Ode to Sleep.

Town and Country Magazine 1 (February 1769) 104


A very brief ode, not signed, appearing in the second number of the Town and Country Magazine. The imagery of the poem derives neither from the sleep passages in the Faerie Queen nor Il Penseroso; Raymond Dexter Havens includes it in his list of Milton imitations on the basis of its octosyllabic measure.

Soft Sleep! profoundly pleasing power,
Sweet patron of the peaceful hour,
O listen from thy calm abode,
And hither wave thy magic rod:
Extend thy silent, soothing sway,
And charm the canker Care away;
Whether thou lov'st to glide along,
Attended by an airy throng
Of gentle dreams and smiles of joy,
Such as adorn the wanton boy,
Or pleasures to the fancy bring,
That suit the hero and the king;
The glittering host, the groaning plain,
The clang of arms and victor's train:
Or, if a milder vision please,
Present the happy scenes of peace;
Plump Autumn blushing all around,
Rich Industry with toil embrown'd,
Content, with brow serenely gay,
And genial Art's refulgent ray.

[p. 104]