(There is said to be a steady demand for “bedbooks”
in England. There are readers who find in Gibbon a
sedative for tired nerves; there are others who enjoy
Trollope’s quiet humour. Some people find in Henry
James’s tangled syntax the restful diversion they seek,
and others enjoy Mr. Howells’s unexciting realism.
How sleep the brave who sink to rest,
Lulled by the waves of dreamy diction,
Like that appearing in the best
Of modern fiction!
When sleeplessness the Briton claims,
And hits him with her wakeful wallop,
He goes to Gibbon or to James,
Or maybe Trollope.
No paltry limit, such as those
The craving-slumber Yankee curses–
He has a wealth of poppy prose
And opiate verses.
A grain of–ought I mention names
And say whence sleep may be inspired?
Is it the thing to say of James,
“He makes me tired?”
To say “a dose of Phillips, or
A capsule of Sinclair or Brady,
Is just the thing to make me snore?”
Nay! It were churlish to review
And specify by marked attention
Our bedbooks. They are far too nu-
Merous to mention.