Thou wast all that to me, love,
For which my soul did pine-
A green isle in the sea, love,
A fountain and a shrine,
All wreathed with fairy fruits and flowers,
And all the flowers were mine.

Ah, dream too bright to last!
Ah, starry Hope! that didst arise
But to be overcast!
A voice from out the Future cries,
“On! on!”- but o’er the Past
(Dim gulf!) my spirit hovering lies
Mute, motionless, aghast!

For, alas! alas! me
The light of Life is o’er!
“No more- no more- no more-”
(Such language holds the solemn sea
To the sands upon the shore)
Shall bloom the thunder-blasted tree
Or the stricken eagle soar!

And all my days are trances,
And all my nightly dreams
Are where thy grey eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams-
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams.

Analysis, meaning and summary of the poem by

3 Comments

  1. Sebastian Sanchez says:

    I like this poem because it reminds me of the day i got kicked out of middle school. It was a very sad day,and i miss all the hot people there:(

  2. Eric says:

    The first stanza establishes a prototypical image of an island paradise. Often we associate Islands with tropical ocean beauty, as well as isolation. So this paradise of the speaker is isolated (only he can see it, in other words). This is further given the qualities of an imaginary love.

    The second stanza “clouds” cover the image of the dream and the future calls to him to move forward, but he can’t get over the past that held the dream.

    The speaker loses the strength to keep going on with life comparing his grief at the loss of his dreams to other things (tree, etc.) that can’t go on into the future once some calaminity happens.

    The last stanza repeats his spiritual death, while he sees the ghosts of his dream dancing eternally (always in sight, but like ethereal spirits, unable to be physically touched).

    This is not an instructional poem saying you must do one thing or the other to have a better life. Rather this is analytic poem. Basically this is how it is buddy, you take your own lesson from it. For example an instructional story might claim racism is bad and you shouldn’t be racist, while an analytical story might show you what racism is, depicting the act and the emotions involved, but still making no value judgement (just laying the reality of it out for the reader to come away with their own value judgement).

    Poe’s poem works the same way; though, it is not about racism. The poem is basically about what happens when you can’t get past a dream you’ve had that has failed (whether it be a relationship you were in with a girl you loved who has dumped you or your dreams of being a rockstar that never reached fruition or like Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy whose title character wanted to study the Classics in college and never got the chance). It is about a regret, a longing, that never dies and thus kills the person. If you let your failed dreams hold you down, you can’t enter into what promises the future might hold.

    Poe, however, doesn’t state that you must stop doing this and get over it (where Emerson in his poem “Give All to Love” pretty much states at the end to get over it and you’ll have a happier life). Poe just depicts the reality of the situation in honest imagery and language, leaving the reader to decide what the speaker should do.

  3. alejandra says:

    is it complete because i need it for tomorrow for my finally contest if you see this comment now pleas send it ti me complete. it’s very beautiul!

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