Humanities › Literature A Dream Within a Dream" by Edgar Allan Poe Share Flipboard Email Print ClassicStock / Getty Images Literature Quotations Funny Quotes Love Quotes Great Lines from Movies and Television Quotations For Holidays Best Sellers Classic Literature Plays & Drama Poetry Shakespeare Short Stories Children's Books By Simran Khurana Education Expert M.B.A, Human Resource Development and Management, Narsee Monjee Institution of Management Studies B.S., University of Mumbai, Commerce, Accounting, and Finance Simran Khurana is the Editor-in-Chief for ReachIvy, and a teacher and freelance writer and editor, who uses quotations in her pedagogy. our editorial process Simran Khurana Updated June 15, 2019 Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) was an American writer known for his depiction of macabre, supernatural scenes, which often featured death or a fear of death. He’s often referred to as one of the creators of the American short story, and numerous other writers cite Poe as a key influence on their work. Poe's Background and Early Life Born in Boston in 1809, Poe suffered from depression and battled alcoholism later in life. Both of his parents died before he was 3 years old, and he was raised as a foster child by John Allan. Although Allan paid for Poe’s education, the tobacco importer eventually cut off financial support, and Poe struggled to make a living with his writing. After the death of his wife Virginia in 1847, Poe's alcoholism grew worse. He died in Baltimore in 1849. Not well-regarded in life, his work has posthumously come to be seen as genius. His most famous stories include "The Tell-Tale Heart," "Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "The Fall of the House of Usher." In addition to being among his most-read works of fiction, these stories are widely read and taught in American literature courses as classic examples of the short story form. Poe is also well-known for his epic poems, including "Annabel Lee" and "The Lake." But his 1845 poem “The Raven,” the somber story of a man mourning his lost love to an unsympathetic bird who only replies with the word "nevermore," is probably the work for which Poe is best known. Analyzing "A Dream Within a Dream" Poe published the poem “A Dream Within a Dream” in 1849 in a magazine called Flag of Our Union. Like many of his other poems, the narrator of "A Dream Within a Dream" is suffering an existential crisis. "A Dream Within a Dream" was published near the end of Poe's life, at a time when his alcoholism was believed to be interfering with his day-to-day functioning. It's not a stretch to consider that perhaps Poe himself was struggling with determining fact from fiction and having difficulty comprehending reality, as the poem's narrator does. Several interpretations of this poem bear out the idea that Poe was feeling his own mortality when he wrote it: The "sands" he references in the second stanza may refer to the sand in an hourglass, which runs down as time expires. Full Text Take this kiss upon the brow!And, in parting from you now,Thus much let me avowYou are not wrong, who deemThat my days have been a dream;Yet if hope has flown awayIn a night, or in a day,In a vision, or in none,Is it therefore the less gone?All that we see or seemIs but a dream within a dream.I stand amid the roarOf a surf-tormented shore,And I hold within my handGrains of the golden sandHow few! yet how they creepThrough my fingers to the deep,While I weep - while I weep!O God! can I not graspThem with a tighter clasp?O God! can I not saveOne from the pitiless wave?Is all that we see or seemBut a dream within a dream? Resources and Further Reading Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe A to Z: the Essential Reference to His Life and Work. Checkmark, 2001.