John Newton

(24 July 1725 – 21 December 1807 / London, England)

On Dreaming


When slumber seals our weary eyes,
The busy fancy wakeful keeps;
The scenes which then before us rise,
Prove something in us never sleeps.

As in another world we seem,
A new creation of our own,
All appears real, though a dream,
And all familiar, though unknown.

Sometimes the mind beholds again
The past day's business in review,
Resumes the pleasure or the pain;
And sometimes all we meet is new.

What schemes we form, what pains we take!
We fight, we run, we fly, we fall;
But all is ended when we wake,
We scarcely then a trace recall.

But though our dreams are often wild,
Like clouds before the driving storm;
Yet some important may be styl'd,
Sent to admonish or inform.

What mighty agents have access,
What friends from heav'n, or foes from hell,
Our minds to comfort or distress,
When we are sleeping, who can tell?

One thing, at least, and 'tis enough,
We learn from this surprising fact;
Our dreams afford sufficient proof,
The soul, without the flesh, can act.

This life, which mortals so esteem,
That many choose it for their all,
They will confess, was but a dream,
When 'waken'd by death's awful call.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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