“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
A Dream is one of the countless poems Poe has written, a poem that contains imagery, symbolism, and a profound theme that explains how a dream can cause hope as well as sorrow. My attraction to Poe has always been because of the dark topics he focused his work on. Last year I shared my very favorite Annabel Lee and also the Raven. Anyone that reads poetry is familiar with the Raven, it’s a classic. But if asked are they familiar with some of his other great poems probably not. I hope you enjoy reading some of his less known works as much as I do.
A Dream Within a Dream by Edgar Allen 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?
“Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before.”~Poe
In the first stanza, “In visions of the dark knight, I have dreamed of joy departed- But a waking dream of life and light, Hath left me broken-hearted.” Poe relates his feelings about his desire and the sorrow felt. Poe’s intention was to show how a dream may be the only hope you have, but it is only a lie in reality. Another example is “Ah! what is not a dream by day, To him whose eyes are cast… Hath cheered me as a lovely beam. Poe is talking to himself about his confusions and emotions when having a dream in the middle of a horrible life he is living in. He wrote the poem in his perspective, and we know this by the figurative language he used to show intimacy. The poem discusses motivation, anxiety, and the false hope you get when dreaming, only to wake up knowing it was never true. It is still very relatable today.
He uses literary devices such as metaphor, simile, personification, symbolism, imagery, and others to show a deeper understanding of dreams and the dynamic but deceitful images that they show us. These devices are fundamental to the development and creation and allow Poe to expand his ideas to a greater extent.
To One in Paradise by Edgar Allen Poe
Thou wast that all 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! with 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 dark eye glances,
And where thy footstep gleams–
In what ethereal dances,
By what eternal streams!
Alas! for that accursed time
They bore thee o’er the billow,
From love to titled age and crime,
And an unholy pillow!
From me, and from our misty clime,
Where weeps the silver willow!
“We loved with a love that was more than love.”~Poe
Poe’s sad poem, To One in Paradise, deals with the loss of a significant other something most of us are familiar with or will be. The narrator says that love between he and the lady was all he ever wanted. He compares the object of his affection to various tangible elements in life. He feels that the love he and the woman shared was too good to last; now his one, true love affair is over, fallen victim to the grave. He is so distraught that he assures the reader that even nature will echo his pain. He was a dead man walking, miserable and alone. In this, we see how the universal love and death theme applies.