Study Guide

Come Sleep! Oh Sleep Violence

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Come Sleep! O Sleep, the certain knot of peace, (1)

You can't have peace unless you have a conflict right? We'll get that conflict later the poem. For now, just note that the word "peace" foreshadows the war imagery that will be important a little later on.

With shield of proof, shield me from out the prease
Of those fierce darts Despair at me doth throw; (5-6)

The repetition of "shield" in these lines (as a noun and a verb) emphasizes the scope of the violence. The word "fierce" does the same thing. It's not like Despair is tossing little Styrofoam Nerf darts. These are fierce—sharp, dangerous, painful.

O make in me those civil wars to cease; (7)

Wars are never civil, and they're always violent. This stuff about "civil wars" seems a little dramatic, but then again emotional conflicts can be pretty brutal, or "fierce," to borrow the poem's own word.

I will good tribute pay, if thou do so. (8)

The word "tribute" isn't innocent at all. It makes us think of war, violence, and all that unpleasant business. You pay tribute to somebody that has conquered you, or can beat you up if you don't pony up.

A rosy garland and a weary head: (11)

No—there's nothing truly "rosy" going on here. It is impossible for anything having to do with roses to not make us think also of thorns. The image is of the speaker being stabbed with a rosy crown that has thorns in it—yikes. This could be a great metaphor for how he feels, don't you think?

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