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Rain Dog John of Dreams - who IS John? (26) RE: John of Dreams - who IS John? 29 May 12

540. John-a-dreams, i.e. John of dreams, = a sluggish, sleepy, fellow; cp. Jack-a-lent, Jack-a-lantern, Jack-an-apes, etc. Collier quotes Armins's Nest of Ninnies, 1608. "His name is John, indeede, saies the cinnick; but neither John a nods, nor John a dreams, yet either as you take it"; unpregnant of my cause, with my mind utterly barren of all designs to effect my purpose; with a mind that as yet has conceived no method of action; cp. Lear; ii. 6. 229, "Who, by the act of known and feeling sorrows, Am pregnant to good pity."

Shakespeare Online

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