Summary and Analysis of To Sleep


William Wordsworth’s poem “To Sleep” tells us the importance of having sound sleep in our life. The Poet is very confident that sleep will help us to remain mentally and physically fit. He wants sleep to visit him and bless him.

The poem is a sonnet of 14 lines with a strict pattern of rhythm and rhythm. The poem starts by describing a quiet pastoral scene. He gives us list of things in nature. The flock of sheep sets the tone for a poem. This really produces a bright and cheerful mood. All the other images produced at the beginning by the poet are images of calmness. He is hopeful that all the images of calmness in nature will enable him to get a sound sleep.

The second stanza raises the sorrow of the mood. He could hear the songs of the little birds, and the sad song of the cuckoo. The bird’s lament is personified, and it sounds like a lonely cry to the poet. The cries are poorly presented here because they remind the poet that the morning arrives soon.

In the third level, the melancholy mood is more exacerbated. The poet has the same impression that he can’t gain sleep by any stealthy means. He claims he’s had two sleepless nights. He needs to win the third night’s sleep. As a consequence of his prayer, “Don’t let me wear tonight away.”

The last stanza makes a difference in mood. He dreams about the riches and happiness that sleep will offer. He attributes to sleep all the glory of the dawn, freshness of mind, and joyful fitness. In the end, he prays, “come blessed barrier between day and day”. Thus, the poem ends with a note of prayer.

Analysis of To Sleep

This poem is really helpful for readers to get a clearer understanding of life by staying close to nature. The poet refers to the positive benefits of sound sleep. It applies to everyone, as it is the real problem faced by citizens. It brings us a variety of thoughtful notions. The mood of the poem is rather serious and it deals with the philosophy of life. The philosophic argument, ‘Without Thee, what is all the morning’s wealth’ is worth to study.

The poet employs many poetic devices to highlight the theme of the poem very clearly. Alliteration is abundantly used eg. Flock, leisurely (‘l’sound), bees, sheets, smooth (‘s’ sound) and ‘stealth, wealth’(th). Assonance is used in bees, seas, trees etc. We can see metaphor also in attributing sleep as mother and barrier. Personification can be seen in “win thee”. True oxymoron is used in ‘blessed barrier’. The rhyme scheme used here is abba,abba, cdc, dcd.

Although the poem treats a simple theme, it has a deeper insight and philosophy of life. Modern people are interested to do everything instantly. They want to have sleep instantly by swallowing sleeping pills. This poem is really an answer to the problems of the modern people.

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