Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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On Dreaming

By John Newton

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

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

3 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.

4 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.

5 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.

6 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?

7 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.

8 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.

***Isaiah 29:8

Index to the Poems of John Newton
Index to the Writings of John Newton
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