blind night,
Show whirling phantoms to my inward sight:
Me only dost thou scorn who most revere.

Come, sleep much longed-for, and surround my brow,
And I to greet thee with a garland vow,
Of cherished nightshade and thy poppies dear.
The French:
Pere du doux repos, Sommeil pere du songe,
Maintenant que la nuit, d'vne grande ombre obscure,
Faict à cet air serain humide couverture,
Viens, Sommeil desiré & dans mes yeux te plonge.

Ton absence, Sommeil, languissamment alonge,
Et me fait plus sentir la peine que i'endure.
Viens, Sommeil, l'assoupir & la rendre moins dure,
Viens abuser mon mal de quelque doux mensonge.

Ia le muet Silence un esquadron conduit,
De fantosmes ballans dessous l'aveugle nuict,
Tu me dedaignes seul qui te suis tant deuot!

Viens, Sommeil desiré, m'enuironner la teste,
Car, d'vn voeu non menteur, vn bouquet ie t'appreste
De ta chere morelle, & de ton cher pavot.
The same, tr. John Payne:
Sleep, father thou of dreams and sire of sweet repose,
Now that the Night, with its vast cloak of sable shade,
Hath o'er the air serene a humid covert laid,
Come, long-desired Sleep, and these mine eyelids close.

Thine absence still prolongs, for languishment, my throes,
Making me feel yet more my sufferance unallayed.
Come, soothe it; let it be of thee less poignant made;
With some delusion sweet come mystify my woes.

Already Silence mute leads on a squadron light
Of ghosts, that dancing fare beneath the blank blind Night.
Thou only me disdain'st, thy devotee sincere.

Come, longed-for Sleep, and with thy wings my head surround;
And of my faithful hands for thee a wreath shall wound
Of thy loved nightshade be and of thy poppies dear.
The same, tr. Wilfred Thorley:
Sleepe, sire of rest and eke of dreams the sire,
Nowe that the night's wide girth of darknesse dread
O'er the still aire her mystie shroude hath spread,
Come, fill myne eyes, O Sleepe whom I desire.

For thy long absence doth my spirit tire,
And sharper feels its hardship endured;
Come, Sleepe and drowse it. Like a dupe, misled
Bye thy sweet falsehood, it maye seeme less dire.

Already Silence with her phantom horde
Broods o'er the darknesse of blynde nighte abhorr'd;
Me only, faithful, dost thou leave forlorn.

Come, Sleepe desired, and my browes doe bynde,
For I to thee an offerynge have sworn
Of nighte-shade with thy poppy-head entwyn'd.
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