C.N. Douglas, comp. Forty Thousand Quotations: Prose and Poetical. 1917.


The visions of a busy brain.

Joanna Baillie.

The fickle pensioners of Morpheus’ train.


Our waking dreams are fatal.


But if, as morning rises, dreams are true.


A change came o’er the spirit of my dream.


His fancy lost in pleasant dreams.


Yet eat in dreams, the custard of the day.


A dream itself is but a shadow.


For dhrames always go by conthraries, my dear.

Samuel Lover.

Ground not upon dreams, you know they are ever contrary.

Thos. Middleton.

Sleep brings dreams; and dreams are often most vivid and fantastical before we have yet been wholly lost in slumber.

Robert Montgomery Bird.

Dreams are excursions into the limbo of things, a semi-deliverance from the human prison.


Our dreams drench us in sense, and sense steeps us again in dreams.

A. Bronson Alcott.

  • But dreams full oft are found of real events
  • The form and shadows.
  • Joanna Baillie.

    As a wild maiden, with love-drinking eyes, sees in sweet dreams a beaming youth of glory.

    Alexander Smith.

  • Like the dreams,
  • Children of night, of indigestion bred.
  • Churchill.

    The dreamer is a madman quiescent, the madman is a dreamer in action.

    F. H. Hedge.

    Regard not dreams, since they are but the images of our hopes and fears.


    We are near waking when we dream that we dream.


    Let not our babbling dreams affright our souls.


    When monarch reason sleeps, this mimic wakes.


    For his dreams, I wonder he’s so simple to trust the mockery of unquiet slumbers.


  • If I may trust the flattering truth of sleep,
  • My dreams presage some joyful news at hand.
  • Shakespeare.

    When we die, we shall find we have not lost our dream; we have only lost our sleep.


    In waking whispers and repeated dreams, to hint pure thoughts and warn the favored soul.


    Dreams where thought, in fancy’s maze, runs mad.


    Dreams are like portraits; and we find they please because they are confessed resemblances.


  • In sleep, when fancy is let loose to play,
  • Our dreams repeat the wishes of the day.
  • Claudius.

  • Till their own dreams at length deceive ’em,
  • And, oft repeating, they believe ’em.
  • Prior.

    Beneath closed lids and folds of deepest shade we think we see.

    N. L. Frothingham.

  • Friday night’s dreams on Saturday told
  • Are sure to come true—be they never so old.
  • Old Sayings.

  • There are a kind of men so loose of soul
  • That in their sleep will utter their affairs.
  • Shakespeare.

    I have had a most rare vision. I have had a dream—past the wit of man to say what dream it was.


    The day seems long, but night is odious; no sleep, but dreams; no dreams but visions strange.

    Sir P. Sidney.

  • Alas! that dreams are only dreams!
  • That fancy cannot give
  • A lasting beauty to those forms,
  • Which scarce a moment live!
  • Rufus Dawes.

  • What studies please, what most delight,
  • And fill men’s thoughts, they dream them o’er at night.
  • Creech.

    Sorrow returned with the dawning of morn, and the voice in my dreaming ear melted away.


    Every one turns his dreams into realities as far as he can; man is cold as ice to the truth, hot as fire to falsehood.

    La Fontaine.

  • We are such stuff
  • As dreams are made on, and our little life
  • Is rounded with a sleep.
  • Shakespeare.

    In this retirement of the mind from the senses, it retains a yet more incoherent manner of thinking, which we call dreaming.


    As dreams are the fancies of those that sleep, so fancies are but the dreams of those awake.

    Sir T. P. Blount.

  • True, I talk of dreams,
  • Which are the children of an idle brain,
  • Begot of nothing but vain fantasy.
  • Shakespeare.

    A body may as well lay too little as too much stress upon a dream; but the less he heed them the better.


    Nothing so much convinces me of the boundlessness of the human mind as its operations in dreaming.

    W. B. Clulow.

  • For never yet one hour in his bed
  • Have I enjoyed the golden dew of sleep,
  • But have been waked by his timorous dreams.
  • Shakespeare.

    Dreaming is an act of pure imagination, attesting in all men a creative power which, if it were available in waking, would make every man a Dante or a Shakespeare.

    F. H. Hedge.

  • I’ll dream no more—by manly mind
  • Not even in sleep is will resigned.
  • My midnight orisons said o’er,
  • I’ll turn to rest, and dream no more.
  • Scott.

    Dreams are the children of an idle brain, begot of nothing but vain fantasy; which is as thin of substance as the air, and more inconstant than the wind.


  • Divinity hath oftentimes descended
  • Upon our slumbers, and the blessed troupes
  • Have, in the calm and quiet of the soule,
  • Conversed with us.
  • Shirley.

  • That holy dream—that holy dream,
  • While all the world were chiding,
  • Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
  • A lonely spirit guiding.
  • Poe.

    I believe it to be true that dreams are the true interpreters of our inclinations; but there is art required to sort and understand them.


    What the tender and poetic youth dreams to-day, and conjures up with inarticulate speech, is to-morrow the vociferated result of public opinion, and the day after is the character of nations.


  • Dreams are rudiments
  • Of the great state to come. We dream what is
  • About to happen.
  • Bailey.

  • One of those passing rainbow dreams,
  • Half light, half shade, which fancy’s beams
  • Paint on the fleeting mists that roll,
  • In trance or slumber, round the soul!
  • Moore.

  • Some dreams we have are nothing else but dreams,
  • Unnatural and full of contradictions;
  • Yet others of our most romantic schemes
  • Are something more than fictions.
  • Hood.

