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“A Dream Within a Dream”

Is all that we see or seem But a dream within a dream?

Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

We tend to undervalue the poems, stories, and essays of Edgar Allan Poe. Currently, I am reading a slim volume of his complete poem; and I am amazed at what simple means he uses to achieve such strong and vivid effects. Take this one, for example:

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?

This is a poem even a child can understand. Yet few adults, however brilliant, could put it so well.

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