The Dream

Miss Flaxman

Memorandum: Dream the first, April 30th 1811

Went to Lady D’s party last night — very full — Lady Selina exquisitely polite, introduced me to the Algerine, talked of my travels — His Excellency enquired if I had visited Barbary yet — said I promised myself a sight of that fascinating part of the world as I desired infinitely to become acquainted with a people who had afforded us so elegant a specimen — here I bowed — (always paint a compliment with a bow). 

Mem. — Must be sometimes in good company — would not go to his horrid country for the universe — sell me at the slave market for a story teller perhaps, & when my stock was exhausted beat me with the bastinado — as a reward — or even cut off my head when once acquainted with all its contents, Shocking! The interpreter seemed a shrewd fellow, fancied he laughed at my compliments — had to follow Lady Selina to the music room where she sang some words from Metastasia which I had adapted to a Russian air. I told her it was divine — she replied, she would have preferred a song of my writing — She is certainly a charming woman possesses a most discriminating judgment, & a taste peculiar to herself — too recently become a widow — or else — Well! “Some are born great, some attain greatness, & some” — but no matter — time will shew — stayed till four o’clock — rose at 2 walked and call’d on my publisher — talked to him of bringing out a volume of dreams, M. seemed to catch at the idea about it directly — looking in at the Exhibition — thought of my projected work till I almost nodded opposite to the “Omnia vincit Amor” — a pretty subject to begin with but could not sleep so near it — besides, there was a party appeared to be watching me — consisting of a sedate gentleman with the air of a philosopher — whose propriety of conduct & serious manner could not keep down the waggery of the rest. A youth who appeared a mixture between a law student & the Son of Apollo — first he turned upon me the quaint mercurial eye of the lawyer — then the sympathising glance of the poet — relieved from his observation I met the inquisitorial looks of a plump lady who was absolutely analyzing me through the medium of a quizzing glass, while a little thing scarcely higher than her elbow was whispering something about me (I am sure by her looks) to a slender creature like a vision, she put me afresh in mind of my dreams — and I moved to the next bench to escape my tormentors & compose myself, but then I exclaim’d, “Macbeth hath murdered sleep” — changed my place again — but pity kept my eyes open & I should certainly have composed a sonnet to the unsheltered mother & her babes, had I remained there much longer — that would not do — must keep to my dreams, sonnets may be introduced in them — At last I found my way to the Council Room (passed my curious friends in the adjoining room who were examining a portrait I have looked upon with some admiration myself — “It’s very like him” said one. “Hush!” said the little one, “he’ll hear you”) sat down near the President’s Chair & in a short time began a most charming dream — Methought I was Endymion poetically seated on the margin of a clear stream, waiting for the appearance of my mistress the beautiful Queen of the Night! feeding my fancy with sweet anticipation — I should have had the most delightful dream possible, but was suddenly awakened by hearing persons laugh or rather titter aloud — in my first confusion, & not quite recollecting where I was I took the lady who stood before me for Diane & and thus addressed her, “Oh first & fairest of the fairy world! Dearest Titania! Lovely Luna—tic.

Mem. — Was it a dream — or did I see a picture of a lady in the character of a tipsy Bacchanta — it must have been a dream.