“A Dream”, one of Edgar Allan Poe’s first poems (written in 1827), is rife with longing and sentiment for memories trapped forever in the past.
The poet’s dreams or “visions of the dark night” are more real…. more bright, than the waking light of day. These “holy dreams” become his sun; even as the outside world tells otherwise.
This early work by Poe is part of a larger series inspired by the Romantic poet, Lord Byron, and includes the long title poem “Tamerlane”, which depicts an historical conqueror who laments the loss of his first romance. Tamerlane and Other Poems includes themes of love, death and pride.
Poe’s “A Dream” captures a yearning to hold onto a lost past… a lost love…. lost joy… lost inspiration; so much so, the poet’s truth becomes his dreams.
A Dream, by Edgar Allan Poe
In visions of the dark night
I have dreamed of joy departed-
But a waking dream of life and light
Hath left me broken-hearted,
Ah! what is not a dream by day
To him whose eyes are cast
On things around him with a ray
Turned back upon the past?-
That holy dream- that holy dream,
While all the world were chiding,
Hath cheered me as a lovely beam
A lonely spirit guiding
What though that light, thro’ storm and night,
So trembled from afar-
What could there be more purely bright
In Truth’s day-star?