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[ Also see Action Bed Death Dreams Early Rising Insomnia Midnight Night Nightmares Peace Quiet Repose Rest Waking Weariness ]

Why doth the crown lie there upon his pillow,
  Being so troublesome a bedfellow?
    O polished perturbation! Golden care!
      That keep'st the ports of slumber open wide
        To many a watchful night! Sleep with it now!
          Yet not so sound and half so deeply sweet
            As he whose brow with homely biggen bound
              Snores out the watch of night.
      - William Shakespeare,
        King Henry the Fourth, Part II
         (Prince Henry at IV, v)

Bid them come forth and hear me,
  Or at their chamber door I'll beat the drum
    Till it cry sleep to death.
      - William Shakespeare, King Lear
         (King Lear at II, iv)

Sleep shall neither night nor day
  Hang upon his penthouse lid.
      - William Shakespeare, Macbeth
         (First Witch at I, iii)

Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more!
  Macbeth does murder sleep'--the innocent sleep,
    Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleave of care,
      The death of each day's life, sore labor's bath,
        Balm of hurt minds, great nature's second course,
          Chief nourisher in life's feast.
      - William Shakespeare, Macbeth
         (Macbeth at II, ii)

Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit,
  And look on death itself.
      - William Shakespeare, Macbeth
         (Macduff at II, iii)

Look here he comes! Not poppy nor mandragora,
  Nor all the drowsy syrups of the world,
    Shall eve med'cine thee to that sweet sleep
      Which thou owedst yesterday.
      - William Shakespeare,
        Othello the Moor of Venice
         (Iago at III, iii)

Take thou this vial, being then in bed,
  And this distilling liquor drink thou off;
    When presently through all thy veins shall run
      A cold and drowsy humor; for no pulse
        Shall keep his native progress, but surcease;
          No warmth, no breath, shall testify thou livest;
            The roses in thy lips and cheeks shall fade
              To wanny ashes, thy eyes' windows fall
                Like death when he shuts up the day of life;
                  Each part, deprived of supple government,
                    Shall, stiff and stark and cold, appear like death;
                      And in this borrowed likeness of shrunk death
                        Thou shalt continue two-and-forty hours,
                          And then awake as from a pleasant sleep.
      - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
         (Friar Laurence at IV, ii)

. . . And but for ceremony, such a wretch,
  Winding up days with toil and nights with sleep,
    Had the forehand and vantage of a king.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Life of King Henry the Fifth
         (King Henry at IV, i)

The patch is kind enough, but a huge feeder,
  Snail-slow in profit, and he sleeps by day
    More than the wildcat.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Merchant of Venice
         (Shylock at II, v)

To thee I do commend my watchful soul
  Ere I let fall the windows of mine eyes:
    Sleeping and waking.
      - William Shakespeare,
        The Tragedy of King Richard the Third
         (Richmond at V, iii)

A nap, my friend, is a brief period of sleep which overtakes superannuated persons when they endeavor to entertain unwelcome visitors or to listen to scientific lectures.
      - George Bernard Shaw

Sleep, the fresh dew of languid love, the rain
  Whose drops quench kisses till they burn again.
      - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Epipsychidion
         (l. 571)

How wonderful is Death, Death and his brother Sleep!
      - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab (l. 1)

And on their lids . . .
  The baby Sleep is pillowed.
      - Percy Bysshe Shelley, Queen Mab (pt. I)

The baiting-place of wit, the balm of woe, the poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney)

Come, Sleep: O, Sleep! the certain knot of peace,
  The baiting place of wit, the balm of woe,
    The poor man's wealth, the prisoner's release,
      Th' indifferent judge between the high and low.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney),
        Astrophel and Stella (st. 39)

Take thou of me, sweet pillowes, sweetest bed;
  A chamber deafe of noise, and blind of light,
    A rosie garland and a weary hed.
      - Sir Philip Sidney (Sydney),
        Astrophel and Stella (st. 39)

Thou hast been called, O Sleep, the friend of Woe,
  But 'tis the happy who have called thee so.
      - Robert Southey, The Curse of Kehama
         (canto XV, st. 12)

For next to Death is Sleepe to be compared;
  Therefore his house is unto his annext:
    Here Sleepe, ther Richesse, and hel-gate them both betwext.
      - Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
         (bk. II, canto VII, st. 25)

There are many ways of inducing sleep--the thinking of purling rills, or waving woods; reckoning of numbers; droppings from a wet sponge fixed over a brass pan, etc. But temperance and exercise answer much better than any of these succedaneums.
      - Laurence Sterne

There is one sweet lenitive at least for evils, which nature holds out; so I took it kindly at her hands, and fell asleep.
      - Laurence Sterne

All gifts but one the jealous God may keep
  From our soul's longing, one he cannot--sleep.
    This, though he grudge all other grace to prayer,
      This grace his closed hand cannot choose but spare.
      - Algernon Charles Swinburne,
        Tristram of Lyonesse--Prelude to Tristram and Iseult
         (l. 205)

He sleeps well who knows not that he sleeps ill.
      - Syrus (Publilius Syrus), Maxims

The mystery of folded sleep.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson

She sleeps: her breathings are not heard
  In palace chambers far apart,
    The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
      That lie upon her charmed heart.
        She sleeps: on either hand upswells
          The gold fringed pillow light prest:
            She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
              A perfect form in perfect rest.
      - Lord Alfred Tennyson,
        Day Dream--The Sleeping Beauty (st. 3)

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