Sleep’s Treachery

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by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

   As the grey twilight, tiptoed down the deep
      And shadowy valley, to the day’s dark end,
      She whom I thought my ever-faithful friend,
   Fair-browed, calm-eyed and mother-bosomed Sleep,
   Met me with smiles. ‘Poor longing heart, I keep
      Sweet joy for you,’ she murmured. ‘I will send
      One whom you love, with your own soul to blend
   In visions, as the night hours onward creep.’

   I trusted her; and watched by starry beams,
      I slumbered soundly, free from all alarms.
         Then not my love, but one long banished came,
   Led by false Sleep, down secret stairs of dreams
      And clasped me, unresisting in fond arms.
         Oh, treacherous sleep—to sell me to such shame!


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