Here are my favorite poems about dreams categorized:
- Poems about dreams and memories
- Short poems about dreams
- Poems about dreams and goals
- Famous poems about dreams
- Poems about dreams in life
So if you want the best poems about dreams, then you’re in the right place.
Read on and enjoy!
Magical Poems About Dreams
Explore the mystery and power of dreams with this collection of the best poems about dreams.
From poignant works that reflect on the ways in which our dreams shape our memories and aspirations to whimsical pieces that capture the fantastical worlds that exist within our minds, these poems offer a glimpse into the many ways in which dreams can inspire and transform us.
Featuring works by some of the greatest poets of all time, as well as contemporary voices that capture the modern-day experience of dreaming, this collection showcases the enduring appeal and significance of the dream world.
Whether you’re looking to reflect on the meaning of your own dreams or simply seeking to lose yourself in the possibilities of the imagination, these poems are sure to spark your own dreams and imagination.
Let’s jump right in!
My #1 Favorite Poem About Dreams
“The Garden of Dreams” by Bliss Carman
My heart is a garden of dreams
Where you walk when day is done,
Fair as the royal flowers,
Calm as the lingering sun.
Never a drouth comes there,
Nor any frost that mars,
Only the wind of love
Under the early stars,—
The living breath that moves
Whispering to and fro,
Like the voice of God in the dusk
Of the garden long ago.
Poems About Dreams and Memories
“The Awaking” by Alexander Pushkin
Ye dreams, ye dreams,
Where is your sweetness?
Where thou, where thou
O joy of night?
Disappeared has it,
The joyous dream;
In darkness deep
Round my bed
Is silent night.
At once are cooled,
At once are fled,
All in a crowd
The dreams of Love—
Still with longing
The soul is filled
And grasps of sleep
O Love, O Love,
O hear my prayer:
Again send me
Those visions thine,
And on the morrow
Let me die
“Come To Me Dreams of Heaven” by Felicia Hemans
Come to me, dreams of heaven!
My fainting spirit bear
On your bright wings, by morning given,
Up to celestial air.
Away—far, far away,
From bowers by tempests riven,
Fold me in blue, still, cloudless day,
O blessed dreams of heaven!
Come but for one brief hour,
Sweet dreams! and yet again
O’er burning thought and memory shower
Your soft effacing rain!
Waft me where gales divine,
With dark clouds ne’er have striven,
Where living founts for ever shine—
O blessed dreams of heaven!
“Echo” by Christina Rossetti
Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream;
Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
Come back in tears,
O memory, hope, love of finished years.
O dream how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet;
Where thirsting longing eyes
Watch the slow door
That opening, letting in, lets out no more.
Yet come to me in dreams, that I may live
My very life again though cold in death:
Come back to me in dreams, that I may give
Pulse for pulse, breath for breath:
Speak low, lean low,
As long ago, my love, how long ago!
“A Song” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
On a summer’s day as I sat by a stream,
A dainty maid came by,
And she blessed my sight like a rosy dream,
And left me there to sigh, to sigh,
And left me there to sigh, to sigh.
On another day as I sat by the stream,
This maiden paused a while,
Then I made me bold as I told my dream,
She heard it with a smile, a smile,
She heard it with a smile, a smile.
Oh, the months have fled and the autumn’s red,
The maid no more goes by:
For my dream came true and the maid I wed,
And now no more I sigh, I sigh,
And now no more I sigh.
“A Dream” by William Cullen Bryant
I had a dream—a strange, wild dream—
Said a dear voice at early light;
And even yet its shadows seem
To linger in my waking sight.
Earth, green with spring, and fresh with dew,
And bright with morn, before me stood;
And airs just wakened softly blew
On the young blossoms of the wood.
Birds sang within the sprouting shade,
Bees hummed amid the whispering grass,
And children prattled as they played
Beside the rivulet’s dimpling glass
Fast climbed the sun: the flowers were flown,
There played no children in the glen;
For some were gone, and some were grown
To blooming dames and bearded men.
