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No. LIV.*_WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 18th, 1820.
Tre materialists and psychologists are at issue upon the subject of dreams. The latter hold them to be one among the many proofs of the existence of a soul : the former endeavour to account for them upon principles altogether corporeal. We must own, that the effects of their respective arguments, as is usual with us on these occasions, is not so much to s
satisfy us with either, as to dissatisfy us with both. The psychologist, with all his struggles, never appears to be able to get rid of his body, and the materialist leaves something extremely deficient in the vivacity of his proofs, by his ignorance of that Primum Mobile, which is the soul of every thing. In the mean time, while they go on with their laudable enquiries (for which we have a very sincere respect),, it is our business to go on recommending a taste for results as well as
causes, and turning every thing to account in this beautiful star of ours; the earth, whether body or soul. There is no reason why the most learned investigator of the most subtle mysteries should not enjoy his existence, and have his earthly dreams made as pleasant as possible: and for our parts we see nothing at present, either in body or soul, but a medium for a world of perceptions, the very unpleasantest of whose dreams are but warnings to us how we depart from the health and natural piety of the pleasant ones.
What seems incontrovertible in the case of dreams is, that they are most apt to take place when the body is most affected. They seem to turn most upon us, when the suspension of the will has been reduced
* The last INDICATOR was by mistake numbered I. It should have been LIII., according to the venerable continuous principle, in these cases made and provided. The reader will be good enough to alter it with his pen.
to its most helpless state by indulgence. The door of the fancy is left without its keeper; and forth issue, pell mell, the whole rout of ideas or images, which had been previously stored within the brain and kept to their respective duties. They are like a school let loose, or the winds in Virgil, or Lord Anson's drunken sailors at Panama, who dressed themselves up in all sorts of ridiculous apparel ; only they are far more wild, winged, and fantastic.
We were about to say, that being writers, we are of necessity dreamers; for thinking disposes the bodily faculties to be more than usually affected by the causes that generally produce dreaming. But extremes appear to meet on this as on other occasions; at least as far as the meditative power is concerned; for there is an excellent reasoner, now living, who telling another that he was not fond of the wilder parts of the Arabian Nights, was answered, with great felicity, “ Then
you never dream :"-which, it turned out, was actually the
Here the link is totally lost, that connects a tendency to indi. gestion with thinking on the one hand, and dreaming on the other. If we are to believe Herodotus, the Atlantes, an African people, never dreamt; which Montaigne is willing to attribute to their never having eaten any thing that died of itself. It is to be presumed that he looked upon their temperance as a matter of course. The same philosopher, who was a deep thinker, and of a delicate constitution, informs us that he himself dreamt but sparingly; but then when he did, his dreams were fantastic though chearful. This is the very triumph of the ani. mal spirits, to unite, the strangeness of sick dreams with the chearful. ness of healthy ones. To these exceptions against the usual theories we may add, that dreams, when they occur, are by no means modified of necessity by wbat the mind has been occupied with in the course of the day, or even of months; for during our two years' confinement in prisont, we have a strong recollection that we did not dream more than twice of our chief subjects of reflection, the prison itself not ex. dopted. The two dreams were both about the latter, and both the same. We fancied that we had shipped out of jail, and gone to the theatre, where we were much horrified by seeing the faces of the whole audience unexpectedly turned upon us.
It is certain enough however that dreams in general proceed from indigestion, and it appears nearly as much so, that they are more or less strange aceording to the waking faney of the dreamer,
All dreams, as in old Galen I have read,
from repletion and complexion bred,
And noxious bumours that infect the blood. This! 5!3n+When choler overflows, then dreams are bred. 2004
of flames, and all the family of red,
Choler adust congeals the blood with fear, 1901
13 Then black bulls toss us, and black devils tear.
In sanguine airy dreams aloft we bound, 11.00. With rheums oppressod we sink, in rivers drowned, , , , , , , ,
Drypen's Cock and the Fox from Chaucer.
Again, in another passage which is worth quoting instead of the original, and affords a good terse specimen of the author's versifications
Dreams are but interludes which Fancy makes;
: : :
come to mind.
Chimeras all; and more absurd or less. It is probable; at the same time, that a trivial degree of indigestion will give rise to very. fantastic dreams a fanciful mind; while on the other hand a good orthodox repletion is necessary towards a fanciful création in a dull one. It shall make an epicure, of any vivacity, act as many parts in his sleep, as a tragedian for that night only." The jaspirations of real in particular are accounted extremely Detphic: Italian pickles. partake of the spirit of Dante;, and a butter-boat shall contain as many ghosts as Charon's.
There is a passage in Lucian, which would have made a good subject for those who painted the temptations of the saints. It is a description of the City of Dreams, very lively and crowded. We quote after Natalis Comes, not having the True Ilistory by us. The city, we are told, stands in an immense plain, surrounded by a thick forest of tall poppy trees, and enormous mandragoras. The plain is also full of all sorts of somniculous plants; and the trees are haunted, with multitudes of owls and bats, but no other bird. The city is washed by the river Lethe, called by others the Night-bringer, whose course is inau, dible and like the flowing of oil. (Spenser's follower Browne has been herejnos en ?otoris poté bytt 22:05 Save itie bat and sullen owl;
Where consort none other fowl. godine 200176 Where flows Letle without coil, Desserts in Softly, like a stream of oil. to
Det synes v5 1504 Inner Temple: Mask.)in: There are two gates to the city; one of horn, in which almost every thing that can happen in sleep is represented, as in a transparency; the other of ivory, in wnich the dreams are but dimly shadowed. The principal temple is that of Night; and there are others, dedicated to Truth and Falsehood, who have oracles. The population consists of Dreams, who are of an infinite variety of shape. Some are small and
* Perlaps a misprint for
A court of coblers and a mob of kings.
