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Text: Edgar Allan Poe, "Dreams" (C), "Wilmer" manuscript collection, about 1828


Oh! that my young life were a lasting dream!
My spirit not awak'ning, till the beam
Of an Eternity should bring the morrow:
Yes! tho' that long dream were of hopeless sorrow,
‘Twere better than the dull reality
Of waking life to him whose heart shall be,
And hath been ever, on the chilly earth,
A chaos of deep passion from his birth!

But should it be — that dream eternally
Continuing — as dreams have been to me
In my young boyhood — should it thus be given,
‘Twere folly still to hope for higher Heaven!
For I have revell'd, when the sun was bright
In the summer sky; in dreamy fields of light,
And left unheedingly my very heart
In climes of mine imagining — apart
From mine own home, with beings that have been
Of mine own thought — what more could I have seen?

‘Twas once & only once & the wild hour
From my rememberance shall not pass — some power
Or spell had bound me — 'twas the chilly wind
Came o'er me in the night & left behind
Its image on my spirit, or the moon
Shone on my slumbers in her lofty noon
Too coldly — or the stars — howe'er it was
That dream was as that night wind — let it pass.

I have been happy — tho' but in a dream
I have been happy — & I  love the theme —
Dreams! in their vivid colouring of life —
As in that fleeting, shadowy, misty strife
Of semblance with reality which brings
To the delirious eye more lovely things
Of Paradise & Love — & all our own!
Than young Hope in his sunniest hour hath known.


This manuscript was one of a small collection that Poe apparently gave to his Baltimore friend Lambert A. Wilmer.

[S:1 - MS, 1828 (W&S, 1895, 10:228-229)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Dreams (C)