‘Twas noon, ’twas summer: I beheld
Woods darkening in the flush of day,
And that bright rivulet spread and swelled,
A mighty stream, with creek and bay.
And here was love, and there was strife,
And mirthful shouts, and wrathful cries,
And strong men, struggling as for life,
With knotted limbs and angry eyes.
Now stooped the sun—the shades grew thin;
The rustling paths were piled with leaves;
And sunburnt groups were gathering in,
From the shorn field, its fruits and sheaves.
The river heaved with sullen sounds;
The chilly wind was sad with moans;
Black hearses passed, and burial-grounds
Grew thick with monumental stones.
Still waned the day; the wind that chased
The jagged clouds blew chillier yet;
The woods were stripped, the fields were waste,
The wintry sun was near its set.
And of the young, and strong, and fair,
A lonely remnant, gray and weak,
Lingered, and shivered to the air
Of that bleak shore and water bleak.
Ah! age is drear, and death is cold!
I turned to thee, for thou wert near,
And saw thee withered, bowed, and old,
And woke all faint with sudden fear.
‘Twas thus I heard the dreamer say,
And bade her clear her clouded brow;
“For thou and I, since childhood’s day,
Have walked in such a dream till now.
“Watch we in calmness, as they rise,
The changes of that rapid dream,
And note its lessons, till our eyes
Shall open in the morning beam.”
“The Dream of Those Days” by Thomas Moore
The dream of those days when first I sung thee is o’er
Thy triumph hath stain’d the charm thy sorrows then wore;
And even the light which Hope once shed o’er thy chains,
Alas, not a gleam to grace thy freedom remains.
Say, is it that slavery sunk so deep in thy heart,
That still the dark brand is there, though chainless thou art;
And Freedom’s sweet fruit, for which thy spirit long burned,
Now, reaching at last thy lip, to ashes hath turned?
Up Liberty’s steep by Truth and Eloquence led,
With eyes on her temple fix’d, how proud was thy tread!
Ah, better thou ne’er hadst lived that summit to gain,
Denied in the porch, than thus dishonour the fane.
“The Dream of Love” by George Pope Morris
I’ve had the heart-ache many times,
At the mere mention of a name
I’ve never woven in my rhymes,
Though from it inspiration came.
It is in truth a holy thing,
Life-cherished from the world apart–
A dove that never tries its wing,
But broods and nestles in the heart.
That name of melody recalls
Her gentle look and winning ways
Whose portrait hangs on memory’s walls,
In the fond light of other days.
In the dream-land of Poetry,
Reclining in its leafy bowers,
Her bright eyes in the stars I see,
And her sweet semblance in the flowers.
Her artless dalliance and grace–
The joy that lighted up her brow–
The sweet expression of her face–
Her form–it stands before me now!
And I can fancy that I hear
The woodland songs she used to sing,
Which stole to my attending ear,
Like the first harbingers of spring.
The beauty of the earth was hers,
And hers the purity of heaven;
Alone, of all her worshippers,
To me her maiden vows were given.
They little know the human heart,
Who think such love with time expires;
Once kindled, it will ne’er depart,
But burn through life with all its fires.
We parted–doomed no more to meet–
The blow fell with a stunning power–
And yet my pulse will strangely beat
At the remembrance of that hour!
But time and change their healing brought,
And years have passed in seeming glee,
But still alone of her I’ve thought
Who’s now a memory to me.
There may be many who will deem
This strain a wayward, youthful folly,
To be derided as a dream
Born of the poet’s melancholy.
The wealth of worlds, if it were mine,
With all that follows in its train,
I would with gratitude resign,
To dream that dream of love again.
“A Dream of Beauty” by Clark Ashton Smith
I dreamed that each most lovely, perfect thing
That Nature hath, of sound, and form, and hue –
The winds, the grass, the light-concentering dew,
The gleam and swiftness of the sea-bird’s wing;
Blueness of sea and sky, and gold of storm
Transmuted by the sunset, and the flame
Of autumn-colored leaves, before me came,
And, meeting, merged to one diviner form.
