Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “The Sleeper” (Text-06), Saturday Chronicle (Philadelphia, PA), vol. 5, no. 53 (whole no. 262), May 22, 1841, p. 1, col. 1


[page 1, column 1:]

For the Philadelphia Saturday Chronicle.






At midnight, in the month of June,

I stand beneath the mystic moon.

An opiate vapor, dewy, dim,

Exhales from out her golden rim,

And, softly dripping, drop by drop,

Upon the quiet mountain-top,

Steals drowsily and musically

Into the universal valley.

The rosemary nods upon the grave;

The lily lolls upon the wave;

Wrapping the mist about their breast

Grey towers are mouldering into rest;

Looking like Lethé, see! the lake

A conscious slumber seems to take,

And would not for the world awake.

All beauty sleeps! — and lo! where lies,

With casement open to the skies,

Irené and her destinies!


O, lady bright! can it be right —

This lattice open to the night?

The bodiless airs, a wizard rout,

Flit through thy chamber in and out,

And wave the curtain canopy

So fitfully, so fearfully,

Above the closed and fringéd lid

’Neath which thy slumbering soul lies hid,

That o'er the floor and down the wall

Like ghosts the shadows rise and fall.

O, lady dear! hast thou no fear?

Why and what art thou dreaming here?

Sure thou art come o'er far-off seas

A wonder to these garden trees!

Strange is thy pallor — strange thy dress —

Strange thy glorious length of tress,

And thine all solemn silentness!


The lady sleeps. Oh may her sleep,

Which is enduring, so be deep!

Heaven have her in its sacred keep!

This bed being changed for one more holy,

This room for one more melancholy,

I pray to God that she may lie

Forever with uncloséd eye!

My love, she sleeps. Oh, may her sleep,

As it is lasting, so be deep!

Soft may the worms about her creep!

Far in the forest dim and old

For her may some tall tomb unfold —

Some tomb that oft hath flung its black

And wing-like pannels, fluttering back

Triumphant o'er the crested palls

Of her grand family funerals —

Some vault, all haughtily alone,

Against whose portal she hath thrown

In childhood many an idle stone —

From out whose hollow-sounding door

She ne’er shall force an echo more,

Nor thrill to think, poor child of sin!

It was the dead who groaned within.





[S:1 - SCMOT, 1841] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - The Sleeper (Text-06)