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ber. From the second, dated “Keswick, Nov. 14th, 1829,” we extract the following:

“ Your whole letter would have been to me as entirely pleasing as it is full of interesting information, if it were not for the tone in which you speak of yourself and of your own labours. That you might have taken a high place among English poets, had you received the early encouragement which ongbt to have been given, and had you submitted to that patient labour without which no great work can be accomplished, I do not doubt: for I know not any poem in any language more beautifully imaginative than your sonnet upon Echo and Silence. Circumstances have led you to raise for yourself a distinguished reputation in another branch of literature, in itself of a very interesting kind. No other person, I believe, has contributed so largely or so well, to the maieri. als for a literary history of England. And this, as it is a lasting benefit, will draw after it a lasting remembrance. I have profited, and hope io profit more, by these your labours, to which in due time I shall make my thankful and respectful acknowledgements.”—

“You have then done much, Sir Egerton, for which to be remembered,-far more than many of your contemporaries, whose reputations will fade as rapidly as they have flourished. And if you have fallen short of your own youthful aspirations, -who is there that has not, if he aspired at any thing generous ? Who that can afford to compare what he has done, with what it was once his ambition and his hope to do? Gray hairs bring with them little wisdom, if they do not bring this sense of humiliation.”

The Laureate's third letter contains some poetry which we have not seen elsewhere; and with these verses, we conclude our extracts :

“Having no library within reach, I live upon my own stores, which are, however, more ample perhaps than were ever before possessed by one whose whole estate was in his inkstand.

“My days among the dead are past;

Around me I behold
Where'er these casual eyes are cast,

The mighty minds of old :
My never-failing friends are they,
With whom I converse day by day.

“ With them I take delight in weal,

And seek relief in woe;
And while I understand and feel

How much to them I owe,
My cheeks have often been bedew'd
With tears of thoughtful gratitude.
"My thoughts are with the dead; with them

I live in long past years;
Their virtues love, their faults condemn,

Partake their hopes and fears;
And from their lessons, seek and find
Instruction with a humble mind.

"My hopes are with the dead; anon

My place with them will be,
And I with them shall travel on

Thro' all futurity;
Yet leaving here a name, I trust,

That will not perish in the dust. " These stanzas were intended for my Colloqnies, in which I thought at first of interspersing poems, as Boethius has done : but, giving up that intention, this little piece was left unfinished, and so it remains."

THE MICROCOSM.

VOL. III.

MARCH, 1837.

No. 5.

THE MORALS OF DREAMS. This business of dreaming is not wholly profitless, after all ; or rather it need not be wholly profitless. If some men dream to very little purpose, perhaps that is no more than can be said of the doings of most men when they are wide-awake. If money is to be made, or a rail. road surveyed and “graded," or an election turned, dreaming is a most unprofitable work; but nobody thinks of going to sleep for such purpo. ses; we have other ends that are as good in their place as these, and which dreams help to answer most admirably. It is recommendation enough for them that they are natural ; but furthermore, they are often comfortable, and they may be very often instructive.

In their behalf let me introduce a friend of mine, a middle-aged man, who is of a social turn, somewhat enthusiastic, and if he were not my friend I might say a little visionary. Nobody can deny that he is a sensible, good man, and in the better sense a man of the world, though bodily ills have held him aloof from the great crowd of mankind and the whirl of their active concerns. There is no need of saying more about him ; but he happened to dream away two or three nights and days in a pleasant family, within the circle of his friends and mine, where he discoursed one evening, as he has often done since, on this matter of dreams, to the satisfaction, so far as I can learn, of the numerous group about him, even down to little Kate, who was allowed to sit up later than usual that she might hear him talk.

“Why should any body speak contemptuously of dreams, and even try to be rid of all dreaming? To me ihey have the charm of a child's

high spirits ;' for they are the heritage of youth. As the world in its early being was favored more than ever after with privileged visions, so is every individual brain before it is racked or deadened with cares and evils. We can remember that we dreamed very early, but how early we cannot remember. We seem to dream asleep, as soon and as naturally as we see awake. And what odd little fancies must play about in a child, when we see hịm slumbering in his mother's arms !