Incarnate Beauty ’twas, whose spirit thrills
Through glaucous ocean and the greener hills,
And in the cloud-bewildered peaks is pent.
Like some descended star she hovered o’er,
But as I gazed, in doubt and wonderment,
Mine eyes were dazzled, and I saw no more.
“A Dream in Early Spring” by Fredegond Shove
Now when I sleep the thrush breaks through my dreams
With sharp reminders of the coming day:
After his call, one minute I remain
Unwaked, and on the darkness which is Me
There springs the image of a daffodil,
Growing upon a grassy bank alone,
And seeming with great joy his bell to fill
With drops of golden dew, which on the lawn
He shakes again, where they lie bright and chill.
His head is drooped; the shrouded winds that sing
Bend him which way they will: never on earth
Was there before so beautiful a ghost.
Alas! he had a less than flower-birth,
And like a ghost indeed must shortly glide
From all but the sad cells of memory,
Where he will linger, an imprisoned beam,
Or fallen shadow of the golden world,
Long after this and many another dream.
“The Dream” by Aphra Behn
All trembling in my arms Aminta lay,
Defending of the bliss I strove to take;
Raising my rapture by her kind delay,
Her force so charming was and weak.
The soft resistance did betray the grant,
While I pressed on the heaven of my desires;
Her rising breasts with nimbler motions pant;
Her dying eyes assume new fires.
Now to the height of languishment she grows,
And still her looks new charms put on;
Now the last mystery of Love she knows,
We sigh, and kiss: I waked, and all was done.
`Twas but a dream, yet by my heart I knew,
Which still was panting, part of it was true:
Oh how I strove the rest to have believed;
Ashamed and angry to be undeceived!
“Douce Souvenance” by Jessie Redmon Fauset
Again, as always, when the shadows fall,
In that sweet space between the dark and day,
I leave the present and its fretful claims
And seek the dim past where my memories stay.
I dream an old, forgotten, far-off dream,
And think old thoughts and live old scenes anew,
Till suddenly I reach the heart of Spring—
The spring that brought me you!
I see again a little woody lane,
The moonlight rifting golden through the trees;
I hear the plaintive chirp of drowsy bird
Lulled dreamward by a tender, vagrant breeze;
I hold your hand, I look into your eyes,
I touch your lips,—oh, peerless, matchless dower!
Oh, Memory thwarting Time and Space and Death!
Oh, Little Perfect Hour!
“Near the End of April” by William Stanley Braithwaite
Near the end of April
On the verge of May—
And o my heart, the woods were dusk
At the close of day.
Half a word was spoken
Out of half a dream,
And God looked in my soul and saw
A dawn rise and gleam.
Near the end of April
Twenty Mays have met,
And half a word and half a dream
Remember and forget.
Short Poems About Dreams
“For a Poet” by Countee Cullen
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken
And laid them away in a box of gold;
Where long will cling the lips of the moth,
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth;
I hide no hate; I am not even wroth
Who found earth’s breath so keen and cold;
I have wrapped my dreams in a silken cloth,
And laid them away in a box of gold.
“The Dream-Follower” by Thomas Hardy
A dream of mine flew over the mead
To the halls where my old Love reigns;
And it drew me on to follow its lead:
And I stood at her window-panes;
And I saw but a thing of flesh and bone
Speeding on to its cleft in the clay;
And my dream was scared, and expired on a moan,
And I whitely hastened away.
“Wind Rising in the Alleys” by Lola Ridge
Wind rising in the alleys
My spirit lifts in you like a banner
Streaming free of hot walls.
You are full of unspent dreams . . .
You are laden with beginnings . . .
There is hope in you . . . not sweet . . .
acrid as blood in the mouth.
Come into my tossing dust
Scattering the peace of old deaths,
Wind rising in the alleys
Carrying stuff of flame.
“A Dream of Spring” by Marietta Holley
The world is asleep! All hushed is Nature’s warm, sweet breath.
