A Dream


A Dream
by Edgar Allan Poe

In visions of the dark night
       I have dreamed of joy departed—
But a waking dream of life and light

       Hath left me broken-hearted.

Ah! what is not a dream by day
       To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray

       Turned back upon the past?

That holy dream—that holy dream,
       While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam

       A lonely spirit guiding.

What though that light, thro’ storm and night,
       So trembled from afar—
What could there be more purely bright
   In Truth’s day-star?


Edgar Allan Poe was a creative and talented writer who used precise language and imagery in his work.

In his poem, ‘A Dream,’ he wrote it in the first person, using short and simple language expressive of his emotions.  It’s a lyric poem, which is melodious like that of a song.  Each of the four stanzas is a quatrain–having four lines.  While there’s no discernible pattern, he used iambic rhythm throughout the poem, which consists of a metrical foot having a short syllable followed by a long syllable.

The narrator dreams of losing happiness.  When he wakes up from this dream, he realizes that he’s already suffered heartbreak.  He can’t let go of the past and reflects too much on it.

He compares life to dreams as if his experiences did not measure up to his expectations of life.  This truth is the narrator’s real awakening.  The truth, or his ‘waking dream of life and light,’ is the brightest in the sky even during the daytime.  The poem ends with a question about the brightness of this reality for emphasis.