When his short breathing is interrupted, perhaps he sees somebody taking away his silver bells. He spreads and curves his tiny fingers, it may be to grasp the moon, little lunatic as he is. He will not remember these present dreams when he comes to talk, and as we cannot remember our own we must be content with conjecture. But where is the boy who does not dream with as much vivacity as he plays ? The young man who has no dreams must have grown old before his time. The days of health and buoyancy, of spontaneous movement and enjoyment, are

the festival-days of fancy. Therefore I love dreams-nature has put her kind sanction on them I would have them, even as I would have youth.

“ Besides, there are people in this world, though we are apt to forget them in the midst of all our comforts, whose common wants are hardly supplied except in dreams; whose nights are a sort of compensa. tion, poor indeed, yet all that they can get, for their unwelcome days. No. body cares for them out of their dreams. In dreams they get their best dinners and wear their best clothes. Many a beggar as soon as he shuts his eyes rides off in a coach and four, and returns when he pleases to his palace, and sits down to a sumptuous table. The ragged lad who cannot hunt up for himself work to live upon all the day, as soon as night comes says to one man and another, Do this, and he doeth it. Whole families live night after night on dreams, as happily as their richer neighbors by day.

" But I am sure that dreams are richly instructive, if we study them with a teachable disposition. Perhaps to most people they are about as valuable in this respect as soap-bubbles ; but why? They are slight. ed and forgotten. An oracle must be taken care of, it must be re. spected, it must be listened to; otherwise all its wisdom is wasted. My young friends, take care of your dreams—take pains to dream pleasantly and respectably. You smile, but you can do more in this way than you suppose. Think and feel right all day ; work enough and play enough—not too much ; eat as little as you can comfortably; and then at night you may dream to some advantage. On the other hand, if you, my lad, will eat a late supper, just as likely as not you will find yourself against a perpendicular rock, in the dark, thirty feet in the air, your toes on a ledge two inches wide, your hands holding only the feet of a skeleton above you, which has hung so long that the wind makes whistles of its bones, and presently the legs will snap and you will—wake up in a perspiration. It is all according to the great law, As we sow we reap.—But you must not only take care of your dreams; you must respect them. We cannot learn to advantage without reverencing our instructors. The truth is, wisdom is light from above, and it falls only on the upturned eye of reverence. If you account your dreams no better than amusing trifles, they will be to you nothing better.Moreover, you must listen to the nightly oracles. Think of them; bend your ear to all the truth that is as it were echoed in them. In the morning recall the dream, which your breakfast will otherwise be apt to banish; and if you please, tell it ; in this way you may turn it to account, if it can unfold any lesson of truth or awaken any healthful impulse.-And now while we are on this track, tell me two or three of your dreams ; though I am no prophet, perhaps I may interpret them with some little advantage.

Here a lively boy in the circle seemed so restless, as if he had some. thing to say and yet were too bashful for it, that my friend turned to him encouragingly, and after a little urging, the boy related how he had been disturbed the night before. He had just closed his eyes, when he saw a little spot in the air no bigger than a pin's head, which began to spread and whirl in the same place faster and faster, till he grew dizzy with the speed of the strange thing, and presently it became as large as the great globe that stood on the table, vapory yet hard-looking, still

THE MORALS OF DREAMS.

67

whirling irresistibly. At last, it was tranformed into a score of school. benches, dangling and twirling in the air, almost hitting him, yet not quite, until he awoke crying aloud in affright.

“ All I can say of this case, my lad," answered our instructor, “ is that you had eaten a wrong thing, or too much of a good thing, too near your bed-time. It was the nightmare's experimental lecture on temperance. Now let the next tell us what he can.”

And the next, who was a young man in business, answered as fol. lows—“ I was cheated in trade, Sir, most innocently I was sure—miserably cheated—and though I was asleep, never was a known bankrupt more wretched. I wandered about discontented, desperate, first in the city, and then in the woods, and then again in the city, while the sunshine was sullen to my eye, and the nightfall a dismal consolation. At last, I was found murdering my destroyer in cold blood—and then all men shunned me -I was not so much pitied as hated—I was tried and sentenced—and as the hangman knocked away my footing, I awoke with the struggle.”