The world is asleep, and dreaming the silent dream of snow,
But through the silence that seems like the silence of death,
Under their shroud of ermine, the souls of the roses glow.
And forever the heart of the water throbs and beats,
Though bound by a million gleaming fetters and crystal rings,
No sound on lonesome mornings the lonely watcher greets,
But the frosty pane is impressed with the shadow of coming wings.
“Dreams” by Emily Dickinson
Let me not mar that perfect dream
By an auroral stain,
But so adjust my daily night
That it will come again.
“The Opal Dream Cave” by Katherine Mansfield
In an opal dream cave I found a fairy:
Her wings were frailer than flower petals,
Frailer far than snowflakes.
She was not frightened, but poised on my finger,
Then delicately walked into my hand.
I shut the two palms of my hands together
And held her prisoner.
I carried her out of the opal cave,
Then opened my hands.
First she became thistledown,
Then a mote in a sunbeam,
Then—nothing at all.
Empty now is my opal dream cave.
“Sonnet V” by George Santayana
Dreamt I to-day the dream of yesternight,
Sleep ever feigning one evolving theme,—
Of my two lives which should I call the dream?
Which action vanity? which vision sight?
Some greater waking must pronounce aright,
If aught abideth of the things that seem,
And with both currents swell the flooded stream
Into an ocean infinite of light.
Even such a dream I dream, and know full well
My waking passeth like a midnight spell,
But know not if my dreaming breaketh through
Into the deeps of heaven and of hell.
I know but this of all I would I knew:
Truth is a dream, unless my dream is true.
“Fear” by E. Nesbit
If you were here,
Hopes, dreams, ambitions, faith would disappear,
Drowned in your eyes; and I should touch your hand,
Forgetting all that now I understand.
For you confuse my life with memories
Of unrememberable ecstasies
Which were, and are not, and can never be; . . .
Ah! keep the whole earth between you and me.
“Old War-Dreams” by Walt Whitman
In midnight sleep of many a face of anguish,
Of the look at first of the mortally wounded (of that indescribable look),
Of the dead on their backs with arms extended wide,
I dream, I dream, I dream.
Of scenes of Nature, fields and mountains,
Of skies so beauteous after a storm, and at night the moon so unearthly bright,
Shining sweetly, shining down, where we dig the trenches and gather the heaps,
I dream, I dream, I dream.
Long have they pass’d, faces and trenches and fields,
Where through the carnage I moved with a callous composure, or away from the fallen,
Onward I sped at the time—but now of their forms at night,
I dream, I dream, I dream.
“Winter” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Two trees swayed in the winter wind; and dreamed
The snowflakes falling about them were bees
Singing among the leaves. And they were glad,
Knowing the dream would soon come true.
Beside the hearth an aged couple rocked,
And dozed; and dreamed the friends long passed from sight
Were with them once again. They woke and smiled,
Knowing the dream would soon come true.
Poems About Dreams and Goals
“It’s a Long Way” by William Stanley Braithwaite
It’s a long way the sea-winds blow
Over the sea-plains blue,—
But longer far has my heart to go
Before its dreams come true.
It’s work we must, and love we must,
And do the best we may,
And take the hope of dreams in trust
To keep us day by day.
It’s a long way the sea-winds blow—
But somewhere lies a shore—
Thus down the tide of Time shall flow
My dreams forevermore.
“Dreams” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
What dreams we have and how they fly
Like rosy clouds across the sky;
Of wealth, of fame, of sure success,
Of love that comes to cheer and bless;
And how they wither, how they fade,
The waning wealth, the jilting jade—
The fame that for a moment gleams,
Then flies forever,—dreams, ah—dreams!
O burning doubt and long regret,
O tears with which our eyes are wet,
Heart-throbs, heart-aches, the glut of pain,
The somber cloud, the bitter rain,
You were not of those dreams—ah! well,
Your full fruition who can tell?
Wealth, fame, and love, ah! love that beams
Upon our souls, all dreams—ah! dreams.
“I Dream of All Things Free” by Felicia Hemans
I dream of all things free!
