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First published appearance in The Flag of Our Union

"A Dream Within a Dream" is a poem written by American poet Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The poem has 24 lines, divided into two stanzas.



The poem dramatizes the confusion felt by the narrator as he watches the important things in life slip away.[1] Realizing he cannot hold on to even one grain of sand, he is led to his final question whether all things are just a dream.[2]

It has been suggested that the "golden sand" referenced in the 15th line signifies that which is to be found in an hourglass, consequently time itself.[3] Another interpretation holds that the expression evokes an image derived from the 1848 finding of gold in California.[1] The latter interpretation seems unlikely, however, given the presence of the four, almost identical, lines describing the sand in another poem "To ——," which is regarded as a blueprint for "A Dream Within a Dream" and preceding its publication by two decades.[3]

Publication historyEdit

The poem was first published in the March 31, 1849, edition of the Boston-based periodical The Flag of Our Union.[2] The same publication had only two weeks before first published Poe's short story "Hop-Frog." The next month, owner Frederick Gleason announced it could no longer pay for whatever articles or poems it published.



  1. ^ a b Silverman, Kenneth. Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance. New York: Harper Perennial, 1991. p. 402 ISBN 0-06-092331-8
  2. ^ a b Sova, Dawn B. Edgar Allan Poe: A to Z. New York: Checkmark Books, 2001: 73. ISBN 0-8160-4161-X
  3. ^ a b Poe, E. A. (1969). Poems Collected in 1829. In T. O. Mabbott (Ed.), Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe, Volume I: Poems (pp. 130). Massachusetts: Belknap Press.
  4. ^ XElvikingoX. "The Yardbirds - Dream Within A Dream". Retrieved 9 February 2019 – via YouTube.

External linksEdit