Twenty Gallons of Sleep [poem by Agnes L. Storrie]

[Editor: This poem by Agnes L. Storrie was published in Poems, 1909.]

Twenty Gallons of Sleep.

Measure me out from the fathomless tun
That somewhere or other you keep
In your vasty cellars, Oh! wealthy one,
Twenty gallons of sleep.

Twenty gallons of balmy sleep,
Dreamless, and deep, and mild,
Of the excellent brand you used to keep
When I was a little child.

I’ve tasted all of your vaunted stock,
Your clarets and ports of Spain,
The liquid gold of your famous hock,
And your matchless dry champagne.

Of your rich muscats, and your sherries fine,
I’ve drunk both well and deep,
Then, measure me out, Oh! merchant mine,
Twenty gallons of sleep.

Twenty gallons of slumber soft,
Of the innocent, baby kind,
When the angels flutter their wings aloft,
And the pillow with down is lined.

And eyelids droop over tired eyes,
That never have learned to weep,
And the soul, like a ship in harbour, lies
Twenty gallons of sleep!

I have drawn the corks, and drained the lees
Of every vintage pressed,
If I’ve felt the sting of my honey bees,
I’ve taken it with the rest.

I have lived my life, and I’ll not repine,
As I sowed I was bound to reap,
Then measure me out, Oh! merchant mine,
Twenty gallons of sleep.

Agnes L. Storrie. Poems, J. W. Kettlewell, Sydney, 1909, pages 20-21

Editor’s notes:
hock = a dry white wine from the German Rhineland; derived from Hochheim, a town in Germany (not to be confused with “hock” as being a part of an animal’s leg or a meat cut thereof, or regarding being in debt or to pawn something of value)

lees = the sediment of wine in a barrel; dregs found in a cask; also used to refer to dregs in a general context

repine = to express (or feel) discontent; to complain or grumble

tun = a large cask, especially used for holding wine; more specifically applied to a unit of liquid capacity of 252 gallons (954 litres)

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