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?

Analysis, meaning and summary of Edgar Allan Poe's poem A Dream Within A Dream

120 Comments

  1. Bill Gates says:

    Yes, this is so true! =)

  2. Emile Moelich says:

    A good poem is what the poet see or seem of a dream within a dream.
    This is one example.

  3. amsdenrams says:

    below country number frozen

  4. diamontina says:

    societies president extinctions running issue impact beginning

  5. Subrata Ray says:

    Poe is more a mystic than a dreamer .He appears to be a pet of America , but his true stand is a reflector .
    The present poem deals with life and its conflict between the Great-unknown and the least apparently known.
    Man’s effort of securing the sand proves a failure , for
    he can not captivate the beauty of his youthful mistress, and his effort of realizing the fragments of his hopes get lost in the friction of Time .
    In this poem the mystic in Poe rejects , Poe the dreamer .
    Subrata Ray .Mousumi para .Uluberia .West Bengal .India .

  6. nicola says:

    i adore this poem as i think it is really rather deep and meaningful and the fact that there are so many different interpretations to come of it.

    when i first read this poem i assumed (like the majority) that he was talking of a lover but on re-read after re-read i began to realise that he could be talking to a lover, but also to himself. as it seems he is saying goodbye to either his own life or a lover. the simple fact that he is talking about dreams here shows some confusion of wether things can really ever leave for good if life is jus one long dream ” is it therefore the less gone?”. it is implying that life itself is a dream and that nobody is really here it is just a figment of our imagination.

    the 2nd stanza again (like many) on first read i thought he was talking of hope to see a loved one again. as i re-read i began to realise that he could also be watching helplessly as his last days pass him by. his last days before his dream dies as he dies with his dream. with this dream comes memories so even if he was talking about his time to leave he may be wishing that his memories could die with him and not disappear one by one as his life, story and dream comes to an end.

  7. Dwayne Carter says:

    I once slept with poe

  8. Chelsea says:

    hey sina, i have to write a interpretation on this poem also. Can we exchange ideas?

  9. dayday says:

    community in the it’s name had probably pruning were about crashing down the wild stretching

  10. Tay says:

    this is simply about reality and if life is real or not.

  11. Sina says:

    Hey…..thx…I have to write a interpretation about this poem and your opinions are very usefull….thanks a lot!!!

  12. Susie says:

    This is a very deep poem. I first heard it in a song by Wunderkammer that I really liked. Normally, I don’t like Poe poetry, but this poem is really thought-provoking.

  13. Michael says:

    this is against my better judgement, but i think this is a poem. a dark one too. very deep. i like it.

  14. Darrell Anglin says:

    Jonathan Ross is dubbed “risque” by Ofcom but not in breach of rules over an interview with David Cameron…

  15. Star says:

    I’m doing a project on this poem, and it is one of my favorite ones by him. I LOVE IT!!!

  16. Sarah says:

    (After doing an essay on transcendentalism) I kind of get the feeling that this isn’t so much about just mortality, as it is about reality itself. Popular thinking at the time, at least among poets and such, was that we as humans aren’t really capable of perceiving “reality”… rather we each have our own view of it, although no two people can have the same exact view of any one thing. I think this poem is what happened when the beloved and depressing Poe thought too much on that, and realized that maybe there isn’t even a reality… but either way, does it matter? The first stanza is like his accepting the concept, but the second is like he’s realizing that its a little creepy in nature and leaves us without any substance or anything solid or secure.

  17. Sam says:

    I have posted about the meaning of this poem before, but would like to repost it and add some comments in response to some other comments made in response.

    I believe this poem is Poe coming to terms with his mortality and maybe also losing faith in God or at least questioning God. In the first two lines, Poe is saying farewell to life, his immortality. I disagree with the interpretation that Poe is saying goodbye to a lover. He is giving a kiss on the brow, not the lips or the cheek. It seems a more “general” farwell. He goes on to say, “you are not wrong, who deem, that my days have been a dream.” It seems to me that he is talking not to just one person, but to everyone.

    Some people have commented that poe was only 18 when he wrote this poem, and therefore he was too young to be thinking about his mortality. I disagree. It is obvious that he was very advanced in his thinking for being so young. It is amazing that he wrote this poem at only 18 in itself! This is also an age when more mature thinking starts to show itself. He was in the army at this time, and in war, soldiers die, so I think this is a perfect time for young Poe to start thinking about his death and questioning whether God exists. When he says “you are not wrong, who deem, that my days have been a dream.”, he may be saying that his thinking before this was dreamy and immature and that he is finally growing up.

    His days are dreams, because they do not exist anymore. The days past are gone. Dreams end. Life also has an end. All his days pass into nonexistance, just like the larger “dream” of his life eventually will. Dreams (days) within a dream (life). His previous hopes that this isn’t so, that he will always exist, that there is something more, is gone. “Hope has flown away.” and once it’s gone and doubt creeps in, you can’t go back to your old thinking.

    In the second stanza, nonexistance is given the form of the ocean, and his days (or time in general, as sand is often a metphor for time in poems) are grains of sand, that he is powerless to stop from slipping away. I think here he wanted to give the impression and image of an hourglass. The waves of nonexistance are stealing his days, and will eventually take all of them.

    Even though he has accepted the fact of his mortality in the first stanza, he still fights it in the second, pleading with God (if he exists) to save him, to let him know that his life will not pass into the “deep” of nothingness. He tries to hold on to just one grain of sand; just one moment in time that will stretch forever and save him from his impending death. He wants to believe and have hope again that his existance is not just a dream and has purpose, so instead of stating it like at the end of the first stanza, in desperation he asks it as a question in the second.

    “Is all that we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?”

  18. Danielle says:

    i am Edgar Allan Poe’s like #1 fan, his poetry comes to life, he pulls you into his fantasy with his work, i am truely astounded by the fact that someone could write with such meaning and such grace, hear i have not such a sweet melody, from the heart in which it came.

  19. jesus says:

    This is an inspring poem in many ways!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. bobby says:

    this is a great poem! Yahoo!

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