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How many thousands of my poorest...

Language: English

How many thousands of my poorest subjects 
Are at this hour asleep! O sleep, O gentle sleep, 
Nature's soft nurse, how have I frightened thee,
That thou no more will weigh my eyelids down, 
And steep my senses in forgetfulness? 
Why rather, sleep, liest thou in smoky cribs, 
Upon uneasy pallets stretching thee, 
And hush'd with buzzing night-flies to thy slumber,
Than in the perfum'd chambers of the great, 
Under the canopies of costly state, 
And lull'd with sound of sweetest melody? 
O thou dull god, why liest thou with the vile 
In loathsome beds, and leav'st the kingly couch
A watch-case or a common 'larum-bell? 
Wilt thou upon the high and giddy mast 
Seal up the ship-boy's eyes, and rock his brains 
In cradle of the rude imperious surge, 
And in the visitation of the winds,
Who take the ruffian billows by the top, 
Curling their monstrous heads, and hanging them 
With deafing clamour in the slippery clouds, 
That with the hurly death itself awakes? 
Canst thou, O partial sleep, give thy repose
To the wet sea-boy in an hour so rude; 
And in the calmest and most stillest night, 
With all appliances and means to boot, 
Deny it to a king? Then, happy low, lie down! 
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

Translation(s): FRE

List of language codes

About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Emily Ezust [Administrator]


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in English, [adaptation] ; composed by Ernst Bacon.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

Text added to the website: 2013-03-25 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2014-06-16 10:05:09

Line count: 28
Word count: 216

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Combien de milliers de mes plus pauvres...

Language: French (Français) after the English

Combien de milliers de mes plus pauvres sujets
sont à cette heure endormis ! O sommeil, ô doux sommeil,
tendre infirmier de la nature, quel effroi t’ai-je causé,
que tu ne veux plus fermer mes paupières
et plonger mes sens dans l’oubli !
Pourquoi, sommeil, te plais-tu dans les huttes enfumées,
étendu sur d’incommodes grabats,
où tu t’assoupis au bourdonnement des mouches nocturnes,
plutôt que dans les chambres parfumées des grands,
sous les dais de la pompe somptueuse,
caressé par les sons de la plus suave mélodie ?
O dieu stupide ! pourquoi reposes-tu avec le misérable
sur des lits infects, et abandonnes-tu la couche royale,
comme la guérite du veilleur, comme le beffroi de la cloche d’alarme ?
Quoi ! tu vas au haut des mâts vertigineux
fermer les yeux du mousse et bercer sa tête
dans le rude berceau de la vague impérieuse,
sous le souffle des vents
qui prennent par la crête les lames furieuses,
frisent leur monstrueuses chevelures et les suspendent
aux nuées fugitives avec des clameurs assourdissantes
dont le vacarme réveille la mort elle-même !
Peux-tu donc, ô partial sommeil, accorder le repos,
dans une heure si rude, au pauvre mousse mouillé,
et, par la nuit la plus calme et la plus tranquille,
en dépit de toutes les sollicitations et de toutes les ressources du luxe,
le refuser à un roi ! Repose donc, heureux d’en bas !
Inquiète est la tête qui porte une couronne !

About the headline (FAQ)

Submitted by Guy Laffaille [Guest Editor]


Based on

Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

    [ None yet in the database ]

Text added to the website: 2016-01-14 00:00:00.

Last modified: 2016-01-14 17:30:34

Line count: 28
Word count: 242