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Famous Sleeping Poems by Famous Poets

These are examples of famous Sleeping poems written by some of the greatest and most-well-known modern and classical poets. PoetrySoup is a great educational poetry resource of famous sleeping poems. These examples illustrate what a famous sleeping poem looks like and its form, scheme, or style (where appropriate).

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by Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth
...d till


Four times the sun had risen and set; and now on the fifth day
Cheerily called the cock to the sleeping maids of the farm-house.
Soon o'er the yellow fields, in silent and mournful procession,
Came from the neighboring hamlets and farms the Acadian women,
Driving in ponderous wains their household goods to the sea-shore,
Pausing and looking back to gaze once more on their dwellings,
Ere they were shut from sight by the winding road and the woodlan...Read More

by Keats, John
...e Giant of the sun
Stood bright, amid the sorrow of his peers?
Together had he left his mother fair
And his twin-sister sleeping in their bower,
And in the morning twilight wandered forth
Beside the osiers of a rivulet,
Full ankle-deep in lilies of the vale.
The nightingale had ceas'd, and a few stars
Were lingering in the heavens, while the thrush
Began calm-throated. Throughout all the isle
There was no covert, no retired cave,
Unhaunted by the murmurous noise of wa...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...nd — voice — a shriek — a fearful call! 
A long, loud shriek — and silence — did they hear 
That frantic echo burst the sleeping ear? 
They heard and rose, and tremulously brave 
Rush where the sound invoked their aid to save; 
They come with half-lit tapers in their hands, 
And snatch'd in startled haste unbelted brands. 


Cold as the marble where his length was laid, 
Pale as the beam that o'er his features play'd, 
Was Lara stretch'd; his half-drawn sabre n...Read More

by Milton, John
...thus wrapt in mist 
Of midnight vapour glide obscure, and pry 
In every bush and brake, where hap may find 
The serpent sleeping; in whose mazy folds 
To hide me, and the dark intent I bring. 
O foul descent! that I, who erst contended 
With Gods to sit the highest, am now constrained 
Into a beast; and, mixed with bestial slime, 
This essence to incarnate and imbrute, 
That to the highth of Deity aspired! 
But what will not ambition and revenge 
Descend to? Who aspires, ...Read More

by Whitman, Walt, huts
 barbarians, tents of nomads, upon the surface; 
I see the shaded part on one side, where the sleepers are sleeping—and the sun-lit part on
 other side, 
I see the curious silent change of the light and shade, 
I see distant lands, as real and near to the inhabitants of them, as my land is to me.

I see plenteous waters; 
I see mountain peaks—I see the sierras of Andes and Alleghanies, where they range; 
I see plainly the Himalayas, Chian Shahs, Altays, ...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
...r all,
And musing on the little lives of men,
And how they mar this little by their feuds. 

But while the two were sleeping, a full tide
Rose with ground-swell, which, on the foremost rocks
Touching, upjetted in spirts of wild sea-smoke,
And scaled in sheets of wasteful foam, and fell
In vast sea-cataracts--ever and anon
Dead claps of thunder from within the cliffs
Heard thro' the living roar. At this the babe,
Their Margaret cradled near them, wail'd and woke
The mo...Read More

by Whitman, Walt
...ow that they go toward the best—toward something great. 

Allons! whoever you are! come forth!
You must not stay sleeping and dallying there in the house, though you built it, or though
 been built for you. 

Allons! out of the dark confinement! 
It is useless to protest—I know all, and expose it. 

Behold, through you as bad as the rest, 
Through the laughter, dancing, dining, supping, of people,
Inside of dresses and ornaments, inside of those wash’d...Read More

by Chesterton, G K
...ll we living later born
Sleep on, and rise after the morn,
And the Lord has gone away.

"On things half sprung from sleeping,
All sleepy suns have shone,
They stretch stiff arms, the yawning trees,
The beasts blink upon hands and knees,
Man is awake and does and sees--
But Heaven has done and gone.

For who shall guess the good riddle
Or speak of the Holiest,
Save in faint figures and failing words,
Who loves, yet laughs among the swords,
Labours, and is at rest?

"Bu...Read More

by Byron, George (Lord)
...Couched among fallen columns, in the shade
Of ruined walls that had survived the names
Of those who reared them; by his sleeping side
Stood camels grazing, and some goodly steeds
Were fastened near a fountain; and a man,
Glad in a flowing garb, did watch the while,
While many of his tribe slumbered around:
And they were canopied by the blue sky,
So cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful,
That God alone was to be seen in heaven.


