Dr Neil Stanley Independent Sleep Expert
BACK The Dramatic Works of Sir William D'Avenant, 5 vols. (1872–74; rpt. edn., New York, 1964), 3: 75; here "I am more watchful than a sick constable after his first sleep on a cold bench." This quote while strictly conforming to the point Ekirch is making does seem to be a very specific usage. There is no indication as to what time this is occurs and so we have little idea if this is actually a description of nocturnal “first sleep.”  Dittay, December 18, 1644, in Selected Justiciary Cases, 1624–1650, J. Irvine Smith, ed., 3 vols. (Edinburgh, 1953–74), 3: 642; here  Agnes Finnie was exposed to a serious charge, that there having been a quarrel between her daughter and John Cockburn, “quhairin grit flyting and outrageous wordis, na doubt, was utterit by ayther of them to utheris so that they pairtit unfriendis:–the said John Cockburn going that nycht to his bed to take the nycht's rest, little rest gat he. But having gottin his first sleip, and awaiking furth thereof, being struckin in greet fier and amaisement, he saw and evidently perseaved— all the durris and windowis of his house being fast closed—you Agnes Finnie, with your dochter, bothe sitting on his bed syd fearcelie rugging at his briest, and being in excessive fear with that their violent rugging and vexing of him in manner foresaid, he cryed out all that tyme, God be in this house! I ken ye well eneugheſ God be in this house! Noël Taillepied, A Treatise of Ghosts . . . , Montague Summers, trans. (1933; rpt. edn., Ann Arbor, Mich., 1971), 97–98. In all ages throughout history has it been recorded that disembodied Spirits have appeared, as well by day as by night, but more often about midnight when a man wakes from his first sleep, and the senses are alert, having taken some rest. Earlier in the book (p57) and for some reason missed by Ekirch Farther Taillepied writes The youth, footsore and ill at ease, had hardly fallen into his first sleep. P45 In his Life of Brutus, Plutarch tells that when Brutus was about to take his army from Asia to Europe he sate one midnight in his ten which was dimly lighted and all the camp wrapped in silence. Whilst he was deeply meditating and reflecting he though he heard someone coming into his tent. p54 this passage takes place at the start of the night As he lay in bed inviting slumber in vain he suddenly saw the form of his friend p58 The sleeper awoke with a star from so ominous a dream but in a moment was satisfied that ‘twas but a dream and so soon turned over again Tristan and the Round Table, Anne Shaver, ed. (Binghamton, N.Y., 1983), 101, 153; here Ekirch only gives two examples of first sleep in Tristan and the Round Table missing the one on page 62. Interestingly only the example on page 153 talks about “after their first sleep”  Page 62 “it was the time of first sleep” Page 101 “During the first sleep” Page 153 “after their first sleep”; Boccaccio, The Decameron, Edward Hutton, trans. (New York, 1940), 396, 397; Ekirch gives one example of the use “after your first sleep”in The Decameron, however interestingly this is not given in all translations Eighth day Novel 7 “the Moone being then in her full, and your selfe stript starke naked: immediately after your first sleepe, seaven times you must bathe your selfe” 1620 here  “Whilst the moon is in the decline you must, after your first sleep” 1825 here “it will behove you seven times bathe yourself therewith, all naked, in a running stream, at the hour of the first sleep, what time the moon is far on the wane” 1886 here  However there are a couple of other occurrences of the phrase ‘first sleep’ in the book but in common with other works different translation render the phrase in various manners Fourth day Novel 1 “The same night, about the houre of mens first sleepe” 1620 here  “The next night” here “That same night, at the time of the first sleep” 1886 here  Third day Novel 7 “were apprehended in their first sleep” 1620 here  “and about midnight the two brothers 1825  here “took the two innkeeper brothers and their servant, without resistance, in their first sleep. 1886 here  The Facetious Nights of Straparola, W. G. Waters, trans., 4 vols. (Boston, 1915), 2: 190 here  page 190 “After the first sleep of the night was over the doll woke up and cried out”  Interestingly there are a couple of other examples of ‘first sleep’ in the book page 45 “And when it seemed to him that she was in her first sleep” Page 182 “Scarcely had Adamantina fallen into her first sleep” Baldwin, Beware the Cat, 5 here  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.” There is no indication as to what time these events actually took place and so we cannot be sure exactly what in this context ‘first sleep’ is actually referring to George Fidge, The English Gusman (London, 1652), 11, 17; here Ekirch seemingly misses the occurrences on page 3 and 9 Page 3 HIND being now come to London, did meet with many of his friends, and acquaintance, and one night being drinking in the City, and too long staying by the good liquor, made Indentures as he went by the Counter, (a Trap to catch such Rats, was forced to take a nap before he went any further, and after his first sleep, awaked and looked about him, saying, This is a large house and may entertain many guests, but I do not intend to keep my Christmas here; and afterwards meeting with some mad Lads (as mad as himself) in earnest resolved to be drunk• being before but spiced a little with the same disease, in jest; now they drink and roar, fearing neither Cunstable, nor Watchmen, (to come to disturb them) and at this place Hind became acquainted with [Note: Allen was in the Counter for being drunk. ] Allen, who now is one of the chief Rogues in the Pack and promised Hind to entertain him as his servant, and to learn him such an Art, as