one time or other, hurry him on to a real perpetration of a like nature. If we ever derive this advantage from a dream, we cannot pronounce it useless. And this, or a similar advantage, may sometimes be derived from dreaming. For why may we not, in this way, reap improvement from a fiction of our own fancy, as well as from a novel, or a fable of Æsop?

One of the finest moral tales I ever read, is an account of a dream in the Tatler, which, though it has every appearance of a real dream, comprehends a moral so sublime and so interesting, that I question whether any man who attends to it can ever forget it ; and if he remembers, whether he can ever cease to be the better for it. Addison is the author of the paper; and I shall give the story in his own elegant words.

• I was once,' says the TATLER, in agonies of grief that are unutterable, and in so great a dis• traction of mind, that I thought myself even out ! of the possibility of receiving comfort. The oc

casion was as follows: When I was a youth, in . a part of the army which was then quartered at • Dover, I fell in love with an agreeable young woman of a good family in those parts, and had the satisfaction of seeing my addresses kindly re• ceived, which occasioned the perplexity. I am 'going to relate. We were, in a calm evening, diverting ourselves, on the top of a cliff, with the

prospect of the sea ; and trifiing away the time « in such little fondnesses as are most ridiculous to ‘ people in business, and most agreeable to those « in love. In the midst of these our innocent en« dearments, she snatched a paper of verses out of • my hand, and ran away with them. I was fol• lowing her; when on a sudden the ground, though

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( at a considerable distance from the verge of the

precipice, sunk under her, and threw her down • from so prodigious an height, upon such a range • of rocks, as would have dashed her into ten thou

sand pieces, had her body been made of adamant. • It is much easier for my reader to imagine my

state of mind upon such an occasion, than for me ' to express it. I said to myself, It is not in the

power of Heaven to relieve me when I awaked, • equally transported and atonished, to see myself • drawn out of an affliction, which, the very . moment before, appeared to be altogether inex6 tricable.'

What fable of Esop, nay of Homer, or of Virgil, conveys so fine a moral ? Yet most people have, if I mistake not, met with such deliverances by means of a dream. And such a deliverance will every good man meet with at last, when he is taken away from the evils of life, and awakes in the regions of everlasting light and peace; looking back upon the world, and all its troubles, with a surprise and a satisfaction, similar in kind, though incomparably higher in degree, to that which we now feel, when we escape from a terrifying dream, and open our eyes upon the sweet serenity of a summer morning. Let us not despise instruction, how mean soever the vehicle may be that brings it. Even if it be a dream, let us learn to profit by it. For, whether asleep or awake, we are equally the care of Providence, and neither a dream, nor a waking thought, can occur to us without the permission of Him in whom we live and move, and have our being

Some men dream more and others less; and some, perhaps, though these are few, none at all. This cannot be fully accounted for, from the different

degrees of health which different men enjoy, nor from their different ways of life; though these, and the like peculiarities, may no doubt have some influence. Persons who think much, and take little bodily exercise, will, perhaps, be found to be the greatest dreamers ; especially if their imagination be active, and their nervous system very sensible ; which last is too common an infirmity among men of learning. The sleep of the labouring man is sweet and sound; and his dreams he rarely itmembers: for the faculties of his mind are not much employed, his nerves are strong, and the sphere of his imagination is narrow. As Nature does no. thing in vain, is it not probable that, to the constitutions of some people, dreaming may be more necessary, as a mental recreation, than to those of others? To meditate continually on one set of objects, is detrimental to health, and even to reason ; and, when one is oppressed with low spirits, which often proceed from this very cause, the physician never fails to recommend amusements, company, travelling, sea-voyages, and other expedients, for leading the mind out of its old gloomy track, refreshing it with new ideas, and forcing it to exert itself with unusual energy, and in a new direction.

Go, soft enthusiast, quit the cypress groves,
Nor to the rivulet's lonely moanings tune
Your sad complaint. Go, seek the cheerful haunts
Of men, and mingle with the bustling erowd.
Lay schemes for wealth, or power, or fame, the wish
Of nobler minds, and push them night and day.
Or join the caravan in quest of scenes
New to the eye, and shifting every hour,
Beyond the Alps, beyond the Appenines,
Or, more adventurous, rush into the field
Where war grows hot, and, raging through the sky
The lofty trumpet swells the maddening soul;

And in the hardy camp, and toilsome march,
Forget all softer and less manly cares.


Men, therefore, who think more than others, may have more need than others have, of that amusement and variety which is produced by dreaming. Certain it is, that dreams are often a relief to those who are in perplexity, or who liave long been ruminating upon disagreeable cbjects, or upon any one set of ideas which they cannot easily get rid of. Nor is it necessary in order to effect this, that a dream should in itself be pleasing. Scenes cf difficulty, and even of danger, are, as we have seen, recommended to the patierit oppressed with melancholy; and, if a dream shall only give a new impulse, even for a short time, to the minds of those persons of whom I now speak, it may do them an important service, however disagreeable in itself. Seldom, indeed, are they happy in their dreams, whose faculties are worn out with much thinking.

Dreams depend, in part, on the state of the air. That which has power over the passions may reasonably be presumed to have power over the thoughts

For the thoughts that occur to a mind actuated by any passion, are always congenial to that passion, and tend to encourage it. Now, most people know by experience, how efectual, in producing joy and hope, are pure skies and sunshine, and that a long continuance of dark weather brings on solicitude and melancholy. This is particularly the case with those persons whose nervous system has been weakened by a sedentary life and much thinking, and they, as I hinted formerly, are most subject to troublesome dreams. If the external air can affect the motions of so heavy a substance as

of meil.

mercury, in the tube of the barometer, we need not wonder that it should affect those finer liquids that circulate through the human body. And if our passions and thoughts, when we are awake, may be variously modified by the consistency, defect, or redundance of these liquids, and by the state of the tubes through which they circulate, need we wonder that the same thing should happen in sleep, when our ideas disengaged from the control of reason, may be supposed to be more obsequious to material impulse ? When the air is loaded with gross vapour, dreams are generally disagreeable to persons of a delicate constitution.

If, then, our thoughts in sleep may receive form and colour from so many circumstances ; from the general state of our health,

from the present state of the stomach and fluids, from the temperature of the air, from the position of external objects in contact with our body, and from the tenor of our thoughts through the day *; shall we be surprised at the variety of our dreams and when any uncommon or disagreeable dream occurs, is it not more rational to refer it to one or other of these causes, than to terrify ourselves with a foolish conceit, that it is supernatural, and betokens calamity ? How often, during the day, do thoughts arise, which we cannot account for, as uncommon perhaps and incongruous, as those which

compose our dreams! Once, after riding thirty miles in a very high wind, I remember to have passed a night of dreams that were, beyond description, terrible ; insomuch, that I at last found it expedient to keep myself awake, that I might no more be tormented with them. Had I been superstitious, I should

* See Number 73.

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