Of a gallant, gallant bark
That sweeps through storm and sea,
Like an arrow to its mark!
Of a stag that o’er the hills
Goes bounding in his glee;
Of a thousand flashing rills—
Of all things glad and free.
I dream of some proud bird,
A bright-eyed mountain-king!
In my visions I have heard
The rushing of his wing.
I follow some wild river,
On whose breast no sail may be;
Dark woods around it shiver—
I dream of all things free!
Of a happy forest child,
With the fawns and flowers at play;
Of an Indian midst the wild,
With the stars to guide his way;
Of a chief his warriors leading,
Of an archer’s greenwood tree—
My heart in chains is bleeding,
And I dream of all things free!
“Little Grey Dreams” by Angelina Weld Grimké
Little grey dreams,
I sit at the ocean’s edge,
At the grey ocean’s edge,
With you in my lap.
I launch you, one by one,
And one by one,
Little grey dreams,
Under the grey, grey, clouds,
Out on the grey, grey, sea,
You go sailing away,
From my empty lap,
Little grey dreams.
Into the black,
At the horizon’s edge.
“A Question” by Matthew Arnold
Joy comes and goes, hope ebbs and flows
Like the wave;
Change doth unknit the tranquil strength of men.
Love lends life a little grace,
A few sad smiles; and then
Both are laid in one cold place,—
In the grave.
Dreams dawn and fly, friends smile and die
Like spring flowers;
Our vaunted life is one long funeral.
Men dig graves with bitter tears
For their dead hopes; and all,
Mazed with doubts and sick with fears,
Count the hours.
We count the hours! These dreams of ours,
False and hollow,
Do we go hence, and find they are not dead?
Joys we dimly apprehend
Faces that smiled and fled,
Hopes born here, and born to end,
Shall we follow?
“Volume One” by Kate Louise Wheeler
How beautiful is youth that grandly gleams
With bright illusions and aspiring dreams!
Book of beginnings, such as Fiction paints,
With model heroines and hero saints.
Each precious page with expectation teems,
Filling the mind as rain-drops fill the streams;
Sweet and refreshing as the summer shower
And adding charms to every passing hour.
Each coming chapter with a new hope beams,
But how ’twill end the wisest little dreams;
And when, at last, the book of Youth is done
A less romantic sequel is begun.
“The Harlequin of Dreams” by Sidney Lanier
Swift, through some trap mine eyes have never found,
Dim-panelled in the painted scene of Sleep,
Thou, giant Harlequin of Dreams, dost leap
Upon my spirit’s stage. Then Sight and Sound,
Then Space and Time, then Language, Mete and Bound,
And all familiar Forms that firmly keep
Man’s reason in the road, change faces, peep
Betwixt the legs and mock the daily round.
Yet thou canst more than mock: sometimes my tears
At midnight break through bounden lids — a sign
Thou hast a heart: and oft thy little leaven
Of dream-taught wisdom works me bettered years.
In one night witch, saint, trickster, fool divine,
I think thou’rt Jester at the Court of Heaven!
Famous Poems About Dreams
“The Dreams of My Heart” by Sara Teasdale
The dreams of my heart and my mind pass,
Nothing stays with me long,
But I have had from a child
The deep solace of song;
If that should ever leave me,
Let me find death and stay
With things whose tunes are played out and forgotten
Like the rain of yesterday.
“About My Dreams” by Hilda Conkling
Now the flowers are all folded
And the dark is going by.
The evening is arising…
It is time to rest.
When I am sleeping
I find my pillow full of dreams.
They are all new dreams:
No one told them to me
Before I came through the cloud.
They remember the sky, my little dreams,
They have wings, they are quick, they are sweet.
Help me tell my dreams
To the other children,
So that their bread may taste whiter,
So that the milk they drink
May make them think of meadows
In the sky of stars.
Help me give bread to the other children
So that their dreams may come back:
So they will remember what they knew
Before they came through the cloud.
Let me hold their little hands in the dark,
The lonely children,
The babies that have no mothers any more.
