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Petronius: Dreams of war

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

Greek and Roman writers on war and peace

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Petronius
Dreams
Translated by Thomas Love Peacock

Dreams, which, beneath the hov’ring shades of night,
Sport with the ever-restless minds of men,
Descend not from the gods. Each busy brain
Creates its own. For when the chains of sleep
Have bound the weary, and the lighten’d mind
Unshackled plays, the actions of the light
Become renew’d in darkness. Then the chief,
Who shakes the world with war, who joys alone
In blazing cities, and in wasted plains,
O’erthrown battalions sees, and dying kings,
And fields o’verflow’d with blood.

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