Edgar Allan Poe – Imitation

— — —
A dark unfathom’d tide
Of interminable pride —
A mystery, and a dream,
Should my early life seem…”
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“Imitation” is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe. It was first published in June or July of 1827 as part of Tamerlane and Other Poems. It was reprinted many times, as “Imitation” as well as “A Dream Within a Dream”, “Is It But A Dream?”, and “To — –“.

The poem was heavily revised over Poe’s lifetime, and this page features versions of all three as they have significant differences between them.

This article features a complete, embedded, mobile-friendly version of “Imitation, “To — –“, and “A Dream Within A Dream” by Edgar Allan Poe as well as a text version below.

Imitation – PDF

A PDF copy of “Imitation” can be downloaded using the menu in the app below.

Imitation – Mobile Friendly

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Edgar Allan Poe

— — —

A dark unfathom’d tide
Of interminable pride —
A mystery, and a dream,
Should my early life seem;
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 of my spirit;
Those thoughts I would 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 sigh as it pass’d on,
I care not tho’ it perish
With a thought I then did cherish.

To — —


Should my early life seem,
[As well it might] a dream —
Yet I build no faith upon
The king Napoleon —
I look not up afar
To my destiny in a star:


In parting from you now
Thus much I will avow —
There are beings, and have been
Whom my spirit had not seen
Had I let them pass me by
With a dreaming eye —
If my peace hath fled away
In a night — or in a day —
In a vision — or in none —
Is it the less gone? —


I am standing ‘mid the roar
Of a weather-beaten shore,
And I hold within my hand
Some particles of sand —
How few! and how they creep
Thro’ my fingers to the deep!
My early hopes? no — the
Went gloriously away,
Like lightning from the sky
At once — and so will I.


So young? ah! no — not now —
Thou hast not seen my brow,
But they tell thee I am proud —
They lie — they lie aloud —
My bosom beats with shame
At the paltriness of name
With which they dare combine
A feeling such as mine —
Nor Stoic? I am not:
In the terror of my lot
I laugh to think how poor
That pleasure “to endure!”
What! shade of Zeno! — I!
Endure! — no — no — defy.

A Dream Within A Dream

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?