would for ever make him a Gentleman, Hind being willing to imbrace his proffer, (to be a Gentleman) vowed, To serve him in any thing: so the morning being come, they payed their Fees, and were discharged; now Hind is very observant to his new Master, and thinks his money well spent in the T[...]pling house, by that means to get so good a Master, in so short a time; Allen takes his servant to the Tavern to consult of some points, that they may lose no time. This passage implies that the ‘first sleep’ is a nap before Hind goes on drinking, not the distinct period of sleep envisaged by Ekirch. Page 9 Allen being free from trouble as he thought, yet spared no horse flesh to be out of the way: but being twenty miles off that place: now thought himself safe: where after supper he went to bed; he had not taken his first sleep before there were search made all over the Town for such men: who at the last came to the Inn where Allen lay: the Constable being somewhat silley, was satisfied with a reasonable Answer: for they came to his Chamber, where by his attend[...]nce he seemed to be some great person: [Note: The Counstable was a softly man. ] Allen was amased to see so many lights, and w[...]tchbills, in his Chamber, said Mr. Counstable, You might have been more civil, then to press into my Chamber [Note: A great mistake. ] at this time of the night: Sir, said the Counstable I was commanded so to do: I would your torches and candles were all out, said Allen, otherwise I shall not sleep: [Note: He speaks to his man. ] Jack: give the Counstable five shilings to make his watchmen drink: I thank you sir said the Counstable, I see you are an honest Gentleman now: Good night sir: Good night Mr. Counstable: I pray let me hear no more of you. This passage implies that Allen’s ‘first sleep’ was disturbed by the search, this is an example that contradicts 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”. Page 11 James is well, for I love him dearly; Gentlemen, I shall desire you to sit up this night for fear of the worst: so Allen made as though that disturbance would not let him sleep any more that night: saying, When my first sleep is broke, I can sleep no longer: so he sends one of his servants to the Host of the house to come and drink with him: who being a good fellow, never denies drink, came willingly to Mr. Allen: (who told him, he was sorry there was any disturbance in the house; but being in all other Inns, he hoped he would not be offended: No, no, said Allen, I am not troubled, but onely for my [Note: He could not sleep in quiet for fear of taking. ] sleep: but this shall be your penalty that you drink all night with me; sir, said the Host, I shall fulfil your desire: then said Allen I will rise; there being a great fire in the room: their drink was muld sack till morning: which when it appeared he caused all his men to be in a readiness for to take horse: and accordingly his desire was accomplished, so taking leave of his Host, rod away: but riding byways because of the hew and cryes overtook a Gentleman riding with a port mantle behinde him: This passage again implies that Allen’s first sleep was broken by a disturbance, this is an example that contradicts 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”. Endimion: An Excellent Fancy First Composed in French by Mounsieur Gombauld, Richard Hurst, trans. (London, 1639), 74; here “So I tooke my first sleepe, which was short and quiet: but in my second I was much troubled with Dreames” Notice the implied disparity between the duration of ‘first’ and ‘second’ sleep challenging Ekirch’s statement that “Both phases lasted roughly the same length of time, with individuals waking sometime after midnight before ultimately falling back to sleep”. Also not there is no indication of any period of wake between the two periods The Works of George Farquhar, Shirley Strum Kenny, ed., 2 vols. (Oxford, 1988), 1: 100. here Love. Pray call him. Serv. Mr. Club, Mr. Club. Love. What, is the Fellow deaf? Serv. No, Sir, but he's asleep, and in Bed. Mr. Club, Mr. Club. Club. Augh ---- [Yawning] I'm asleep , I'm asleep; don't wake me. ----- Augh. Serv. Here's a Gentleman wants ye. Enter Club, -with his Coat unbutton' d., his Garters unty’d, scraticng and yawning, as newly awaken’d from Bed. Club. Pox  o'your London Breeding; what makes you waken a Man out of his Sleep that way? Love. Where's your Master, pray Sir? Club. Augh.----- 'Tis a sad thing to be broken of ones Rest this way. Love. Can you inform me where your Master's gone? Club. My Master! -----Augh---- [Stretching and yarwning]. Love. Yes, Sir, your Master. Club. My Master! â ----Augh. ---- What a Clock is it, Sir?  I believe 'tis past Midnight, for I have gotten my first Sleep, - ---- Augh ----- Love. Thou'rt asleep stilll, Blockhead. Answer me, or --- Where's your Master ? Club. ---Augh. ---- I had the pleasantest Dream when you  call'd me -----Augh.----- I thought my Master's great black Stone-horse had broke loose among the Mares. ---------Augh.----- And so, Sir, you call'd me. -----Augh.-----And so I waken'd. Love, Sirrah, [Strikes him.]-----Now your Dream's out, I hope. Mr Club has been “newly awaken’d from Bed” he believes some time “past midnight” for as he says “I have gotten my first Sleep” and yet although Ekirch would contend that this is a natural awakening after first sleep Mr Club does not seem to believe waking after first sleep is anything but “a sad thing to be broken of ones Rest this way”. This would strongly seem to imply that this was not a natural everyday occurrence and contradicts Ekirch’s assertion that “Western Europeans of varying backgrounds referred to both intervals as if the prospect of awakening in the middle of the night was utterly familiar to contemporaries and thus required no elaboration.” BACK
© Dr. Neil Stanley 2013-2018