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Shakespeare on Morning Practices
discovered among his papers by Kay Heikkinen
by Shakespeare, thanks to Ben Wikler
posted on December 18, 2002

To bed, or not to bed: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to linger
Twixt sheets and pillows of luxurious fortune,
Or to take oars to row a sea of honors,
And by stroking win them? To row--or sleep
At morn; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To row--or sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that morning sleep what dreams may come
When we have cast aside that mortal oar,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes attraction of so long rowing;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of team,
The coach's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of muscle torn, the scout's delay,
The insolence of judges and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a snooze button? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something in the sleep,
The undiscover'd country whose far bourn
Few travellers recall, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make rowers of us all;
And thus the native hue of fair somnolence
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose all power to charm.


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