Text: Edgar Allan Poe (ed. T. O. Mabbott), “A Dream,” The Collected Works of Edgar Allan PoeVol. I: Poems (1969), pp. 79-80 (This material is protected by copyright)


[page 79:]


The poem seems to refer to the loss of Mrs. Jane Stith Craig Stanard (“Helen”) and of Elmira Royster; the canceled first stanza suggests that it was composed after Poe left the Allan home in Richmond.

It is partly, as Wilbur observed in his Poe (1959), pages 122-123, based on Byron’s “I would I were a Careless Child,” lines 21-24:

Once I beheld a splendid dream,

A visionary scene of bliss!

Truth! — wherefore did thy hated beam

Awake me to a world like this?


(A) Tamerlane and Other Poems (1827), pp. 32-33; (B) Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane, and Minor Poems (1829), p. 67; (C) Herring copy of Al Aaraaf ... with manuscript changes, 1845; (D) Broadway Journal, August 16, 1845 (2:85); (E) The Raven and Other Poems (1845), p. 83; (F) Works (1850), II, 105.

The text used here is E, which like D was set up from C.

[page 80, continued:]


Title:  Untitled in A

1  Before this A inserts:

A wilder’d being from my birth

My spirit spurn’d control,

But now, abroad on the wide earth,

Where wand’rest thou my soul?

5  Ah! / And (A, B)

13  storm and night / misty night (A)

14  trembled from / dimly shone (A)

[page 80, continued:]


2  Compare the second version of Burns’s “The Banks o’ Doon”: “Thou minds me o’ departed joys, / Departed — never to return!” Also compare Politian, IV, 66.

3-4  Compare The Troubadour by Letitia E. Landon (1825), I, 138-141:

He dreams a dream of life and light,

And grasps the rainbow that appears

Afar all beautiful and bright,

And finds it only form’d of tears.

Poe in Graham’s for August 1841 writes nostalgically of Miss Landon (“L. E. L.”), an English poetess popular at the time, “all who have loved, in other days, the poetry of this sweet writer”; he mentioned her affectionately also in his acrostic “Elizabeth.” His appreciation of her work was real if indulgent, and her influence may be found even in Poe’s Poems of 1831.

16  “Day-star” is the sun, as in “Lycidas,” line 168.





[S:1 - TOM1P, 1969] - Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore - Editions-The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe (T. O. Mabbott) (A Dream)