How does the poet describe the slave waiting for his death in "The Slave's Dream"?
Extremely exhausted, the slave collapses on the ground and loses his consciousness. He begins to watch a dream that reflects his deepest yearnings.
He sees himself as a free man, surrounded by “his dark-eyed queen”
and children. Then, he imagines himself as becoming “Once more a king” riding on his stallion unrestrictedly. In the world of his dreams, at least, he’s not a slave; nobody stops him or questions him.
In reality, he’s a slave. Years ago, he must have been transported miles away from his native land to be sold and bought as a slave. He knows his desires and dreams are never going to turn true in this life. These dreams merely provide him a momentary escape from his bestial existence.
It’s only death that can relieve him from his miseries and pains. So, while watching the dream, he noiselessly and painlessly embraces death.
He did not feel the driver's whip,
Nor the burning heat of day;
For Death had illumined the Land of Sleep,
Now, neither does “the driver’s whip” stir him nor does “the burning heat of day” discomfort him. Death has come to him as a much-cherished reward that has “illumined the Land of Sleep.”
From the darkness of his slave’s life, death has carried him away to an “illumined” land. He’s no more a slave. His black body had been a “fetter” that has now been “broken and thrown away” by death’s stroke. Like a liberator, death relieves him of all his agonies and sufferings.