Songs of the Affections, with Other Poems/The Sleeper

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For works with similar titles, see The Sleeper.
For other versions of this work, see The Sleepers (Felicia Hemans).


For sleep is awful.

Oh! lightly, lightly tread!
    A holy thing is sleep,
On the worn spirit shed,
    And eyes that wake to weep.

A holy thing from Heaven,
    A gracious dewy cloud,
A covering mantle given
    The weary to enshroud.

Oh! lightly, lightly tread!
    Revere the pale still brow,
The meekly-drooping head,
    The long hair's willowy flow.

Ye know not what ye do,
    That call the slumberer back,
From the world unseen by you
    Unto life's dim faded track.

Her soul is far away,
    In her childhood's land, perchance,
Where her young sisters play,
    Where shines her mother's glance.

Some old sweet native sound
    Her spirit haply weaves;
A harmony profound
    Of woods with all their leaves;

A murmur of the sea,
    A laughing tone of streams:—
Long may her sojourn be
    In the music-land of dreams!

Each voice of love is there,
    Each gleam of beauty fled,
Each lost one still more fair—
    Oh! lightly, lightly tread!