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Short poem

John Keats (1795-1821)

To Sleep

              1O soft embalmer of the still midnight,
              2      Shutting, with careful fingers and benign,
              3Our gloom-pleas'd eyes, embower'd from the light,
              4      Enshaded in forgetfulness divine:
              5O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close
              6      In midst of this thine hymn my willing eyes,
              7Or wait the "Amen," ere thy poppy throws
              8      Around my bed its lulling charities.
              9Then save me, or the passed day will shine
            10Upon my pillow, breeding many woes,--
            11      Save me from curious Conscience, that still lords
            12Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
            13      Turn the key deftly in the oiled wards,
            14And seal the hushed Casket of my Soul.


1] First published in a Plymouth newspaper (1838). It had been copied into a journal letter to George Keats on April 30, 1819.

13] wards: parts of a lock.

Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: John Keats, Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes, and Other Poems (1820). Facs. edn.: Scolar Press, 1970. PR 4830 E20AB Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1848
RPO poem editor: J. R. MacGillivray
RP edition: 3RP 2.647.
Recent editing: 4:2001/12/28

Composition date: April 1819
Composition date note: April 19, 1819
Form: English Sonnet (variant)
Rhyme: ababcdcdbcfgfg

Other poems by John Keats