Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK George Wither, Ivvenila (London, 1633), 239; this quote deals with man’s contemplation of his fate during the night which is a rather  specific context. Also contrary to what Ekirch asserts Wither does offer further elaboration as to his sleep. It should also be noted this passage does not actually say that he woke from ‘first sleep’. Through this description; thinke upon't at night, Soone in thy bed, when earth's depriv’d of light : I say at mid-night, when thou wak'st from sleepe, And lonely darkenesse, doth in silence keepe The grim fac't night. And, but imagine then Thou wert borne all alone to some darke den, And there set naked: though thou felt no paine, Yet seeing no way to get out againe, If thou fhouldfl in that naked loneneffe heare Some yelling voyce, or fome ftrange noife draw neare, With threatning ; or but calling on thy name : Oh with what patience couldft thou bide the fame ! But if withall, thy wandring eyes fhould marke, And now and then fee peering through the darke Some monftrous vifages, or vgly faces, Which would make proffer of fome rude embraces, And fometime feeme as if they would begin With griping pawes to feize thy trembling skin ; Or, but fuppofe, that in thy Chamber there, Where cannot be the hundreth part of feare (Becaufe to thee the place well knowne will be, And thou maift haue therewith to couer thee) Yet there I fay fuppofe thou fhouldft behold, Not fuch grim obiecls as are heere foretold, But onely heare the dolefull voyce of men Complaining in the darke ; And now and then, Behold the ghaftly fhape of friends long dead, Wrapt in their fheetes as they were buried ; Or elfe from out thy Chamber flore John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (London, 1690), 589. Ekirch’s use of this quote from John Locke is in my opinion completely incorrect, using a completely out of context fragment falsely interpreted to support his hypothesis.  "That all men sleep by intervals" does not in any way imply that ‘segmented sleep’ was a “common feature of life.” The full quote is unambiguous, showing that the word ‘interval’ in context can only be taken, given the universality of the 2 other ‘qualities’ mentioned, to mean that man sleeps each day. “Because, not knowing the real constitution on which sensation, power of motion, and reasoning, with that peculiar shape, depend, and whereby they are united together in the same subject, there are very few other qualities with which we can perceive them to have a necessary connexion: and therefore we cannot with certainty affirm: That all men sleep by intervals; That no man can be nourished by wood or stones; That all men will be poisoned by hemlock: because these ideas have no connexion nor repugnancy with this our nominal essence of man, with this abstract idea that name stands for. We must, in these and the like, appeal to trial in particular subjects, which can reach but a little way. We must content ourselves with probability in the rest: but can have no general certainty, whilst our specific idea of man contains not that real constitution which is the root wherein all his inseparable qualities are united, and from whence they flow”. here (page 582) Francis Peck, Desiderrata curiosa: or, A Collection of Divers Scarce and Curious Pieces . . . , 2 vols. (London, 1732), 2: 33 here The only occurrence I can find of anything possibly related to the point that Ekirch is trying to illustrate is   The fourth part of this watch may be called with the fame Romans, Jomnus tempestivus, the seasonable or first sleep. And this because, as experience it self shews, one hour's rest before twelve of the clock is worth two after. Our bodies perhaps perspiring better before, than after, that season. The fifth part of this watch may be called, with the fame antient Romans, ad median: noclem, towards midnight. Because by that time a man hath taken his first nap, the. time of night is generally thereabouts. James Shirley, The Constant Maid (London, 1640); here. Ekirch directs us to “references to the "first sleep" of animals” yet the quote from  is actually for “dead sleep” which is not necessarily synonymous for ‘first sleep’. Close. What, at this time o' night? All people are abed; the very owls Are in their dead sleep ; or, if we could be Samuel Jackson Pratt, Harvest-Home . . . , 3 vols. (London, 1805), 2: 457 here But, ah ! one fatal night, as dark as pitch, Five lovely lambkins took he from the fold, From their first sleep wak'd the dear innocents, And. wreckless of the bleatings of the rest, He drove them up to Smithfield ; there, oh, there, This quote talks of being “From their first sleep wak'd” so even in animals this is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”.   Caroline Matilda Kirkland (Mary , A New Home . . . (New York, 1839), 140. here I am unable to find anything relevant on page 140 or indeed in the entire book. There is an occurrence of ‘first nap” page 51 but it does not concern animals “The first nap was in all its sweetness, when the whole party were aroused by a hideous yelling, which to city ears could be no less than an Indian war-whoop”. This is an example that challenges Ekirch’s assertions that “Typically, descriptions recounted how an aroused individual had "had," "taken," or "gotten" his or her "first sleep." and that  “the vast weight of surviving evidence indicates that awakening naturally was routine, not the consequence of disturbed or fitful slumber”. BACK
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