Golden Slumbers Poem By Thomas Dekker Summary, Notes and Line by Line Explanation in English for Students


“Golden Slumbers” is a poem where the poet talks about the peace one gets in one’s sleep. The poet also talks about the rareness of good sleep and how it makes one feel so tranquil and pleasing.

About the poet

During the Elizabethan period, Thomas Dekker was an acclaimed author of plays, pamphlets, and poetry. “Golden Slumbers” is a poem written by Thomas Dekker, an English Elizabethan dramatist and pamphleteer who was born around 1572 and passed away in 1632. Dekker is known for his contributions to Elizabethan drama, having collaborated with other playwrights such as Thomas Middleton and John Webster.


The poem is composed of two quintains. Each quintain has a regular structure, with five lines each.


Stanza 1 

Golden slumbers kiss your eyes,

Smiles awake you when you rise.

Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,

And I will sing a lullaby:

Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

This statement compares sleep to a tender kiss, implying a calm and soothing sleep. The phrase “golden slumbers” suggests that sleep is treasured and priceless. The poet implies that the person will be met with joy and smiles when they awaken. It suggests a happy and upbeat start to the day. The word “wantons” describes people who are gregarious or vivacious. The speaker is pleading with these animated individuals to go to sleep without stress or crying. The speaker assures the audience that she will sing a calming tune to help them fall asleep. The final line of this stanza highlights rocking, which is a frequent calming motion used to soothe infants or aid in sleep. “Rock them” and “lullaby” are repeated, which again emphasizes the calmness that sweet lullaby brings.

Stanza 2

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you;

You are care, and care must keep you.

Sleep, pretty wantons, do not cry,

And I will sing a lullaby:

Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

This stanza implies that a person may be significantly burdened by anxieties or burdens (referred to as “care”). In order to escape or lessen the weight of these worries, the speaker suggests that the audience go to sleep. The speaker says, “You are the source of your worries and cares,” speaking directly to the listener. “Care must keep you” implies that these worries are a necessary aspect of the person’s life. The speaker urges the restless people to go to sleep without crying or showing signs of anxiety, restating the previous statement and restating the commitment to perform a soothing lullaby in order to facilitate a restful night’s sleep. Reiterating the lullaby and the calming imagery of rocking reinforce the idea of establishing a peaceful and tranquil environment for sleeping.


The poem’s central theme is the solace that comes with sleeping. In order to represent a restful and meaningful sleep, the speaker asks for “golden slumbers” to kiss the listener’s eyes. It is said that sleep is a valuable and calming experience in and of itself. The second line implies that the listener will be met with joy and smiles when they wake up. This strengthens the notion that sleep is a vital and joyful experience by establishing a favourable association with the act of waking. “Pretty wantons” are people who are gregarious or exuberant. The speaker is probably referring to kids or anyone with a lively disposition when they address them in this manner. 

The constant urging of the “wantons” to go to sleep without sobbing suggests a need to allay any fears or anxieties. The lullaby is offered as a means of achieving serenity and tranquillity.

The speaker highlights the conventional wisdom that music, particularly lullabies, has a relaxing impact on those who are trying to fall asleep by promising to sing a lullaby. “Rock them, rock them, lullaby” is repeated, highlighting the lullaby’s calming effect. To sum up, “Golden Slumbers” is a pleasant and reassuring lullaby that employs repetition and imagery to create a cosy mood. It speaks directly to the listener, offering the ability of a lullaby to calm anxieties and promote a happy wakeup while also promoting a peaceful night’s sleep.