Слике страница

driver immediately fled, the dead body was taken out of the cart, and the innkeeper apprehended and executed.

It is very frequently observed, that in a dream a series of representations is suddenly interrupted, and another series of a very different kind occupies its place. This happens as soon as an idea associates itself ; which, from whatever cause, is more interesting than that immediately preceding. The last then becomes the prevailing one, and determines the association. Yet, by this too, the imagination is frequently reconducted to the former series. The interruption in the course of the preceding occurrences is remarked, and the power of abstracting similarities is in search of the cause of this irregularity. Hence, in such cases, there usually happens some unfortunate event or other, which occasions the interruption of the story. The representing power may again suddenly conduct us to another series of ideas, and thus the imagination may be led by the subreasoning power before defined, from one scene to another. Of this kind, for instance, is the following remarkable dream, as related and explained in the works of professor Maas of Halle: I dreamed once,” says he “ that the Pope visited

He commanded me to open my desk, and carefully examined all the papers it contained. While he was thus employed, a very sparkling diamond fell out of his triple crown into my desk, of which, however, neither of us took any notice. As soon as the Pope had withdrawn, I retired to bed, but was soon obliged to rise, on account of a thick smoke, the cause of which I had yet to learn. Upon examination I discovered, that the diamond had set fire to the papers in my desk, and burnt them to ashes."


On account of the peculiar circumstances by which this dream was occasioned, it deserves the following short analysis. “ On the preceding evening," says professor Maas," I was visited by a friend with whom I had a lively conversation, upon Joseph IInd’s suppression of monasteries and convents. With this idea, though I did not become conscious of it in my dream, was associated the visit which the Pope publicly paid the Emperor Joseph at Vienna, in consequence of the measures taken against the clergy; and with this again was combined, however faintly, the representation of the visit, which had been paid me

These two events were, by the subreasoning faculty, compounded into one, according to the established rule—that things which agree in their parts, also correspond as to the whole ; hence the Pope's visit, was changed into a visit made to me. The subreasoning faculty then, in order to account for this extraordinary visit, fixed upon that which was the most important object in my room, namely, the desk, or rather the papers contained in it. That a diamond fell out of the triple crown

collateral association, which was owing merely to the representation of the desk. Some days before when opening the desk, I had broken the glass of my watch, which I held in my hand, and the fragments fell among the papers. Hence no farther attention was paid to the diamond,

by my friend.



being a representation of a collateral series of things. But afterwards the representation of the sparkling stones was again excited, and became the prevailing idea; hence it determined the succeeding association. On account of its similarity, it excited, the representation of fire, with which it was confounded ; hence arose fire and smoke.—But, in the event, the writings only were burnt, not the desk itself; to which, being of comparatively less value, the attention was not at all directed.” It is farther observable, that there are in the human mind certain obscure representations, and that it is necessary to be convinced of the reality of these images, if we are desirous of perceiving the connexion, which subsists among the operations of the imagination. Of the numerous phenomena, founded on obscure ideas, and which consequently prove their existence, we shall only remark the following. It is a well known fact, that many dreams originate in the impressions made in the body during sleep; and they consist of analogous images or such as are associated with sensations that would arise from these impressions, during a waking state. Hence, for instance, if our legs are placed in a perpendicular posture, we are often terrified by a dream that implies the imminent danger of falling from a steep rock or precipice. The mind must represent to itself these external impressions in a lively manner, otherwise no ideal picture could be thus excited; but, as we do not become at all conscious of them, they are but faintly and obscurely represented.

If we make a resolution to rise earlier in the

[ocr errors]

morning than usual; and if we impress the determination on our mind, immediately before going to rest, we are almost certain to succeed. Now it is self-evident that this success

cannot be ascribed to the efforts of the body, but altogether to the mind, which probably, during sleep perceives and computes the duration of time, so that it makes an impression on the body, which enables us to awake at an appointed hour. Yet all this takes place, without our consciousness, and the reesprentations remain obscure. Many productions of art are so complicated, that a variety of simple conceptions are requisite to lay the foundation of them; yet the artist is almost entirely unconscious of these individual notions. Thus a person performs a piece of music, without being obliged to reflect, in a conscious manner, on the signification of the notes, their value, and the order of the fingers he must observe; nay even without clearly distinguishing the strings of the harp, or the keys of the harpsichord. We cannot attribute this to the mechanism of the body, which might gradually accustom itself to the accurate placing of the fingers. This could be applied only where we place a piece of music, frequently practised; but it is totally inapplicable to a new piece, which is played by the professor with equal facility, though he has never seen it before. In the latter case there must arise, necessarily, an ideal representation, or an act of judgment, previous to every motion of the finger.

These arguments, we trust, are sufficient, to evince the occurrence of these obscure notions and repre

[ocr errors]

sentations, from which all our dreams originate. Before, however, we close this subject, we shall relate the following extraordinary dream of the celebrated Galileo, who at a very advanced age had lost his sight.

In one of his walks over a beautiful plain, conducted by his pupil Troicelli, the venerable sage related the following dream to him.

“ Once,” said he,

my eyes permitted me to enjoy the charms of these fields. But now, since their light is extinguished, these pleasures are lost to me for ever. Heaven justly inflicts the punishment which was predicted to me many years ago. When in prison, and impatiently languishing for liberty, I began to be discontented with the ways of Providence ; Coper. nicus appeared to me in a dream ; his celestial spirit conducted me over luminous stars, and, in a threatening voice, reprehended me for having murmured against him, at whose fiat all these worlds had pro, ceeded from nothing. “ A time shall come (said he) when thine eyes shall refuse to assist thee in contemplating these wonders.”

We shall now proceed to notice the subject of dreams in another point of view—that is, as being employed as a medium of divination in the cure of diseases, in which the fancies of the brain appear, in reality, to as little advantage as they do with reference to any other considerations in which such pretended omens exist.


« ПретходнаНастави »