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Come heavy sleep

Language: English

Come, heavy Sleep, the image of true Death,
And close up these my weary weeping eyes,
Whose spring of tears doth stop my vital breath,
And tears my heart with Sorrow's sigh-swoll'n cries.
Come and possess my tired through-worn soul,
That living dies till thou on me be stole.

[ Come, shape of rest, and shadow of my end,]1
Allied to Death, child to his joyless black-fac'd Night,
Come thou and charm these rebels in my breast,
Whose waking fancies doth my mind affright.
O come, sweet Sleep, or I die forever;
Come ere my last sleep comes, or come thou never.

Translation(s): SPA
R. Johnson sets stanza 1

View original text (without footnotes)
1 retired countertenor David Hill writes that this should in fact read: 'Come shadow of my end and shape of rest'. The old Stainer & Bell edition of Edmund Fellowes is still published with this lyrical transposition because Fellowes swapped the phrases around to try to make the syllables of the second stanza fit the number of printed notes, even though to do so destroys the rhyme sequence. Mr. Hill emphasizes that it is perfectly easy to sing this as written with a bit of ingenuity.


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

Available translations, adaptations, and transliterations (if applicable):
    * SPA Spanish (EspaƱol) (Mercedes Vivas) , title 1: "Ven, Sueño pesado", copyright © 2008, (re)printed on this website with kind permission

Text added to the website between May 1995 and September 2003.

Notes about what "text verified" means can be found here.

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