Divinius

odilon redon, le rêve, 1904
Odilon Redon, Le rêve (1904)

Quid? illa duo somnia, quae creberrime commemorantur a Stoicis, quis tandem potest contemnere? unum de Simonide: qui cum ignotum quendam proiectum mortuum vidisset eumque humavisset haberetque in animo nave conscendere, moneri visus est, ne id faceret, ab eo quem sepultura affecerat; si navigavisset, eum naufragio esse periturum; itaque Simonidem redisse, perisse ceteros, qui tum navigassent. alterum ita traditum clarum admodum somnium: cum duo quidam Arcades familiares iter una facerent et Megaram venissent, alterum ad cauponem devertisse, ad hospitem alterum. qui ut cenati quiescerent, concubia nocte visum esse in somnis ei qui erat in hospitio illum alterum orare ut subveniret, quod sibi a caupone interitus pararetur; eum primo, perterritum somnio, surrexisse; dein, cum se collegisset idque visum pro nihilo habendum esse duxisset, recubuisse; tum ei dormienti eundem illum visum esse rogare, ut, quoniam sibi vivo non subvenisset, mortem suam ne inultam esse pateretur; se interfectum in plaustrum a caupone esse coniectum et supra stercus iniectum; petere, ut mane ad portam adesset, prius quam plaustrum ex oppido exiret. hoc vero eum somnio commotum mane bubulco praesto ad portam fuisse, quaesisse ex eo, quid esset in plaustro; illum perterritum fugisse, mortuum erutum esse, cauponem re patefacta poenas dedisse. quid hoc somnio dici potest divinius?
(Cicero, De Divinatione 1.56-57)

And who, pray, can make light of the two following dreams which are so often recounted by Stoic writers? The first one is about Simonides, who once saw the dead body of some unknown man lying exposed and buried it. Later, when he had it in mind to go on board a ship he was warned in a vision by the person to whom he had given burial not to do so and that if he did he would perish in a shipwreck. Therefore he turned back and all the others who sailed were lost. The second dream is very well known and is to this effect: Two friends from Arcadia who were taking a journey together came to Megara, and one traveller put up at an inn and the second went to the home of a friend. After they had eaten supper and retired, the second traveller, in the dead of the night, dreamed that his companion was imploring him to come to his aid, as the innkeeper was planning to kill him. Greatly frightened at first by the dream he arose, and later, regaining his composure, decided that there was nothing to worry about and went back to bed. When he had gone to sleep the same person appeared to him and said: ‘Since you would not help me when I was alive, I beg that you will not allow my dead body to remain unburied. I have been killed by the innkeeper, who has thrown my body into a cart and covered it with dung. I pray you to be at the city gate in the morning before the cart leaves the town.’ Thoroughly convinced by the second dream he met the cart-driver at the gate in the morning, and, when he asked what he had in the cart, the driver fled in terror. The Arcadian then removed his friend’s dead body from the cart, made complaint of the crime to the authorities, and the innkeeper was punished. What stronger proof of a divinely inspired dream than this can be given? (tr. William Armistead Falconer)

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