Dear God, let me hold up my silver cup
For them to drink,
And tell them the sweetness
Of my dreams.
“Dreams” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Dream on, for dreams are sweet:
Do not awaken!
Dream on, and at thy feet
Pomegranates shall be shaken.
Who likeneth the youth
of life to morning?
’Tis like the night in truth,
Rose-coloured dreams adorning.
The wind is soft above,
The shadows umber.
(There is a dream called Love.)
Take thou the fullest slumber!
In Lethe’s soothing stream,
Thy thirst thou slakest.
Sleep, sleep; ’tis sweet to dream.
Oh, weep then thou awakest!
“Dreams” by Walter De La Mare
Be gentle, O hands of a child;
Be true: like a shadowy sea
In the starry darkness of night
Are your eyes to me.
But words are shallow, and soon
Dreams fade that the heart once knew;
And youth fades out in the mind,
In the dark eyes too.
What can a tired heart say,
Which the wise of the world have made dumb?
Save to the lonely dreams of a child,
‘Return again, come!’
“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?
“A Dream Within a Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream:
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.
I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep
While I weep while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?
“Why Fades a Dream?” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
Why fades a dream?
An iridescent ray
Flecked in between the tryst
Of night and day.
Why fades a dream?—
Of consciousness the shade
Wrought out by lack of light and made
Upon life’s stream.
Why fades a dream?
That thought may thrive,
So fades the fleshless dream;
Lest men should learn to trust
The things that seem.
So fades a dream,
That living thought may grow
And like a waxing star-beam glow
Upon life’s stream—
So fades a dream.
“The Dreame” by John Donne
Deare love, for nothing lesse then thee
Would I have broke this happy dreame,
It was a theame
For reason, much too strong for phantasie,
Therefore thou wakd’st me wisely; yet
My Dreame thou brok’st not, but continued’st it,
Thou art so truth, that thoughts of thee suffice,
To make dreames truths; and fables histories;
Enter these armes, for since thou thoughtst it best,
Not to dreame all my dreame, let’s act the rest.
As lightning, or a Tapers light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise wak’d mee;
Yet I thought thee
(For thou lovest truth) an Angell, at first sight,
But when I saw thou sawest my heart,
And knew’st my thoughts, beyond an Angels art,
When thou knew’st what I dreamt, when thou knew’st when
Excesse of joy would wake me, and cam’st then,
I must confesse, it could not chuse but bee
Prophane, to thinke thee any thing but thee.
Comming and staying show’d thee, thee,
But rising makes me doubt, that now,
Thou art not thou.
That love is weake, where feare’s as strong as hee;
‘Tis not all spirit, pure, and brave,
If mixture it of Feare, Shame, Honor, have.
Perchance as torches which must ready bee,
Men light and put out, so thou deal’st with mee,
Thou cam’st to kindle, goest to come; Then I
Will dreame that hope againe, but else would die.
“Dreams” by Henry van Dyke
Often I dream your big blue eyes,
Though loth their meaning to confess,
Regard me with a clear surprise
Of dawning tenderness.
Often I dream you gladly hear
The words I hardly dare to breathe,—
The words that falter in their fear
To tell what throbs beneath.
Often I dream your hand in mine
Falls like a flower at eventide,
And down the path we leave a line
Of footsteps side by side.
But ah, in all my dreams of bliss,
In passion’s hunger, fever’s drouth,
I never dare to dream of this:
My lips upon your mouth.
And so I dream your big blue eyes,
That look on me with tenderness,
Grow wide, and deep, and sad, and wise,
And dim with dear distress.
Poems About Dreams in Life
“Calling Dreams” by Georgia Douglas Johnson
The right to make my dreams come true,
I ask, nay, I demand of life,
Nor shall fate’s deadly contraband
Impede my steps, nor countermand;
Too long my heart against the ground
Has beat the dusty years around,
And now at length I rise! I wake!
And stride into the morning break!
