Text: Charles W. Kent (notes) Robert A. Stewart (variants) (ed. J. A. Harrison), “Notes to A Dream within a Dream,” The Complete Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. VII: Poems (1902), pp. 150-152


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[page 150, continued:]

A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM.

Page 16.

IMITATION, 1827; TO — —, 1829; TAMERLANE, 1831: A DREAM WITHIN A DREAM, GRISWOLD, 1849.

Text, Griswold.

The earliest version (1827) runs as follows:

IMITATION.

A dark unfathom’d tide

Of interminable pride —

A mystery, and a dream,

Should my early life seem;

I say that dream was fraught

With a wild, and waking thought

Of beings that have been,

Which my spirit hath not seen,

Had I let them pass me by,

With a dreaming eye! [page 151:]

Let none of earth inherit

That vision on my spirit;

Those thoughts I would control,

As a spell upon his soul:

For that bright hope at last

And that light time have past,

And my worldly rest hath gone

With a sigh as it pass’d on:

I care not tho’ it perish

With a thought I then did cherish.

The 1829 revision is as follows:

TO —— ——

Should my early life seem

[As well it might,] a dream —

Yet I build no faith upon

The King Napoleon —

I look not up afar

To my destiny in a star:

2.

In parting from you now

Thus much I will avow —

There are beings, and have been

Whom my spirit had not seen

Had I let them pass me by

With a dreaming eye —

If my peace hath fled away

In a night — or in a day —

In a vision — or in none —

Is it therefore the less gone?

I am standing ’mid the roar

Of a weather-beaten shore, [page 152:]

And I hold within my hand

Some particles of sand —

How few! and how they creep

Thro’ my fingers to the deep!

My early hopes? no — they

Went gloriously away,

Like lightning from the sky

At once — and so will I.

So young! Ah! no — not now —

Thou hast not seen my brow,

But they tell thee I am proud —

They lie — they lie aloud —

My bosom beats with shame

At the paltriness of name

With which they dare combine

A feeling such as mine —

Nor Stoic? I am not:

In the terror of my lot

I laugh to think how poor

That pleasure “to endure!”

What! shade of Zeno! — I!

Endure! — no — no — defy.

EDITORS NOTE.

My days have been a dream and hope has vanished. Time like sand grains slips through the fingers and every thing is a dream within a dream. Note this figure in “Locksley Hall.”

It does not materially aid the interpretation of this poem to consider it a part of “Tamerlane.”

It consists of iambic trimeter riming generally in couplets.

 


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Notes:

None.


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[S:0 - JAHCW, 1902] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions - The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe (J. A. Harrison) (Notes to A Dream within a Dream)