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Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Mike Jarman (---.server.ntli.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 07:58AM

Could any one tell me what the phrase " the music and the mirth of kings are out of tune unless she sings" means in the poem -close thine eyes and sleep secure etc - by Quarles and also ?? Charles I
I am interested in who is 'She' that sings


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 10:59AM

How about posting the poem?


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Hugh Clary (---.denver-05rh15-16rt.co.dial-access.att.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 11:21AM

A Good-night

Close now thine eyes and rest secure;
Thy soul is safe enough, thy body sure;
He that loves thee, He that keeps
And guards thee, never slumbers, never sleeps.

The smiling conscience in a sleeping breast
Has only peace, has only rest;
The music and the mirth of kings
Are all but very discords, when she sings;
Then close thine eyes and rest secure;
No sleep so sweet as thine, no rest so sure.
--Francis Quarles


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: peternsz (---.client.comcast.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 11:34AM

Maybe a personified breast in line 5.

Peter


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: IanB (---.tnt11.mel1.da.uu.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 11:42AM

The meaning has been obscured by misquotation.

In the poem as posted by Hugh, 'she' surely refers to a personification of conscience. The singing of a happy conscience is compared to the music to which kings make merry, and is said to make the latter seem almost discordant by comparison.


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 12:46PM


I agree. "She" is the conscience, not the breast.


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Marian-NYC (---.nyc1.dsl.speakeasy.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 12:46PM

In other words, if your conscience is clear, you can sleep through ANYTHING.


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Mike Jarman (---.server.ntli.net)
Date: July 19, 2004 12:51PM

There are 2 versions - this one has the words we sing in the London Welsh Male Voice choir -

Close thine eyes and sleep secure,
Thy soul is safe, thy body sure;
He that guards thee, he that keeps,
Never slumbers, never sleeps.
A quiet conscience, in a quiet breast,
Has only peace, has only rest:
The music and the mirth of kings
Are out of tune, unless she sings.
Then close thine eyes in peace, and rest secure,
No sleep so sweet as thine, no rest so sure.


This is the original by Frances Quarles

Close now thine eyes and rest secure;
Thy soul is safe enough, thy body sure;
He that loves thee, He that keeps
And guards thee, never slumbers, never sleeps.

The smiling conscience in a sleeping breast
Has only peace, has only rest;
The music and the mirth of kings
Are all but very discords, when she sings;
Then close thine eyes and rest secure;
No sleep so sweet as thine, no rest so sure.
--Francis Quarles

Thank you for your comments - the query came when our conductor was asked by a choir in Boston who is she?


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Ally Carmikle (192.168.128.---)
Date: August 30, 2006 10:20PM

My Highschool choir is currently singing this poem, however, we always analyze the songs we sing before we begin to learn them. Having studied a bit of Francis Quarles' work, I know he was a man who very much appreciated solitude. When we addressed that fact in our class, we came to the conclusion that it was nothing more than a lullabye that a father would sing to his child when putting them to sleep. The "She" mentioned is the woman who is singing the lullabye, and the line "The Smiling conscience in a sleeping breast" is very simple: When you sleep, all thoughts and worries fade away. You're left unto your dreams, where nothing bad can happen to you, and so nothing is weighing on your conscience.

That's just a bunch of 11th and 12th graders opinions though!


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: August 31, 2006 12:24PM

This is interesting:

[rpo.library.utoronto.ca] />
To me, the 'she' referenced is the smiling conscience. The construction of the sentence, with the semicolons chosen, would seem to force that interpretation. That's what a pronoun does, I mean - it refers back to a noun already mentioned.


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Elliot (192.168.128.---)
Date: October 25, 2006 07:08PM

An interesting fellow, Quarles, a contemporary of Shakespear, whoever that realy was.

A short bio:
[www.luminarium.org] />
E.


Re: Close thine eyes and sleep secure
Posted by: Hugh Clary (192.168.128.---)
Date: October 26, 2006 12:36PM

Hmmm ... Shakespeare died 1616, Quarles born 1592. So Frankie was only 24 years old when Willy shuffled off. Not exactly a contemporary. Of Robert Herrick and George Herbert now, sure.

As far as the works attributed to Shakespeare actually having been penned by someone else, I have read pretty much all the arguments to date and have found nothing that compels me to believe it was another person.




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