Sleep Flies Me

A poem by Robert Fuller Murray

Sleep flies me like a lover
Too eagerly pursued,
Or like a bird to cover
Within some distant wood,
Where thickest boughs roof over
Her secret solitude.

The nets I spread to snare her,
Although with cunning wrought,
Have only served to scare her,
And now she'll not be caught.
To those who best could spare her,
She ever comes unsought.

She lights upon their pillows;
She gives them pleasant dreams,
Grey-green with leaves of willows,
And cool with sound of streams,
Or big with tranquil billows,
On which the starlight gleams.

No vision fair entrances
My weary open eye,
No marvellous romances
Make night go swiftly by;
But only feverish fancies
Beset me where I lie.

The black midnight is steeping
The hillside and the lawn,
But still I lie unsleeping,
With curtains backward drawn,
To catch the earliest peeping
Of the desired dawn.

Perhaps, when day is breaking;
When birds their song begin,
And, worn with all night waking,
I call their music din,
Sweet sleep, some pity taking,
At last may enter in.

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