“ Then you have learned by the experience of a dream the differ. ence between misfortune and crime, between guilt and wretchedness, between regret and remorse! May it not teach you in your day-life to endure wrong rather than to do it? But this is not all. When you awoke, how heartily you thanked God that it was all a dream. Your fancied ruin was a picture that should awaken you by contrast to a sense of your real prosperity. You cannot quite appreciate the privi. leges of your own free land till you tread the soil of oppression. So in the world of dreams we see how much more miserable we might be in our waking-world, than we actually are even in our poorest estate. In your visions at one time and another, perhaps nearly all human conditions may be effectually painted for the illustration of your own. If you will, then, you may thus learn contentment and thankfulness."

A young lady who sat next in order, after a little urging, which the sex feel bound to require, told how the very morning before, between the time she should have risen and the time she actually rose, she went up in a balloon and sailed over a whole state as though it were a map, though she dozed only fifteen minutes. Then a boy, who had always longed to fly, described himself as springing into the air, putting his arms under his legs, and sailing swiftly over innumerable house-tops till he would have stopped but could not, when at last a chimney that drew smoke the wrong way, as many do, drew him downward, and he awoke before he was " done too much” on the fire; yet all this took place in two minutes by the watch, as he nodded over his bed-side, instead of dressing, with his hands under his knees.

“ There is a stronger case,” said my friend, " in the Arabian Nights, or some Eastern story,—a case which might easily be a dream, and has been indeed substantially—of a man who at the bidding of a magician thrust his head under water, and in the little time he could hold it there, ran through months and years of active life. In dreams, what be. comes of time? And—think of it—what is time? Practically, we measure it by our own thoughts and feelings and actions. When I ask how long you have lived, I might as well ask how much; that is, how much you have endured and done. One's own mind is his own time.

keeper. One man is said to live faster than another;

not only his life is shorter, but there is more of it in a given interval. The animal time. piece goes sometimes too fast, sometimes too slow; it is wound up, it runs down. It has irregularities, but what metallic clock has not? I have known an individual who could commonly guess the hour within a few minuies of the town-time, even on suddenly waking up at night; more nearly indeed than many respectable-looking watches. If we pretend to regulate a big clock by the sun, making due allowances, we may as well remember that even the sun himself is not, what many seem to consider him, the great centre-clock of the universe. But the question I would have you ponder is, whether that sort of time which is most important to every man is not his own time ; whether, instead of taking out your watch, it might not be often better for you to listen to the tick and stroke of the moral machinery in your soul ?"

The father of the family was carried back to his youth by this dreamtelling ; not that he was now old, but of matured and sobered years. " I remember,” said he, “ a fragment of fancy-work which made more impression on me than many a whole dream has done. I thought I was in bed, as to be sure I was, but not yet asleep, when I heard a noise like the jar of a door opening or shutting, I could not tell which. Near the foot of the bed on my right hand, which was my wall-side, was a closet, the door of which I thought shut against the wall itself instead of a wooden frame, and so produced a singular jar which I now remember most distinctly. I raised my head; that door was shut, and seeing no one, I concluded somebody must be in the closet and I would of course catch him if he came out. So I lay down quietly and listened. We are not commonly so satisfied with our conclusions in such cases ! Presently I heard the jar and raised my head ; the closet was open, and a slight figure moved, yet hardly moved, along the foot of the bed, stooping a little, loosely clad in white, with snowy hair falling in curls upon its shoulders. I rose from my bed deliberately and met him. Just glancing at his face in the faint star-light, I was overcome by a sense of something unspeakably venerable in immortal youth and purity. He stretched out his arms—I dropped my head upon his bosom—his arms with their ample drapery lay about my neck like folds of light, for I could not feel them—I heard in a silvery voice at my ear the name of the Lord Jesus Christ --I awoke as quietly as a child at dawn.”

All were silent for a minute. The name of Christ fell upon them like a spell. At length, my friend said, “ Thou hast had a vision of the Lord whom no man can see with his outward eye and live. No waking fancy could have made it so distinct. Thou hast not forgotten, thou canst not forget it, and I know it has been like a talisman to thy

“ I have roved abroad in my time, as you know," said the other, " and out at sea, at midnight, at mast-head, when in despair I would have thrown myself down, I have remembered that sight which men told me was nothing but a dream–I have remembered the Holy One, and hid my face in his bosom, and become as a little child."

“ I have learned," said the interpreter,“ to realize a religious truth from a homelier scene, which might have happened in real life, but would not have impressed me then as it did in my dream. I was an

spirit.”

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