The Agony

John Bannister Tabb

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I wrestled, as did Jacob, till the dawn,
With the reluctant Spirit of the Night
That keeps the keys of Slumber. Worn and white,
We paused a panting moment, while anon
The darkness paled around us. Thereupon--
His mighty limbs relaxing in affright--
The Angel pleaded: "Lo, the morning light!
O Israel, release me, and begone!"

Then said I, "Nay, a captive to my will
I hold thee till the blessing thou dost keep
Be mine." Whereat he breathed upon my brow;
And, as the dew upon the twilight hill,
So on my spirit, over-wearied now,
Came tenderly the benediction, Sleep.

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