A Dream within a Dream, by Edgar Allen Poe - Audio

Player is below
Click on the play button below to listen.

Edgar Allan Poe published a poem entitled "Imitation," in 1827

During the last year of his life - 1849 - he published a different version of that earlier work, this time entitled "A Dream within a Dream."

Because the owners of a popular weekly newspaper - called "The Flag of Our Union" - paid for submissions which the editors published, Poe allowed that Saturday-only-publication to print "Dream" in its 31 March 1849 issue.  It appeared on page 2, at the top of the 8th column.

Barely more than six months later, Poe was dead.

In this audio clip, Carole Bos (creator of Awesome Stories) reads "A Dream within a Dream."  Think about these topics as you listen to the words.


ISSUES AND QUESTIONS TO PONDER:   To whom is Poe talking in this poem?  Could it be to his beloved wife, Virginia, who had died two years before "A Dream within a Dream" was published?  If not to Virginia, then to whom? 

Do we know why the narrator is weeping?  Is it because he is in anguish about something specific - or - because life, itself, is so fleeting? 

Does it matter why he's crying? 

Do we leave this poem with a sense of hopelessness and despair - or - does it spur us on to make the most of life while we still have it? 

Poe seems to despair that he can't even save one grain of sand, but is that conclusion really true?  Couldn't he save a single grain - and more than that - if he didn't let them slip through his fingers and into the sea? 

What if he took the sand away from the water's edge - could he save the grains then? 

Are the waves, and the grains of sand, metaphors for life?  If so, what can we learn from (or about) them?


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?


For Classics at Awesome Stories

Media Credits

"A Dream within a Dream," by Edgar Allan Poe.  Read by Carole Bos, creator of Awesome Stories.


To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"A Dream within a Dream, by Edgar Allen Poe - Audio" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Feb 18, 2020.
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Awesome Stories Silver or Gold Membership Required
Show tooltips