1689: The Princess’s Dream


Princess Mary of Modena, Wife to James II, late King of England

Saturday the 24th of December, 1689, after I had heard Midnight Mass, I went to Bed somewhat melancholy; and being asleep about break of Day, I dream’d I saw four unknown Persons, who for some considerable time stood before me speechless; till at length he who seemed to be the most ancient, and look’d like an Hermophrodite, spake to me in this manner: Great Princess! yet one, and the half of one, and the quarter of one half, and it shall be no more. With that it lightned, so that the Room seemed to be all in a Flame, and the flashes of that Lightning carried away the Bowels of the four Persons I had seen. After this I saw a Woman mounted on a wild Goat, who invited me to take the Prince of Wales, and follow her to the Habitation of the Blessed; so she led us through a thick Forest, all chequered with Flowers, where every thing seemed to me enchanted. There we saw a Prince, who had formerly been great, and whose right Hand and left Ear some would have cut off, but that two Monks rescued him. As he was about to speak to us, we were separated by a Whirlwind. Then we entered into a great Wood, that had no Light but what it received from the moon; and an Earthquake happening suddenly, occasioned noisom and insupportable Vapours. This made us put to Sea upon the Ocean, where we were cast away near to the Elysian Fields. With that I awoke, and found my self almost drowned in the Tears and Sweat occasioned by the Trouble and Agitation of the Dream.

Two Dreams: Viz. I. The Dream of the French King Lewis XIV, Called the Great, and the Immortal; as He Lately Told it to the Lords of His Court. II. The Dream of Mary D’Esté Princess of Modena, and Wife to James II, Late King of England: With the Interpretations Thereof. Translated Out of French. Licens’d. May 8, 1690

Image: Portrait of Mary of Modena by Simon Pietersz Verelst, 1680

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