slender; others distorted, humped, and monstrous; others very proper and tall, with blooming, good-tempered faces. Others again have terrible countenances, are winged, and seem eternally threatening the city with some calamity; while others walk about in the pomp and garniture of kings. If any mortal comes into the place, there is a multitude of domestic Dreams, who meet him with offers of service; and who are followed by some of the others, that bring him good or bad news, generally false ; for the inhabitants of thạt city are for the most part a lying and crafty generation, speaking-one thing, and thinking another. This is having a new advantage over us. Only think of the mental reservation of a Dream!
If Lucian had divided his city into ranks and denominations, he might possibly have classed them under the general heads of Dreams Lofty, Dreams Ludicrous, Dreams Pathetic, Dreams Horrible, Dreams Bodily Painful or Pleasant, Dreams of Common Life, Dreams of New Aspects of Humanity, Dreams Mixed, Fantastic, and utterly Confused. He speaks of winged ones; which is judicious, for they are very common but unless Natalis Comes, who is not a very bright person, misrepresents him, he makes them of the melancholy class, 'which in general they are not.
In airy sanguine dreams aloft we bound. Nothing is more common, or usually more pleasant, than to dream of flying. It is one of the best specimens of the race, for besides being agreeable, it is made up of the dreams of ordinary life, and those of surprising combination. Thus the dreamer sometimes thinks he is flying in unknown regions, sometimes skimming only a few inches above the ground, and wondering he never did it before. He will even dream that he is dreaming about it; and yet is so fully convinced of its feasibility, and so astonished at his never having hit upon so de: lightful a truism, that he is resolved to practise it the moment he wakes.
One has only,” says he, "just to give a little spring with one's foot-so-and-oh its the easiest and most obvious thing in the world. I'll always skim hereafter.” We once dreamt that a woman set up some Flying Rooms, as a person does a tavern. We went to try them; and nothing could be more satisfactory and common-place on all sides. The landlady welcomed us with a courtesy, hoped for friends and favours, &c. and then shewed us into a spacious room, not round, as might be expected, but long, and after the usual dining fashion. “Perhaps, Sir," said she, s you would like to try the room ;” upon which we made no more ado, but sprung up and made two or three genteel circuits, now taking the height of it like a house-lark, and then cutting the angles like a swallow. “ Very pretty flying indeed,” said we, “and very moderate."
A house for the purpose of taking flights in, when the open to be had for nothing, is fantastic enough ; but what shall we say to those confoundings of all time, place, and substance, which are constantly happening to persons of any creativeness of diaphragm ? Thus you shall meet a friend jn a gateway, who besides being your friend
shall be your enemy; and besides being Jones or Tomkins, shall be a bull; and besides asking you in, shall oppose your entrance. Never. theless you are not at all surprised; or if surprised, are only so at something not at all surprising. To be Tomkins and a bull at once, is the most ordinary of common-places; but that, being a bull, he should have horns, is what astonishes you; and you are also amazed at his not being in Holborn or the Strand, where he never lived. To be in two places at once is not uncommon to a dreamer. He will also be young and old at the same time, a school-boy and a man; will live many years in a few minutes, like the Sultan who dipped his head in the tub of water; will be full of zeal and dialogue upon some matter of indifference; go to the opera with a dish under his arm, to be in the fashion ; talk faster in verse than prose; and ask a set of horses to a musical party, telling them that he knows they will be pleased, because blue is the general wear, and Mozart has gone down to Gloucestershire to fit up a house for Epaminondas.
It is a curious proof of the concern which body has in these vagaries, that when you dream of any particular limb being in pain, you shall often have gone to sleep in a posture that affects it. A weight on the feet will produce dreams in which you are rooted to the ground, or caught by a goblin out of the earth. A cramped hand or leg shall get you tortured in the Inquisition; and a head too much thrown back, give you the sense of an interminable visitation of stifling. The night-mare, the heaviest punisher of repletion, will visit some persons, merely for lying on their backs; which shews how much it is concerned in a particular condition of the frame. Sometimes it lies
upon the chest like a vital lump. Sometimes it comes in the guise of a horrid
Ir teeth and will not let you rise. Its most common enormity is to pin you to the ground with excess of fear, while something dreadful is coming up, a goblin or a mad bull. Sometimes the horror is of a very elaborate description, such as being spell-bound in an old house, which has a mysterious and shocking possessor. He is a gigantic deformity, and will pass presently through the room in which you are sitting. I
comes, not a giant, but a dwarf, of the most strange and odious description, hairy, spider-like, and chuckling. His mere passage is unbearable. The agony rises at every step. You would protest against so malignant a sublimation of the shocking, but are unable to move or speak. At length, you give loud and long-drawn groans, and start up with a præternatural effort, awake.
Mr. Coleridge, whose sleeping imagination seems proportioned to his waking, has described a fearful dream of mental and bodily torture. As the brautiful poems of Christabel, &c. which accompany it, seem to have been too imaginative to be understood by the critics, and cousequently have wanted the general attention which the town are pleased to give or otherwise according to the injunctions of those gentlemen, we shall indulge ourselves in extracting the whole of it. It is entitled the Pains of Sleep.