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tenants, at a nobleman's table (who never raised their rents) worry a sirloin, and hew down, (I mean cut up) a goose like a log : while a good Cheshire cheese, and plenty of nappy ale, and strong March beer, washes down the merry goblets, sets all their wit afloat, and sends them to their respective homes, as happy as kings.
kind loving readers, every one, God send y'a good new-year, when the old one 's gone.
ONEIROCRITICAL PRESENTIMENT, ILLUSTRATING THE
CAUSE, EFFECTS, PRINCIPAL PHENOMENA,
As we shall have to speak of the art practised through the medium, termed incubation, of curing diseases, it may be proper to say something previously on the interpretation of dreams through whose agency these events were said to be realized.
Oneirocritics, or interpreters of dreams, were called conjecturers, a very fit and proper name for these worldly wise men, according to the following lines, translated from Euripides
He that conjectures least amiss
Of all, the best of prophets is.
To the delusion of dreams not a few of the ancient philosophers lent themselves. Among these were Democritus, Aristotle, and his follower Themistius, Siresius the Platonic; who so far relied on dreams which some accident or other brought about, that they thence endeavoured to persuade men there are no dreams but what are founded on realities. For, say they, as the celestial influences produce various forms and changes in corporeal matter, so out of certain influences, predominating over the power of the fancy, the impression of visions is made, being consentaneous, through the disposition of the heavens, to the effect produced; more especially in dreams, because the mind, being then at liberty from all corporeal cares and exercises, more freely receives the divine influences : it happens, therefore that many things are revealed to them that are asleep, which are concealed from them that are awake. With these and such reasons it is pretended that much is communicated through the medium of dreams :
When soft sleep the body lays at ease,
And from the heavy mass the fancy frees,
And think of most by day we dream at night.
The transition from sleep is very natural to that of dreams, the wonderful and mysterious phenomena of that state, the ideal transactions and vain illusions of the mind. According to Wolfius, an eminent philosopher of Silesia, every dream originates in some sensation, and is continued by the succession of phantoms; but no phantasm can arise in the mind without some previous sensation. And yet it is not easy to confirm this by experience, it being often difficult to distinguish those slight sensations, which give rise to dreams, from phantasms,
or objects of imagination.* The series of phantasms which thus constitute a dream, seems to be accounted for by the law of the imagination, or association of ideas; though it may be very difficult to assign the cause of every minute difference, not only in different subjects, but in the same, at different times, and in different circumstances. And hence M. Formey, who adopts the opinion of Wolfius, concludes, that those dreams are supernatural, which either do not begin by sensation, or are not continued by the law of imagination."
This opinion is as old as Aristotle, who asserted, that a dream is only the davraoua or appearance of things, excited in the mind, and remaining after the objects are removed. The opinion of Lucretius, translated in our motto, was likewise that of Tully. Locke also traces the origin of dreams to previous sensations. “ The dreams of sleeping men,” says this profound philosopher, “ are all made up of the waking man's ideas, though for the most part oddly put together.”ll And Dr. Hartley, who explains all the phenomena of the imagination by his theory of vibrations and associations, says, that dreams are nothing but the imaginations or reveries of sleeping men, and that they are deducible from
* Wolfius, Psychol. Empir. Sect. 123.
& Quæ in vita usurpant homines, cogitant, curant, vident quæque agunt vigilantes, agitantque, ea cuique in somno accidunt. De Div.
! Essay on Human Understanding, book, chap. i. sect 17. * Obs. on Man, vol. 1, sect. 5.
three causes-viz, the impressions and ideas lately received, and particularly those of the preceding day, the state of the body, more especially of the stomach and brain, and association.*
Macrobius mentions five sorts of dreams. 1st. vision-2nd. a discovery of something between sleeping and waking-3rd. a suggestion cast into our fancy, called by Cicero, visum ;—4th. an ordinary dream-and fifth, a divine apparition or revelation in our sleep; such were the dreams of the prophets, and of Joseph, as also of the Eastern Magi.
Avicen makes the cause of dreams to be an ultimate intelligence moving the moon in the midst of that light with which the fancies of men are illuminated while they sleep.
Aristotle refers the cause of them to common sense, but placed in the fancy. Averroes, an Arabian physician, places it in the imagination ; Democritus ascribes it to little images, or representations, separated from the things
Plato among the specific and concrete notions of the soul; Albertus to the superior inAuences, which continually flow from the sky, through many specific channels.
Some physicians attribute the cause of dreams to vapours and humours, and the affections and cares of persons predominant when awake; for, say they, by reason of the abundance of vapours, which are