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


  1. elif says:

    I agree with all Poe_lovers.I don’t think that we have the right to throw our negative comments to whomever it may stick to.Life is not easy for everyone.we don’t also have the right to judge either life itself or the owners of it.If you don’t get what a poem says then mind your own business(if you have of course)

  2. Kristina says:

    The people who think this man is a drunken fool are fools themselves. If they cannot understand the deep meaning of this peom written with extream understanding then they dont have the right to out down the extrodinary man that wrote it.
    The poem beggins to say that he has been living in a fantisy but the fantisy is now over and must say goodbye, and he starts to think that what if life is just a dream and one day we might all just wake up. Our lives on this earth could just all be a dream 14 or 20 or 50 years long, then we could wake up one day and see that it may just be one night that we slept trhough dreaming of what we belive is life

  3. Mi says:

    True, he was a drunken man who was probably called an idiot and a madman on many an occassion. But he was truly a brilliant man. The fact that a person may not understand his sophisticated language, the symbolism in his poems, and everything and anything else about him is a fault of your own; it’s not your right to criticise him so harshly. And about him marrying his cousin; it was a common thing to do in the States at that time, especially in Virginia, if I’m not mistaken.

  4. John says:

    I feel sorry for people who don’t understand a poem and respond by calling the poet stupid. I can understand your frustration, but that’s your problem not his. Anyway, it’s really quite simple. Our lives and the material universe of which we’re a part are just illusions. The Hindus call it maya. They also blieve that the only real thing is God in whose mind the drama plays out. To many this is a joyous thing like a dance which has no point except the fun of it all, but Poe did have a melancholic tendency and tended to see the negative side of everything.

  5. stephanie says:

    I like this poem. he shows you he cares and he cares so much that he even wants to save the sand from the tide. he is an emotional wreck but he can turn terrible things into a strange but nice poem you can relate to.

  6. wen says:

    this poem has so much spirit that i love it

  7. Stef says:

    haha i dont care what anyone says about him except for i agree with all the ones that said he a drunk retard!!! hell yeh he doesnt now poetry i mean im in 8th grade i can write a better one then him haha lol

  8. jeana says:

    Freedom of speech, ha i think not.
    this is stupid edgar allen poe was drunk
    that married his cousin. moments of happiness brought him pain. its bcuz he did drugs obviously.

  9. Nosika says:

    I have read, read, and read, this poem. Granted knowing that some English teachers dont get it, makes me feel better. However, my feelings and understandings of this poem are confusing;in a sense i am lost. I have picked this poem because of my fisrt impression, unfourtunately, the mroe i read it the more im not sure.
    I believe that Por is talking about life in general even though alot are saying that it is about losing a loved one or loved ones.
    In the end i say to myself that everone has different ideas about this poem and that no wich one is wrong nor right. Someone said it best that youo would jsut ahve to know what Poe was going through and thinking of.
    I do like the definitions given about the metaphores in this poem.
    I guess generally everyone is right and everyone is wrong..lol!

  10. brett (the one with the beard) says:

    this poem makies me wunna sing and hold my dog in the air i love this poem like anerd loves math

  11. jonathan meadows says:

    i think that poe was trying to express his sadness for all those people that cant understand his poems cause there idiots. he was expressing his mental anguish wich was an effect of all the loss of loved ones he has suffered from and alll have died of T.B. and other various ailments i feel bad for all you stupid people that dont unerstand what poe was trying to say and may god take pity upon you mothers soul

  12. Jace says:

    This is a beautiful poem that requires effort to read between the lines and appreciate the beauty in the message of the words.
    The first verse is talking about him kissing another goodbye on the eyebrow, and his parting words is to tell that person that he acknowledges that the other is not wrong is stating that his days ‘have been a dream’, meaning he had been living in another world, so to say, building sandcastles in the air and going after an impossible notion. And yet, he refutes by saying that the other is not all right, because he asks if hope has fled, no matter the time frame, does it mean it has disappeared completely? The last two lines holds the theme of the poem. He states clearly, that everthing ‘we see or seem’, ‘is but a dream within a dream’, indicating that everything is a dream; a wish we habour in our hearts.
    The second verse outlines his thought process over the matter, ending with a question directed towards his first statement ‘all that we see or seem, is but a dream within a dream’, thusly shaking the steady foundation upon which that idea stood. The word choice is exceedingly deliberate and well chosen if you can spot it. ‘I stand amid the roar’ signifies the thudering confusion going on in his head and his uncertainty in the world, and ‘surf-tormented shore’ shows that he feels depressed and discouraged by torment, be in self-inflicted or by others. ‘…golden sand’ employs the concensus attached to ‘golden’, that is, purity and value. The sands represent the opportunities in life, and ‘…how few!’ shows what he thinks of how often they come by. ‘…creep…to the deep’ dictate that the opportunities move slowly and silently past you so you don’t realise it till they are gone, and ‘to the deep’ tells that they are so far gone they could no longer be retrieved. He rallies a cry of despair, asking why he could not have caught them with a ‘tighter clasp’, voicing his displeasure at having lost them and not being able to ‘save one from the pitiless wave’. ‘Pitiless’ shows the cruelty of those who tear the opportunity from him, and ‘wave’ brings to mind the image of a overbearing rush of torrent that one is helpless against. These two words highlight the futility of the cry for the lost ‘sand’. He ends by showing how this experience, personified by an occurence of sand falling from his hand into the vast ocean, has rocked what he once thought certain.
    This is merely what I think his is trying to say, and hope that this may help others better understand the poem.

  13. Brett says:

    this poem is extremly brilliant and reaches out to you if you just take the time to sit back and really take it in. Poetry is an exellent way of expressing your self and I think everyone should at least give it a try!!!!!!!

  14. Gabrielle says:

    I really liked this poem because we know that edgar allan poe really suffers a lot in his life, just as he says he weeps and weeps, not understanding with has all his life ruined.

  15. No Name says:

    I need to research this poem for a project and it’s really hard. I dont understand it too much and I think I might fail this project. damn!

  16. lingling says:

    i’m doing a report on dis poem n its confusing me…to me this poem is about edgar allen poe saying good bye to a loved one. den he is questioning/wondering if life is\ just a dream that comes and goes…next he goes on about how he is surrounded by louds sounds and how he trys to hold on to he’s loved ones as well as he can..but still they leave.. so he is standing there crying and crying wanting them to come bac.. wut i dont get it the line “a dream within a dream”

  17. someone says:

    well i dont really understand this but it sounds beautiful!

  18. Betsy says:

    whatever, don’t care about this poem, it is STUPID,
    you poem likers out there, get on with your life and get OVER poems. poems are like, sooooooo pointless…..

  19. stephi says:

    i don’t know the meaning of this poem, but i love it, and just the way it sounds

  20. kaitlynn says:

    i REALLY like this poem,it reaches out to me ALL the way.its well thought out as in the fact that it can reach to ,lost lovers,and to life slipping away.i think that he was writeing this in a time of grayness in his life.

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