Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sacred Somniloquence and Sacred Somniloquy

Some amusing extracts from Robert Macnish's The Philosophy of Sleep (Glasgow: W.R. McPhun, 1834, 2nd ed.), pages 168f. and 182:
A case is related of an English clergyman who used to get up in the night, light his candle, write sermons, correct them with interlineations, and retire to bed again; being all the time asleep. The Archbishop of Bourdeaux mentions a similar case of a student, who got up to compose a sermon while asleep, wrote it correctly, read it over from one end to the other, or at least appeared to read it, made corrections on it, scratched out lines, and substituted others, put in its place a word which had been omitted, composed music, wrote it accurately down, and performed other things equally surprising. 
From what has been said of somnambulism, the reader will be prepared for phenomena equally curious as regards sleep-talking. Persons have been known, for instance, who delivered sermons and prayers during sleep; among others, Dr. Haycock, Professor of Medicine in Oxford. He would give out a text in his sleep, and deliver a good sermon upon it; nor could all the pinching and pulling of his friends prevent him. 
I am sure my friends the Dormitionists strive to out-do these performances.  I wonder if some of my Dominican friends do the same?

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