Ivory Gate of Dreams

(The). Dreams which delude pass through this gate, those which come true pass through the Gate of Horn. This fancy depends upon two puns: ivory in Greek is elephas, and the verb elephairo means “to cheat with empty hopes;” the Greek for horn is keras, and the verb karanoo means “to accomplish.”

Sunt geminæ somni portæ: quarum altera fertur
Cornea, qua veris facilis datur exitus umbris;
Altera candenti perfecta nitens elephanto;
Sed falsa ad coelum mittunt insomnia manes.

Virgil: Æneid, vl. 894-897.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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