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About this Poem 

“The Dreamer” was first published in The Life and Works of Paul Laurence Dunbar (J. L. Nicholas & Company, 1907).

The Dreamer

Temples he built and palaces of air,
   And, with the artist’s parent-pride aglow,
   His fancy saw his vague ideals grow
Into creations marvelously fair;
He set his foot upon Fame’s nether stair.
   But ah, his dream,—it had entranced him so
   He could not move. He could no farther go;
But paused in joy that he was even there!

He did not wake until one day there gleamed
   Thro’ his dark consciousness a light that racked
His being till he rose, alert to act.
But lo! What he had dreamed, the while he dreamed,
   Another, wedding action unto thought,
   Into the living, pulsing world had brought. 

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on July 29, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Paul Laurence Dunbar, born in 1872 and the author of numerous collections of poetry and prose, was one of the first African American poets to gain national recognition.

by this poet

poem
A song is but a little thing,
  And yet what joy it is to sing!
In hours of toil it gives me zest,
And when at eve I long for rest;
When cows come home along the bars,
  And in the fold I hear the bell,
As Night, the shepherd, herds his stars,
poem

Good-night, my love, for I have dreamed of thee
In waking dreams, until my soul is lost—
Is lost in passion’s wide and shoreless sea,
Where, like a ship, unruddered, it is tost
Hither and thither at the wild waves’ will.
There is no potent Master’s voice to still
This newer, more

poem

I had not known before
    Forever was so long a word.
The slow stroke of the clock of time
    I had not heard.

‘Tis hard to learn so late;
    It seems no sad heart really learns,
But hopes and trusts and doubts and fears,
    And bleeds and burns.

The night is not all