Of Dreams by William King

For a Dream cometh through the multitude of Business. – Eccles. v. 4.

Somnia, quæ ludunt mente volitantibus umbris,
Non delubra deûm nec æthere numina mittunt,
Sed fibi quisque facit, etc. – Petronius*.

The flitting Dreams, that play before the wind,
Are not by Heaven for Prophesies design’d;
Nor by æthereal Beings sent us down,
But each man is creator of his own:
For, when their weary limbs are sunk in ease,
The souls essay to wander where they please;
The scatter’d images have space to play,
And Night repeats the labours of the Day.

*Dreams, whose fleeting shadows toy with the mind, are not sent by the shrines of the gods nor by the divinities in heaven. Rather, each person dreams for himself.
– rough translation by Laura Gibbs from

From: Johnson, Samuel (ed.), The Works of the English Poets with Prefaces, Biographical and Critical, Volume the Twentieth: The Poems of Garth and King, 1779, J. Nichols: London, p. 414.

Date: c1690

By: William King (1663-1712)


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