Scripture Verse

He giveth His beloved sleep. Psalm 127:2


Elizabeth B. Browning

Words: Eliz­a­beth B. Brown­ing, from her po­em The Sleep, in The Ser­a­phim and Oth­er Po­ems, 1838.

Music: Pa­ter Om­ni­um Hen­ry J. E. Holmes, 1875 (🔊 pdf nwc).

Alternate Tune:

If you know where to get a bet­ter pho­to of Holmes, would you ?

Henry J. E. Holmes


Of all the thoughts of God that are
Borne inward into souls afar,
Along the psalmist’s music deep,
Now tell me if there any is,
For gift or grace surpassing this:
He giveth His belovèd sleep?

What would we give to our beloved?
The hero’s heart to be unmoved,
The poet’s star tuned harp, to sweep,
The patriot’s voice, to teach and rouse,
The monarch’s crown, to light the brows?
He giveth His belovèd sleep.

What do we give to our beloved?
A little faith all undisproved,
A little dust to over weep,
And bitter memories to make
The whole earth blasted for our sake:
He giveth His belovèd sleep.

Sleep soft, belovèd! we sometimes say,
Who have no tune to charm away
Sad dreams that through the eyelids creep
But never doleful dream again
Shall break the happy slumber when
He giveth His belovèd sleep.

O earth, so full of dreary noises!
O men, with wailing in your voices!
O delvèd gold, the wailer’s heap!
O strife, O curse, that o’er it fall!
God strikes a silence through you all,
And giveth His belovèd sleep.

His dews drop mutely on the hill,
His cloud above it saileth still,
Though on its slope men sow and reap;
More softly than the dew is shed,
Or cloud is floated overhead,
He giveth His belovèd sleep.

Ay, men may wonder while they scan
A living, thinking, feeling man,
Confirmed in such a rest to keep;
But angels say, through the word
I think their happy smile is heard—
He giveth His belovèd sleep.

For me my heart that erst did go,
Most like a tired child at a show,
That sees through tears the mummers leap,
Would now its wearied vision close,
Would, childlike, on His love repose,
Who giveth his belovèd sleep.

And friends, dear friends—when it shall be
That this low breath is gone from me,
And round my bier you come to weep,
Let One, most loving of you all,
Say, Not a tear must o’er her fall
He giveth His belovèd sleep.