“A Dream of Life” by Samuel Griswold Goodrich
When I was young long, long ago
I dreamed myself among the flowers;
And fancy drew the picture so,
They seemed like Fairies in their bowers.
The rose was still a rose, you know
But yet a maid. What could I do?
You surely would not have me go,
When rosy maidens seem to woo?
My heart was gay, and ‘mid the throng
I sported for an hour or two;
We danced the flowery paths along,
And did as youthful lovers do.
But sports must cease, and so I dreamed
To part with these, my fairy flowers
But oh, how very hard it seemed
To say good-by ‘mid such sweet bowers!
And one fair Maid of modest air
Gazed on me with her eye of blue;
I saw the tear-drop gathering there
How could I say to her, Adieu!
I fondly gave my hand and heart,
And we were wed. Bright hour of youth!
How little did I think to part
With my sweet bride, whose name was Truth!
But time passed on, and Truth grew gray,
And chided, though with gentlest art:
I loved her, though I went astray,
And almost broke her faithful heart.
And then I left her, and in tears
These could not move my hardened breast!
I wandered, and for weary years
I sought for bliss, but found no rest.
I sought yet ever sought in vain
To find the peace, the joy of youth:
At last, I turned me back again,
And found them with my faithful Truth.
“Evening Solace” by Charlotte Brontë
The human heart has hidden treasures,
In secret kept, in silence sealed;–
The thoughts, the hopes, the dreams, the pleasures,
Whose charms were broken if revealed.
And days may pass in gay confusion,
And nights in rosy riot fly,
While, lost in Fame’s or Wealth’s illusion,
The memory of the Past may die.
But, there are hours of lonely musing,
Such as in evening silence come,
When, soft as birds their pinions closing,
The heart’s best feelings gather home.
Then in our souls there seems to languish
A tender grief that is not woe;
And thoughts that once wrung groans of anguish,
Now cause but some mild tears to flow.
And feelings, once as strong as passions,
Float softly back–a faded dream;
Our own sharp griefs and wild sensations,
The tale of others’ sufferings seem.
Oh ! when the heart is freshly bleeding,
How longs it for that time to be,
When, through the mist of years receding,
Its woes but live in reverie!
And it can dwell on moonlight glimmer,
On evening shade and loneliness;
And, while the sky grows dim and dimmer,
Feel no untold and strange distress–
Only a deeper impulse given
By lonely hour and darkened room,
To solemn thoughts that soar to heaven,
Seeking a life and world to come.
“He Had His Dream” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
He had his dream, and all through life,
Worked up to it through toil and strife.
Afloat fore’er before his eyes,
It colored for him all his skies:
The storm-cloud dark
Above his bark,
The calm and listless vault of blue
Took on its hopeful hue,
It tinctured every passing beam—
He had his dream.
He labored hard and failed at last,
His sails too weak to bear the blast,
The raging tempests tore away
And sent his beating bark astray.
But what cared he
For wind or sea!
He said, “The tempest will be short,
My bark will come to port.”
He saw through every cloud a gleam—
He had his dream.
“Mirage” by Christina Rossetti
The hope I dreamed of was a dream,
Was but a dream; and now I wake
Exceeding comfortless, and worn, and old,
For a dream’s sake.
I hang my harp upon a tree,
A weeping willow in a lake;
I hang my silenced harp there, wrung and snapt
For a dream’s sake.
Lie still, lie still, my breaking heart;
My silent heart, lie still and break:
Life, and the world, and mine own self, are changed
For a dream’s sake.
“Dream and Life” by Heinrich Heine (E. A. Bowring, Translator)
The day was glowing, my heart, too, glow’d,
In silence I bore my sorrow’s load;
When night arrived, I hastened then
To the blossoming rose in the silent glen.
I softly approach’d, and mute as the grave,
While tears my cheeks did secretly lave,
I peep’d in the cup of the rose so fair,
And lo! a bright light was glimmering there.
By the rose I joyfully fell asleep,
When a sweet mocking dream did over me creep;
The form of a rosy maid was reveal’d;
A rosy bodice her bosom conceal’d.
