Hym thoughte how that the wynged god Mercurie
Biforn hym stood and bad hym to be murie.

– Geoffrey Chaucer

The Canterbury Tales, The Knight’s Tale. Arcite is asleep one night when it seems that the god Mercury stands in front of him, bidding him to be merry and happier. Mercury is a messenger of the Roman gods who sometimes appears in dreams to sleepers. But he is also the god of thieves, responsible for conveying souls to the underworld. His appearance forshadows the death of Arcite on his return to Athens.