Days Word

Worthy News and Views

John Donne

Amplify’d from

I sleepe not day
nor night.

NATURALL men have conceived a twofold use of sleepe; That it is a refreshing of the body in this life; That it is a preparing of the soule for the next; That it is a feast, and it is the grace at that feast; That it is our recreation, and cheeres us, and it is ourCatechisme and instructs us; wee lie downe in a hope, that wee shall rise the stronger; and we lie downe in a knowledge, that wee may rise no more. Sleepe is an Opiatewhich gives us rest, but such an Opiate, as perchance, being under it, we shall wake no more. But though naturall men, who have induced secondary and figurative considerations, have found out this second, this emblematicall use of sleepe, that it should be a representation of death, God, who wrought and perfected his worke, before Nature began, (for Nature was but his Apprentice, to learne in the first seven daies, and now is his foreman, and works next under him) God, I say, intendedsleepe onely for the refreshing of man by bodily rest, and not for a figure of death, for he intended not death it selfe then. But Man having induced death upon himselfe,God hath taken Mans Creature, death, into his hand, and mended it; and whereas it hath in itselfe a fearefull forme and aspect, so that Man is afraid of his own Creature, God presents it to him, in a familiar, in an assiduous, in an agreeable and acceptableforme, in sleepe, that so when hee awakes from sleepe, and saies to himselfe, shall I bee no otherwise when I am dead, than I was even now, when I was asleep, hee may bee ashamed of his waking dreames, and of his Melancholique fancying out a horrid and an affrightfull figure of that death which is so like sleepe. As then wee need sleepeto live out our threescore and ten yeeres, so we need death, to live that life which we cannot out-live. And as death being our enemie, God allowes us to defend ourselves against it (for wee victuall ourselves against death, twice every day, as often as weeat) so God having so sweetned death unto us as hee hath in sleepe, wee put ourselves into our enemies hands once every day; so farre, as sleepe is death; and sleepe is as much death, as meat is life. This then is the misery of my sicknesse, That death as it is produced from mee, and is mine owne Creature, is now before mineEyes, but in that forme, in which God hath mollified it to us, and made it acceptable, insleepe, I cannot see it: how many prisoners, who have even hollowed themselves theirgraves upon that Earth, on which they have lien long under heavie fetters, yet at thishoure are asleepe, though they bee yet working upon their owne graves by their owne waight! Hee that hath seene his friend die to day, or knowes hee shall see it tomorrow, yet will sinke into a sleepe betweene. I cannot; and oh, if I be entring now into Eternitie, where there shall bee no more distinction of houres, why is it al my businesse now to tell Clocks? why is none of the heavinesse of my heart, dispensed into mine Eye-lids, that they might fall as my heart doth? And why, since I have lost my delight in all objects, cannot I discontinue the facultie of seeing them, by closing mineeyes in sleepe? But why rather being entring into that presence, where I shall wake continually and never sleepe more, doe I not interpret MY continuall waking here, to bee a parasceve, and a preparation to that? 




June 20, 2011 - Posted by | global | , , , , ,

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