Text: Edgar Allan Poe, “Imitation” (Text-02), Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), pp. 29-30


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[page 29, continued:]

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IMITATION.

A dark unfathom’d tide

Of interminable pride —

A mystery, and a dream,

Should my early life seem; [page 30:]

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!

Let none of earth inherit

That vision on [[of]] my spirit;

Those thoughts I would controul [[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 sight [[sigh]] as it pass’d on,

I care not tho’ it perish

With a thought I then did cherish, [[.]]


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Notes:

The imitation is of Byron, especially his poems “Dream” and “Manfred.”

Most scholars consider this poem an early version of “A Dream Within a Dream,” although it was first revised as “To — —”. As such, it provides an unsual example of a work heavily revised by Poe over his entire lifetime.

The original text is riddled with typographical errors, suggesting that Poe did not have the opportunity to see this poem in proof. Mabbott suggests that “controul” may have been a tolerated spelling in 1827. Modern dictionaries generally consider it an obsolete form of “control.” It was still in use in England at least as late as 1848, but primarily in legal documents and later printings of earlier documents. In any case, the word “control” appears, in the currently accepted spelling, in the version of “A Dream” from the same edition. This fact leaves the possibility that Poe intended the archaic spelling, which would indicate that “Imitation” must have been from a very early manuscript.

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[S:2 - TAOP, 1827 (fac, 1941)] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Works - Poems - Imitation (Text-02)