Sleep Sweetly

Roger J. Williams recited this poem by Victor Hugo at the Second Poetry Conference at the Joe C. Thompson Conference Center, University of Texas, Austin, October 10, 1986. A copy of the poem was on a wall in an inn or room where he was a houseguest many years ago. He liked it and memorized it then. He said he recited it on retiring each night. Margo Biesele, his long-time assistant, read it at his funeral, in February 1988.

Sleep sweetly in this quiet room

Oh thou, whoe’er thou art,

And let no mournful yesterdays

Disturb your peaceful heart.

                                 Nor let tomorrow pierce thy rest

                                 With dreams of coming ill:

                                 Thy Maker is thy changeless friend,

                                 His love surrounds thee still.

Forget thyself and all the world;

Put out each glaring light.

The stars are watching overhead.

Sleep sweetly, then. Goodnight.

—Victor Hugo (1802-1885)