Home  »  The Oxford Book of English Verse  »  636. To Sleep

Arthur Quiller-Couch, ed. 1919. The Oxford Book of English Verse: 1250–1900.

John Keats. 1795–1821

636. To Sleep

O SOFT embalmer of the still midnight! 
  Shutting with careful fingers and benign 
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower’d from the light, 
  Enshaded in forgetfulness divine; 
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,         5
  In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes, 
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws 
  Around my bed its lulling charities; 
  Then save me, or the passèd day will shine 
Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;  10
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords 
  Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole; 
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards, 
  And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.