BEFORE the dawn of history mankind was engaged in the study of dreaming. Thewise man among the ancients was preeminently the interpreter of dreams. Theability to interpret successfully or plausible was the quickest road to royal favour, as Joseph and Daniel found it to be ; failure
to give satisfaction in this respect led to banishment from court or death. When a scholar laboriously translates a cuneiform tablet dug up from a Babylonian moundwhere it has lain buried for five thousand years or more, the chances are that it will turn out either an astrological treatise or a dream book. If the former, we look upon it with some indulgence ; if the latter with pure contempt. For we know that the study of the stars, though under-taken for selfish reasons and pursued inthe spirit of charlatanry, led at length to physical science, while the study of dreamshas proved as unprofitable as the dream-ing of them. Out of astrology grewastronomy. Out of oneiromancy hasgrown nothing.That at least was substantially true up to the beginning of the present century.
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