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C.D. Warner, et al., comp. The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

On Dreams

By Petronius (c. 27–66)

Translation of Harriet Waters Preston

THE DREAMS that tease us with their phantoms eerie

Come not from holy shrine nor heavenly space,

But from within. Sleep stays the limbs a-weary,

The truant spirit goes its wanton ways.

Deeds of the day, deeds of the dark. The warrior

Sees hosts in flight and hapless towns on fire;

The monarch slain confronts his fell destroyer,

Amid a weltering waste of blood-stained mire

The Forum’s all-triumphant pleader trembles

Before the law, or frets within the bar;

The miser his unearthed gold assembles,

And baying hounds the huntsman call afar;

The sinking seaman grasps the vessel keeling,

The courtesan indites a billet-doux,

The debauchee counts out his coin unwilling,

The very dogs in dreams their hare pursue.