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From The Silvae of Statius translated with Introduction and Notes, by D. A. Slater; Oxford: The Clarendon Press; 1908; p. 203.



IV    Crimine quo merui

The poet invokes Sleep.

O SLEEP, gentlest of the sons of heaven, what sin what trespass of mine has doomed me alone to forfeit thy bounty? Silent everywhere are the flocks; hushed are bird and beast; the bowed tree-tops sleep or seem to sleep outworn; the boisterous rivers roar no longer; stilled is the raging of the sea; the waves are pillowed upon the shore in slumber. Yet a seventh moon-rise finds my feverish eyes fixed and sleepless; seven times the stars of morning and of evening have returned; seven times the dawn has passed by my moans, and sprinkled me pityingly with cool from her whip. Whence shall I find strength? Not though the thousand eyes of holy Argus were mine, wherewith in turn he kept vigil, nor was ever awake in all his bodily being at once. Yet now, alack,1 if anywhere is one who, with loving arms wound close about him, of his own will spurns thee from him the livelong night, come hither, Sleep, from him to me. Shed not on my eyes all the feathers from they wings; be that the prayer of happier souls; touch me but with the tip of thy wand — it is enough — or caress me as thine airy stride goes past.


1  Line 14.  ‘heu! siquis’ (Phillimore).

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