Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, 403; Thus in "The Squire's Tale here  344       But thus I lete in lust and jolitee                But thus I leave in pleasure and jollity 345       This Cambyuskan his lordes festeiynge                This Cambyuskan entertaining his lords 346       Til wel ny the day bigan to sprynge.                Until well nigh the day began to spring.  347       The norice of digestioun, the sleep,                The nurse of digestion, the sleep, 348       Gan on hem wynke and bad hem taken keep                Did on them wink (as a signal) and bad them take notice 349       That muchel drynke and labour wolde han reste;                That much drink and activity make rest necessary; 350       And with a galpyng mouth hem alle he keste,                And with a yawning mouth he kissed them all, 351       And seyde that it was tyme to lye adoun,                And said that it was time to lie down, 352       For blood was in his domynacioun.                For blood (the humor) was in its domination. 353       "Cherisseth blood, natures freend," quod he.                "Cherish blood, nature's friend," said he. 354       They thanken hym galpynge, by two, by thre,                They thank him yawning, by two, by three, 355       And every wight gan drawe hym to his reste,                And every creature did draw himself to his rest, 356       As sleep hem bad; they tooke it for the beste.                As sleep them bad; they took it for the best. 357       Hire dremes shul nat now been toold for me;                Their dreams shall not now be told for me; 358       Ful were hire heddes of fumositee,                Their heads were full of fumes from drinking wine, 359       That causeth dreem of which ther nys no charge.                That causes dreams of which there is no significance. 360       They slepen til that it was pryme large,                They sleep until it was nine a.m., 361       The mooste part, but it were Canacee.                The most part, except for Canacee. 362       She was ful mesurable, as wommen be;                She was very temperate, as women are; 363       For of hir fader hadde she take leve                For of her father had she taken leave 364       To goon to reste soone after it was eve.                To go to rest soon after it was evening. 365       Hir liste nat appalled for to be,                She did not wish to be grown pale, 366       Ne on the morwe unfeestlich for to se,                Nor in the morning to appear unfestive, 367       And slepte hire firste sleep, and thanne awook.                And slept her first sleep, and then awoke. 368       For swich a joye she in hir herte took                For such a joy she in her heart took 369       Bothe of hir queynte ryng and hire mirour,                Both of her strange ring and her mirror, 370       That twenty tyme she changed hir colour;                That twenty times she changed her color; 371       And in hire sleep, right for impressioun                And in her sleep, directly because of the mental impression 372       Of hire mirour, she hadde a visioun.                Made by her mirror, she had a vision. 373       Wherfore, er that the sonne gan up glyde,                Therefore, before the sun did glide upward, 374       She cleped on hir maistresse hire bisyde,                She called on her governess who was beside her, 375       And seyde that hire liste for to ryse.                And said that she wished to rise. This passage may support Ekirch’s point however the fact that her companions stayed up later, although note there is no indication in the passage that this was “past midnight”, and had “much drink” causing them to sleep “bad” may have more to do with their pattern of sleep. William Baldwin, Beware the Cat: The First English Novel, William A. Ringler, Jr., and Michael Flachmann, eds. (San Marino, Calif., 1988), 5. here Similarly, William Baldwin's sixteenth-century satire Beware the Cat  recounts a quarrel between the protagonist, "newly come unto bed," and two roommates who "had already slept" their "first sleep."  “And among many other things to long to rehearce : it hapned on a night (which I think was the twenty eight of December) after that M. Ferrers was come from the Court, and in bed: there fel a controversie between maister Streamer (who with Maister Willot had already slept their first sleep) and mee that was newly come unto bed, the effect wherof was whether Birds and beasts had reason, the occasion therof was this.” However this passage does not give any indication of the time that the events recounted take place and make no mention of it being “past midnight” or sleeping until dawn as Ekirch seeks to implies. BACK
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