Quiet or …

It is a small relief to discover that “A Charm”, no. 4 from A Charm of Lullabies Op. 41, by Benjamin Britten, was indeed intended as comical by the poet Thomas Randolph (1605-1635).

cerberusPicture: William Blake. Cerberus. National Gallery of Victoria.

Quiet!
Sleep! or I will make
Erinnys whip thee with a snake,
And cruel Rhadamanthus take
Thy body to the boiling lake,
Where fire and brimstones never slake;
Thy heart shall burn, thy head shall ache,
And ev’ry joint about thee quake;
And therefor dare not yet to wake!
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet!

Quiet!
Sleep! or thou shalt see
The horrid hags of Tartary,
Whose tresses ugly serpants be,
And Cerberus shall bark at thee,
And all the Furies that are three
The worst is called Tisiphone,
Shall lash thee to eternity;
And therefor sleep thou peacefully
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet, sleep!
Quiet!

Then there’s always this:

go_the_fuck_to_sleep

The cats nestle close to their kittens now.
The lambs have laid down with the sheep.
You’re cozy and warm in your bed, my dear
Please go the fuck to sleep.

Read Macy Halford’s comments in New Yorker 2011.

Best of any song

birdsongBird song is our loud alarm clock these spring days.

Best of any song
is bird song
in the quiet, but first
you must have the quiet.

— Wendell Berry. “1997.I” in A timbered choir: the Sabbath poems 1979-1997. New York, Counterpoint, 1992, p. 207. Picture from from cover of Birdsong: a natural history, by Don Stap. Oxford, 2006

“For, lo, the winter is past … The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come … ” Song of Solomon 3.11-12.