  • The dream
  • Dreamed by a happy man, when the dark east,
  • Unseen, is brightening to his bridal morn.
  • Tennyson.

  • ’Twas but a dream—let it pass—let it vanish like so many others!
  • What I thought was a flower is only a weed, and is worthless.
  • Longfellow.

  • In blissful dream, in silent night,
  • There came to me, with magic might,
  • With magic might, my own sweet love,
  • Into my little room above.
  • Heine.

  • Dream after dream ensues;
  • And still they dream that they shall still succeed;
  • And still are disappointed.
  • Cowper.

  • The chambers in the house of dreams
  • Are fed with so divine an air,
  • That Time’s hoar wings grow young therein,
  • And they who walk there are most fair.
  • Francis Thomson.

  • Dreams, which, beneath the hov’ring shades of night,
  • Sport with the ever-restless minds of men,
  • Descend not from the gods. Each busy brain
  • Creates its own.
  • Thomas Love Peacock.

    Dreams are the bright creatures of poem and legend, who sport on the earth in the night season, and melt away with the first beam of the sun, which lights grim care and stern reality on their daily pilgrimage through the world.


  • In this world of dreams, I have chosen my part.
  • To sleep for a season and hear no word
  • Of true love’s truth or of light love’s art,
  • Only the song of a secret bird.
  • Swinburne.

    If we can sleep without dreaming, it is well that painful dreams are avoided. If, while we sleep, we can have any pleasing dreams, it is as the French say, tant gagné, so much added to the pleasure of life.


  • Dreams in their development have breath,
  • And tears, and tortures, and the touch of joy,
  • They have a weight upon our waking thoughts,
  • They take a weight from off our waking toils,
  • They do divide our being.
  • Byron.

  • Oh! I have pass’d a miserable night,
  • So full of ugly sights, of ghastly dreams,
  • That, as I am a Christian faithful man,
  • I would not spend another such a night,
  • Though ’twere to buy a world of happy days.
  • Shakespeare.

  • And yet, as angels in some brighter dreams
  • Call to the soul when man doth sleep,
  • So some strange thoughts transcend our wonted dreams,
  • And into glory peep.
  • Vaughan.

  • When to soft Sleep we give ourselves away,
  • And in a dream as in a fairy bark
  • Drift on and on through the enchanted dark
  • To purple daybreak—little thought we pay
  • To that sweet bitter world we know by day.
  • T. B. Aldrich.

    We are somewhat more than ourselves in our sleep; and the slumber of the body seems to be but the waking of the soul. It is the ligation of sense, but the liberty of reason; and our waking conceptions do not match the fancies of our sleeps.

    Sir Thomas Browne.

    I believe that everyone, some time or other, dreams that he is reading papers, books, or letters; in which case the invention prompts so readily that the mind is imposed upon, and mistakes its own suggestions for the composition of another.


  • As one who in some frightful dream would shun
  • His pressing foe, labors in vain to run
  • And his own slowness in his sleep bemoans,
  • In short thick sighs, weak cries, and tender groans.
  • Dryden.

  • I dreamt my lady came and found me dead,
  • (Strange dream! that gives a dead man leave to think),
  • And breath’d such life with kisses in my lips
  • That I reviv’d, and was an emperor.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Sweet sleep be with us, one and all!
  • And if upon its stillness fall
  • The visions of a busy brain,
  • We’ll have our pleasure o’er again,
  • To warm the heart, to charm the sight.
  • Gay dreams to all! good night, good night.
  • Joanna Baillie.

    What was your dream?
    It seemed to me that a woman in white raiment, graceful and fair to look upon, came towards me and calling me by name said:
    On the third day, Socrates, thou shalt reach the coast of fertile Phthia.


  • The fisher droppeth his net in the stream,
  • And a hundred streams are the same as one;
  • And the maiden dreameth her love-lit dream;
  • And what is it all, when all is done?
  • The net of the fisher the burden breaks
  • And always the dreaming the dreamer wakes.
  • Alice Cary.

  • And the dream that our mind had sketched in haste
  • Shall others continue, but never complete.
  • For none upon earth can achieve his scheme;
  • The best as the worst are futile here;
  • We wake at the self-same point of the dream—
  • All is here begun, and finished elsewhere.
  • Victor Hugo.

    In dreams we are true poets; we create the persons of the drama; we give them appropriate figures, faces, costumes; they are perfect in their organs, attitudes, manners; moreover they speak after their own characters, not ours; and we listen with surprise to what they say.


    Dreams ought to produce no conviction whatever on philosophical minds. If we consider how many dreams are dreamt every night, and how many events occur every day, we shall no longer wonder at those accidental coincidences which ignorance mistakes for verifications.


  • Thy spirit within thee hath been so at war,
  • And thus hath so bestirr’d thee in thy sleep
  • That beads of sweat have stood upon thy brow
  • Like bubbles in a fate-disturbed stream:
  • And in thy face strange motions have appear’d,
  • Such as we see when men restrain their breath
  • On some great sudden haste.
  • Shakespeare.

  • Those dreams, that on the silent night intrude,
  • And with false flitting shades our minds delude,
  • Jove never sends us downward from the skies;
  • Nor can they from infernal mansions rise;
  • But are all mere productions of the brain,
  • And fools consult interpreters in vain.
  • Swift.

    Metaphysicians have been learning their lessons for the last four thousand years, and it is high time that they should now begin to teach us something. Can any of the tribe inform us why all the operations of the mind are carried on with undiminished strength and activity in dreams, except the judgment, which alone is suspended and dormant?