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Thou art not always kind, O sleep:
What awful secrets them dost keep
In store, and ofttimes make us know;
What hero has not fallen low
In sleep before a monster grim,
And whined for mercy unto him;
Knights, constables, and men-at-arms
Have quailed and whined in sleep's alarms.
Thou wert not kind last night to make
Me like a very coward shake—
Shake like a thin red-currant bush
Robbed of its fruit by a strong thrush.
I felt this earth did move; more slow,
And slower yet began to go;
And not a bird was heard to sing,
Men and great beasts were shivering;
All living things knew well that when
This earth stood still, destruction then
Would follow with a mighty crash.
'Twas then I broke that awful hush:
E'en as a mother, who does come
Running in haste back to her home,
And looks at once, and lo, the child
She left asleep is gone; and wild
She shrieks and loud—so did I break
With a mad cry that dream, and wake.