A change came o'er the spirit of my drea...Read More

by Masefield, John 

We all went quiet down the Scallenge 
Lest Police Inspector Drew should challenge. 
But 'Spector Drew was sleeping sweet, 
His head upon a charges sheet, 
Under the gas jet flaring full, 
Snorting and snoring like a bull, 
His bull cheeks puffed, his bull lips plowing, 
His ugly yellow front teeth showing. 
Just as we peeped we saw him fumble 
And scratch his head, and shift, and mumble. 
Down in the lane so thick and dark 
The tan-yards stank of bitter ...Read More

by Service, Robert William
Brown scanned it with his twisted smile: "A thousand dollars! you go to hell!"

Brown enrolled in the homeless host, sleeping anywhere, anywhen;
Suffered, strove, became a ghost, slave of the lamp for other men;
For What's-his-name and So-and-so in the abyss his soul he stripped,
Yet in his want, his worst of woe, held he fast to the manuscript.
Then one day as he chewed his pen, half in hunger and half despair,
Creaked the door of his garret den; Dick, his brother, wa...Read More

by Tennyson, Alfred Lord
Blood-red, and sliding down the blackened marsh 
Blood-red, and on the naked mountain top 
Blood-red, and in the sleeping mere below 
Blood-red. And in the strength of this I rode, 
Shattering all evil customs everywhere, 
And past through Pagan realms, and made them mine, 
And clashed with Pagan hordes, and bore them down, 
And broke through all, and in the strength of this 
Come victor. But my time is hard at hand, 
And hence I go; and one will crown me king ...Read More

by Scott, Sir Walter
...r way
     That joins Loch Katrine to Achray.

     All in the Trosachs' glen was still,
     Noontide was sleeping on the hill:
     Sudden his guide whooped loud and high—
     'Murdoch! was that a signal cry?'—
     He stammered forth, 'I shout to scare
     Yon raven from his dainty fare.'
     He looked—he knew the raven's prey,
     His own brave steed: 'Ah! gallant gray!
     For thee—for me, perchance—'t were well
     We ne'er had seen the Trosac...Read More

by Angelou, Maya
...I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live....Read More

by Chaucer, Geoffrey
Lose no time, as farforth as ye may.
Lordings, the time wasteth night and day,
And steals from us, what privily sleeping,
And what through negligence in our waking,
As doth the stream, that turneth never again,
Descending from the mountain to the plain.
Well might Senec, and many a philosopher,
Bewaile time more than gold in coffer.
For loss of chattels may recover'd be,
But loss of time shendeth* us, quoth he. *destroys

It will not come again, withoute d...Read More

by Carroll, Lewis
...ever sought the ground,
She moved her lips without a sound,
And every now and then she frowned. 

He gazed upon the sleeping sea,
And joyed in its tranquillity,
And in that silence dead, but she 

To muse a little space did seem,
Then, like the echo of a dream,
Harked back upon her threadbare theme. 

Still an attentive ear he lent
But could not fathom what she meant:
She was not deep, nor eloquent. 

He marked the ripple on the sand:
The even swaying of her hand
...Read More

by Shelley, Percy Bysshe> Like the young moon
When on the sunlit limits of the night
Her white shell trembles amid crimson air
And whilst the sleeping tempest gathers might
Doth, as a herald of its coming, bear
The ghost of her dead Mother, whose dim form
Bends in dark ether from her infant's chair,
So came a chariot on the silent storm
Of its own rushing splendour, and a Shape
So sate within as one whom years deform
Beneath a dusky hood & double cape
Crouching within the shadow of a tomb,
And o'e...Read More

by Miller, Alice Duer of warning, 
My ears were a-strain and my breath was undrawn. 
In the depth of the night, when the old house was sleeping, 
I lying alone in a desolate bed, 
Heard soft on the staircase a slow footstep creeping— 
The ear of the living—the step of the dead. 
In the depth of the night betwixt midnight and morning
A step drawing near on the old oaken floor—
On the stair— in the gallery— the ghost that gives warning
Of death, by that heartbreaking sigh at my door. ...Read More

by Plath, Sylvia to remember their differences.

I think they are made of water; they have no expression.
Their features are sleeping, like light on quiet water.
They are the real monks and nuns in their identical garments.
I see them showering like stars on to the world--
On India, Africa, America, these miraculous ones,
These pure, small images. They smell of milk.
Their footsoles are untouched. They are walkers of air.

Can nothingness be so prodigal?
He...Read More

by Akhmatova, Anna

x x x

The first ray -- as the blessing of the Lord --
Across the face of the beloved did creep,
Who, sleeping, went a little pale,
And then again more tightly went to sleep.

It seemed that warmth of ray of sun
Appeared to him just like a kiss...
And long with these my lips I have not touched
The tan strong shoulder or the dear lips.

And now, the deceased spirits in my long
Disconsolate wandering along the way,
I am now flying...Read More

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