Pedro Calderon de la Barca

So sleep; sleep fast: and sleep away those two
Night-potions, and the waking dream between
Which dream thou must believe; and, if to see
Again, poor Segismund! that dream must be.—
And yet, and yet, in these our ghostly lives,
Half night, half day, half sleeping, half awake,
How if our waking life, like that of sleep,
Be all a dream in that eternal life
To which we wake not till we sleep in death?
How if, I say, the senses we now trust
For date of sensible comparison,—
Ay, ev’n the Reason’s self that dates with them,
Should be in essence or intensity
Hereafter so transcended, and awake
To a perceptive subtlety so keen
As to confess themselves befool’d before,
In all that now they will avouch for most?
One man—like this—but only so much longer
As life is longer than a summer’s day,
Believed himself a king upon his throne,
And play’d at hazard with his fellows’ lives,
Who cheaply dream’d away their lives to him.
The sailor dream’d of tossing on the flood:
The soldier of his laurels grown in blood:
The lover of the beauty that he knew
Must yet dissolve to dusty residue:
The merchant and the miser of his bags
Of finger’d gold; the beggar of his rags:
And all this stage of earth on which we seem
Such busy actors, and the parts we play’d,
Substantial as the shadow of a shade,
And Dreaming but a dream within a dream!

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