The Boding Dreams

I.

In lover’s ear a wild voice cried:
   “Sleeper, awake and rise!”
A pale form stood at his bed-side,
   With heavy tears in her sad eyes.
“A beckoning hand, a moaning sound,
A new-dug grave in weedy ground
For her who sleeps in dreams of thee.
Awake! Let not the murder be!”
Unheard the faithful dream did pray,
And sadly sighed itself away.
   “Sleep on,” sung Sleep, “to-morrow
   “‘Tis time to know thy sorrow.”
   “Sleep on,” sung Death, “to-morrow
   “From me thy sleep thou’lt borrow.”
   Sleep on, lover, sleep on,
   The tedious dream is gone;
         The bell tolls one.

II.

Another hour, another dream:
   “Awake! awake!” it wailed,
“Arise, ere with the moon’s last beam
   “Her dearest life hath paled.”
A hidden light, a muffled tread,
A daggered hand beside the bed
Of her who sleeps in dreams of thee.
Thou wak’st not: let the murder be.
In vain the faithful dream did pray,
And sadly sighed itself away.
   “Sleep on,” sung Sleep, “to-morrow
   “‘Tis time to know thy sorrow.”
   “Sleep on,” sung Death, “to-morrow
   “From me thy sleep thou’lt borrow.”
   Sleep on, lover, sleep on,
   The tedious dream is gone;
         Soon comes the sun.

III.

Another hour, another dream:
   A red wound on a snowy breast,
A rude hand stifling the last scream,
   On rosy lips a death-kiss pressed.
Blood on the sheets, blood on the floor,
The murderer stealing through the door.
“Now,” said the voice, with comfort deep,
“She sleeps indeed, and thou may’st sleep.”
The scornful dream then turned away
To the first, weeping cloud of day.
   “Sleep on,” sung Sleep, “to-morrow
   “‘Tis time to know thy sorrow.
   “Sleep on,” sung Death, to-morrow
   “From me thy sleep thou’lt borrow.”
   Sleep on, lover, sleep on,
   The tedious dream is gone;
         The murder’s done.

[Kelsall, 1851]