A Dream within a Dream by Edgar Allan Poe

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?

1849

 

Note on A Dream within a Dream

“A Dream within a Dream” does not appear to have been published as a separate poem during its author’s lifetime. A portion of it was contained, in 1829, in the piece beginning, “Should my early life seem,” and in 1831 some few lines of it were used as a conclusion to “Tamerlane.” In 1849 the poet sent a friend all but the first nine lines of the piece as a separate poem, headed “For Annie.”

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