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. LORRIE says:


  2. Leif Ericson says:

    Of Course this poem is beautiful, in a melancholic sort of way, but then pain can be a beautiful thing. I do not have a great understanding for poetry, i thing that i am atempting to rectify. However it is my opinion that those who spend there time looking to much into the poems meaning to the author and not at the poems meaning to ones self are not truely savoring the beauty of the words. That is not to say that Poes meaning is not important, just that true poetry speaks to everyone in a different way and should be apreciated be everyone differently, but the general idea should be the same. For a school project i understand. But for those who study to much into the poems backround and not enough time into the poems depth you really are learning nothing of life, love, pain and all things that make life worth living, which is what poetry is all about

  3. candace says:

    i think that this poem is very well writen. you have your oppinions… some nice and some crude… this poem is like a love poem so i believe it is nice.

  4. Des says:

    I am a 7th grader and doing a project on this for my language class. I think that poem is questioning his meaning and mortality. He joined the military the same year that he wrote this poem. Does anybody know the exact date this poem was written cuz’ I could use this in my interpretation if he wrote it b4 he joined the army! Thanks

  5. Helga says:

    I do not believe that the last stanza is dealing with memories at all. I believe that the “golden sand” that is slipping through his hand is his hopes and dreams. Through his loss in the first stanza he has come to realize that we all must die, and in turn lose our hopes and dreams to this death. He tries to grasp his hopes and dreams with a tighter clasp, but you cannot deny death, as it is unavoidable, so in turn, no matter what, we all must lose our hopes and dreams. Therefore our life really is a dream within a dream, because it eventually ends and we “wake up.”

  6. Brian says:

    This poem is sexy in every way possible

  7. alex says:


  8. Lucy says:

    i think that this poem is about love. the love between a woman and her dildo.

  9. noname says:

    it is clear that the morale of this story is loss is inevitable, but the only one aspect that is unknown to many is, loss of what? Is it loss of life, loss of love, loss of power, memory? All of these themes are extremely convincing and could be the very meaning that Poe intended it to be.

  10. hihihihihihihihihih says:

    alc had posted that this poem was written in 1827 but i was realy written in 1849 during the gold rush and after his wife died in 1847. so i belive that this poem was dedicated to his wife virginia. in false hope that he could sve his wife virginia.

  11. hihihihihihihihihi says:

    I think ‘Dream Within a Dream’ is a deeply sad and tragic poem that causes me to hurt for the writer. I think that it expresses more than just the loss or grief that we all must experience, but rather an unfathomable grief over a deeper eternal loss. An existential pain in a profoundly empty universe.

    He fears life is no more substantial than a dream and as impossible to return to. Not a grain of it can he keep from slipping away into the dark abyss.

    I think of his poem, ‘The Raven, ‘ where he asks – in effect – if his soul will ever find relief from the great losses of his life. And the raven always replies, ‘NEVERMORE! ‘.

    I don’t believe that to be true. I believe we will someday be reunited with those we have long ago loved. I believe there is a place of no regrets. I believe there is a place, as author Frederick Buechner puts it, where all that is lost will be found.

    At the end of our lives, I believe that will be the deepest yearning of all.

  12. plz!notmyname! says:

    I’m also a seventh grader!!! Why seventh grade!!! We’re TOO YOUNG!!! Anways, it took me one day to figure it all out. This is truely a BRILLIANT work of art. And I think this poem is about hope and how the few golden grains of sand is his hope and still he can’t hold on to them. And mabybe he’s talking to his wife or someone. Since I know that he had lost a lot of loved ones…

  13. Christian says:

    im in 7th grade and i have a huge project due on friday.i think this is a this is a beautiful poem and i agree that its not about memories

  14. Drew says:

    I think this poem is really interesting… what i dont understand is the the whole idea of “Hope”. He is asking if hope has departed at any time, is it gone or not? and then he refers to the line “All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream.”
    While other’s see the next stanza as memories passing by, i think the connotation of sand slipping through his fingers could be also referred to as time. Stating that he doesn’t have much time left because he is either leaving or is dieing. I think that he is stating that he really doesn’t know when it is his time to go but is it going to be real or just “a dream within a dream?”

  15. andrea says:

    hi my name is Andrea im in 7th grade and i have to do a project on this poem and i think that this poem is about how this guy is saying goodbye to his loved ones and his life. and he is saying that he cant hold on to his memories and he cant remember anything any more but he wants to and he thinks that all his life was a dream and he will wake up every one will wake up.

  16. jaonna says:

    Hi my name is JaOnna Woodard and I live in California and i just wanted to let you now that your poem is so great it help me realize that when you love some one you should always ley them know that or thell be like air in a balloon and fade away

  17. andy says:

    this poem is about this guys life and how he thinks that it is all a dream and maybe just one day hr will wake up. and maybe this guy was a drunkin idiot but he is really briliant when it comes to poetry. i love this poem

  18. paul says:

    i’m in the 8th grade too, I have to do this huge poetry project too, does anyone have ms. milin or ms.leapfried?

  19. paul says:

    I think this poem is about saying goodbye, because he knows that all his days will be gone, then thay will all turn into dreams or memerories, then in the second stanza, he begins to talk about how he is losing all of his memerories. Some people might think that this is about losing everyone around him because of the diseases going around, then in the next stanza it makes it seem like he is trying to save all of these people.

  20. Dayna says:

    I’m in eighth grade and we did this HUGE poetry project. One of the things I had to do was paraphrase a poem and this was the one I did. I don’t remember everything I put, however, I remember that I thought this poem was about memories. Especially with the second stanza and the references to sand slipping through his fingers like memories being lost. I dunno.

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