A Dream Within a Dream

Edgar Allan Poe

 
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow:
You are not wrong who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
 
About "Dream Within a Dream"

Representative of Poe's later work, "A Dream Within a Dream" is a revised version of a poem Poe originally composed in the 1820s. It is considered one of the poet's finest shorter poems. In an article published in 1849, Poe wrote, "It is by no means an irrational fancy that, in a future existence, we shall look upon what we think our present existence, as a dream."

Poems by This Author

Alone by Edgar Allan Poe
From childhood's hour I have not been
An Acrostic by Edgar Allan Poe
Elizabeth it is in vain you say
Annabel Lee by Edgar Allan Poe
It was many and many a year ago,
Dream-Land by Edgar Allan Poe
By a route obscure and lonely
El Dorado by Edgar Allan Poe
Gaily bedight, / A gallant knight,
Lenore by Edgar Allan Poe
Ah broken is the golden bowl! the spirit flown forever!
Sonnet—Silence by Edgar Allan Poe
There are some qualities--some incorporate things
Sonnet—To Science by Edgar Allan Poe
Science! true daughter of Old Time thou art!
Spirits of the Dead by Edgar Allan Poe
Thy soul shall find itself alone
The Bells by Edgar Allan Poe
Hear the sledges with the bells--
The Haunted Palace by Edgar Allan Poe
In the greenest of our valleys
The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary
The Valley of Unrest by Edgar Allan Poe
Once it smiled a silent dell
To Helen by Edgar Allan Poe
Helen, thy beauty is to me
To My Mother by Edgar Allan Poe
Because I feel that, in the Heavens above
Ulalume by Edgar Allan Poe
The skies they were ashen and sober


Further Reading

Dreams
Monna Innominata [I dream of you, to wake]
by Christina Rossetti
The Book of a Thousand Eyes [A dream, still clinging like light to the dark, rounding]
by Lyn Hejinian
A Bedtime Story For Mr. Lamb
by Arthur Nevis
A Book Said Dream and I Do
by Barbara Ras
Bedside
by William Olsen
Counting
by Douglas Goetsch
Cradle Song
by William Blake
Darkness
by George Gordon Byron
Dear Tiara
by Sean Thomas Dougherty
Dream In Which I Meet Myself
by Lynn Emanuel
Dream of the Evil Servant
by Reetika Vazirani
Dream Song 1
by John Berryman
Dream Variations
by Langston Hughes
Dreaming About My Father
by Ed Ochester
Flying
by Sarah Arvio
Grasshopper
by Ron Padgett
He Dreams of Falling
by Ruth Ellen Kocher
His Heart
by Caroline Knox
I am Like a Desert Owl, an Owl Among the Ruins
by Noelle Kocot
I Might Have Dreamed This
by Kirsten Dierking
it was a dream
by Lucille Clifton
Japanese Lullaby
by Eugene Field
Joyride
by Ana Božičević
Kristin's Dream In November
by Bernadette Mayer
Last
by Maxine Scates
Lullaby of an Infant Chief
by Sir Walter Scott
Making the Bed
by Burt Kimmelman
My Bright Aluminum Tumblers
by Michael Ryan
Nocturne
by Wayne Miller
O Little Root of a Dream
by Paul Celan
Our eunuch dreams
by Dylan Thomas
Prologue of the Earthly Paradise
by William Morris
Raven's Last Dream
by Red Hawk
Scarecrow on Fire
by Dean Young
Separation is the necessary condition for light.
by Brian Teare
The Dream of the Just
by Dana Gelinas
The Dreamer
by Djuna Barnes
The Good-Morrow
by John Donne
The House
by Richard Wilbur
The Land of Nod
by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Republic of Dreams
by Michael Palmer
The Sandman
by Margaret Thomson Janvier
The Sleepers
by Walt Whitman
The Song in the Dream
by Saskia Hamilton
The Tower
by W. B. Yeats
Variation on the Word Sleep
by Margaret Atwood
Wynken, Blynken, and Nod
by Eugene Field