She gave me soon a rich golden store,
To a golden cottage the prize I bore;
Strange goings-on in the cottage I found,—
Small elves are dancing in graceful round.
Twelve dancers are dancing, and taking no rest,
And closely their hands together are press’d;
And soon as a dance has come to a close,
Another begins, and each merrily goes.
And the music they dance to thus sounds in my ear:
“The happiest of hours will ne’er reappear,
“The whole of thy life was only a dream,
“And this hour of pleasure a dream within dream.”
The dream is over, the sun is up,
I eagerly peep in the rose’s cup.
Alas! in the place of the glimmering light,
A nasty insect meets my sight.
“The Ways Are Green” by William Ernest Henley
The ways are green with the gladdening sheen
Of the young year’s fairest daughter.
O, the shadows that fleet o’er the springing wheat!
O, the magic of running water!
The spirit of spring is in every thing,
The banners of spring are streaming,
We march to a tune from the fifes of June,
And life’s a dream worth dreaming.
It’s all very well to sit and spell
At the lesson there’s no gainsaying;
But what the deuce are wont and use
When the whole mad world’s a-maying?
When the meadow glows, and the orchard snows,
And the air’s with love-motes teeming,
When fancies break, and the senses wake,
O, life’s a dream worth dreaming!
What Nature has writ with her lusty wit
Is worded so wisely and kindly
That whoever has dipped in her manuscript
Must up and follow her blindly.
Now the summer prime is her blithest rhyme
In the being and the seeming,
And they that have heard the overword
Know life’s a dream worth dreaming.
“If” by Paul Laurence Dunbar
If life were but a dream, my Love,
And death the waking time;
If day had not a beam, my Love,
And night had not a rhyme,—
A barren, barren world were this
Without one saving gleam;
I ‘d only ask that with a kiss
You ‘d wake me from the dream.
If dreaming were the sum of days,
And loving were the bane;
If battling for a wreath of bays
Could soothe a heart in pain,—
I ‘d scorn the meed of battle’s might,
All other aims above
I ‘d choose the human’s higher right,
To suffer and to love!
“Dreams” by Henry Timrod
Who first said “false as dreams”? Not one who saw
Into the wild and wondrous world they sway;
No thinker who hath read their mystic law;
No Poet who hath weaved them in his lay.
Else had he known that through the human breast
Cross and recross a thousand fleeting gleams,
That, passed unnoticed in the day’s unrest,
Come out at night, like stars, in shining dreams;
That minds too busy or too dull to mark
The dim suggestion of the noisier hours,
By dreams in the deep silence of the dark,
Are roused at midnight with their folded powers.
Like that old fount beneath Dodona’s oaks,
That, dry and voiceless in the garish noon,
When the calm night arose with modest looks,
Caught with full wave the sparkle of the moon.
If, now and then, a ghastly shape glide in,
And fright us with its horrid gloom or glee,
It is the ghost of some forgotten sin
We failed to exorcise on bended knee.
And that sweet face which only yesternight
Came to thy solace, dreamer (didst thou read
The blessing in its eyes of tearful light?),
Was but the spirit of some gentle deed.
Each has its lesson; for our dreams in sooth,
Come they in shape of demons, gods, or elves,
Are allegories with deep hearts of truth
That tell us solemn secrets of ourselves.
“To —” by Sidney Lanier
The Day was dying; his breath
Wavered away in a hectic gleam;
And I said, if Life’s a dream, and Death
And Love and all are dreams — I’ll dream.
A mist came over the bay
Like as a dream would over an eye.
The mist was white and the dream was grey
And both contained a human cry,
The burthen whereof was “Love”,
And it filled both mist and dream with pain,
And the hills below and the skies above
Were touched and uttered it back again.
The mist broke: down the rift
A kind ray shot from a holy star.
Then my dream did waver and break and lift —
Through it, O Love, shone thy face, afar.
So Boyhood sets: comes Youth,
A painful night of mists and dreams;
That broods till Love’s exquisite truth,
The star of a morn-clear manhood, beams.