The Lord Chancellor’s Nightmare- what an exhausting sleep!

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How much of this description of a bad night’s sleep can you relate to?

It seems things haven’t changed much since 1882!

The following are lyrics  from the satirical 1882 opera ‘Iolanthe’ by Gilbert and Sullivan. The Lord Chancellor arrives dressed for bed and describes a bad night’s sleep caused by unrequited love. 


Love unrequited, robs me of me rest,
Love, hopeless love, my ardent soul encumbers,
Love, nightmare like, lies heavy of me chest,
And weaves itself into my midnight slumbers.
When you’re lying awake with a dismal headache and
Repose is taboo’d by anxiety,
I conceive you may use any language you choose to
Indulge in, without impropriety;
For your brain is on fire, the bed-clothes conspire of
Usual slumber to plunder you:
First your counter-pane goes, and uncovers your toes,
And your sheet slips demurely from under you;
Then the blanketing tickles, you feel like mixed
Pickles, so terribly sharp is the pricking,
And you’re hot and you’re cross, and you tumble and
Toss ’til there’s nothing ‘twixt you and the
Then the bed-clothes all creep to the ground in a heap
And you pick ’em all up in a tangle;
Next your pillow resigns and politely declines to
Remain at it’s usual angle!
Well, you get some repose in the form of a dose, with
Hot eye-balls and head ever aching,
But your slumbering teems with such horrible dreams
That you’d very much better be waking;
For you dream you are crossing the channel, and
Tossing about in a steamer from harwich,
Which is something between a large bathing machine and
A very small second class carriage,
And you’re giving a treat (penny ice and cold meat) to
A party of friends and relations,
They’re a ravenous horde, and they all come on board
At sloane square and south kensington stations.
And bound on that journey you find your attorney
(who started this morning from devon);
He’s a bit undersiz’d and you don’t feel surpris’d
When he tells you he’s only eleven.
Well you’re driving like mad with this singular lad
(by the bye the ship’s now a four wheeler),
And you’re playing round games, and he calls you bad
Names when you tell him that “ties pay the dealer”;
But this you can’t stand so you throw up your hand,
And you find you’re as cold as an icicle;
In your shirt and your socks (the black silk with gold
Clocks) crossing sal’sbury plain on a bicycle:
And he and the crew are on bicycles too, which they’ve
Somehow or other invested in,
And he’s telling the tars all the particulars of a
Company he’s interested in;
It’s a scheme of devices, to get at low prices, all
Good from cough mixtures to cables
(which tickled the sailors), by treating retailers as
Though they were all vegetables;
You get a good spadesman to plant a small tradesman
(first take off his boots with a boot tree),
And his legs will take root, and his fingers will
Shoot, and they’ll blossom and bud like a fruit
From the green grocer tree you get grapes and green
Pea, cauliflower, pine apple and cranberries,
While the pastry cook plant cherry brandy will grant,
Apple puffs, and three corners, and banburys;
The shares are a penny and ever so many are taken by
Rothschild and baring,
And just as a few are allotted to you, you awake
And with a shudder despairing
You’re a regular wreck, with a crick in your neck, and
No wonder you snore, for your head’s on the floor
And you’ve needles and pins from your soles to your
Shins, and your flesh is acreep, for your left leg’s
And you’ve cramp in your toes, and a fly on your nose,
And some fluff in your lung, and a feverish tongue,
And a thirst that’s intense,
And a general sense that you haven’t been sleeping in
But the darkness has pass’d, and it’s daylight at
Last, and the night has been long, ditto, ditto my
And thank goodness they’re both of them over!


Sleepyhead is exhausted just reading it!

Have plenty of wind down time before bed tonight, you can’t force thoughts and feelings to go away so at least give yourself some time to process them rather than staring up at the ceiling late at night. Remember: worries and anxieties will have little influence over a powerful sleep drive so make sure you can’t keep your eyes open before you hit the sack!


Check out @sleepyclinic for more helpful tips and advice about your sleep.