Edgar Allan Poe

(19 January 1809 - 7 October 1849 / Boston)

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Dreamland


By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have reached these lands but newly
From an ultimate dim Thule-
From a wild clime that lieth, sublime,
Out of SPACE- out of TIME.

Bottomless vales and boundless floods,
And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
With forms that no man can discover
For the tears that drip all over;
Mountains toppling evermore
Into seas without a shore;
Seas that restlessly aspire,
Surging, unto skies of fire;
Lakes that endlessly outspread
Their lone waters- lone and dead,-
Their still waters- still and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily.

By the lakes that thus outspread
Their lone waters, lone and dead,-
Their sad waters, sad and chilly
With the snows of the lolling lily,-
By the mountains- near the river
Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever,-
By the grey woods,- by the swamp
Where the toad and the newt encamp-
By the dismal tarns and pools
Where dwell the Ghouls,-
By each spot the most unholy-
In each nook most melancholy-
There the traveller meets aghast
Sheeted Memories of the Past-
Shrouded forms that start and sigh
As they pass the wanderer by-
White-robed forms of friends long given,
In agony, to the Earth- and Heaven.

For the heart whose woes are legion
'Tis a peaceful, soothing region-
For the spirit that walks in shadow
'Tis- oh, 'tis an Eldorado!
But the traveller, travelling through it,
May not- dare not openly view it!
Never its mysteries are exposed
To the weak human eye unclosed;
So wills its King, who hath forbid
The uplifting of the fringed lid;
And thus the sad Soul that here passes
Beholds it but through darkened glasses.

By a route obscure and lonely,
Haunted by ill angels only,
Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
On a black throne reigns upright,
I have wandered home but newly
From this ultimate dim Thule.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002

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  • Freshman - 1,792 Points Savita Tyagi (7/1/2014 9:53:00 AM)

    Superb read. Dreamland is a world where any thing is possible and poetry is of words expressing it most effectively. it's a delight to go into Poe's world with his wonderful imagination. (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,232 Points Patricia Grantham (7/1/2014 7:50:00 AM)

    A very deep and haunting poem by Poe. The darknesss of
    night and its gloominess brings out the poetic skills of this
    master poet. I love the line haunted by ill Angels only. No goodness
    is found there. One of his greatest. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 697 Points Herbert Guitang (4/26/2014 1:05:00 PM)

    In the shadows of life, there are many obscurites. Perfect to see his talented skill.
    Really a Poet Master (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 697 Points Andrei-sorin Ovezea (11/18/2013 3:51:00 AM)

    I recommend to you Sopor Aeternus & The Ensemble of Shadows, a neo-classical artist that freshly released their new album called POETICA-All Beauty Slleps, which includes all mainstream poems of EDGAR ALLAN POE.Beautiful soundtrack for beautiful poetry.Check it ;) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 697 Points Jacob Bearer (7/2/2012 7:27:00 PM)

    This poem seems to parallel other poems about the dark night of the soul in a unique way - either intentionally or unintentionally - esp. those poems by John of the Cross. The versus that really speak to me are as follows: May not- dare not openly view it! / Never its mysteries are exposed / To the weak human eye unclosed; / So wills its King, who hath forbid / The uplifting of the fringed lid; / And thus the sad Soul that here passes / Beholds it but through darkened glasses. It reminds me of John of the Cross' belief that the surest route to union with God comes in faith; faith beholds dimly what opened eyes cannot see. Faith attaches itself to a dream, so to speak, and moves the traveler on this pilgrimage through life, towards what is hoped for; but to view that Land is to see - and faith will disappear (hence, the poems overtones of death: once we die we will see clearly the solid gold that underlies Reality) . And, I think Poe understands the sadness of faith - which may seem an irony to some - that realizes that as long as we are aspiring for a shore and surging to fires in the sky, like the sea in this poem by Poe, we have not yet reach the End; until the End, we remain, as it were, in a valley of tears. Yet, even in the sadness there is hope, NIGHT means hope, because night means that the light is coming soon. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 697 Points Terence George Craddock (7/1/2012 11:37:00 PM)

    To really appreciate ‘Dreamland’ by Edgar Allan Poe, it is necessary to get into Poe's mind and read the poem several times, with an imagination that has rewritten laws of nature and physics, because the landscape is a dreamscape. We must go through the looking glass and recreate images in a dreamland which like dreams must defy logic. Poe clearly states in the title that this is not a real place of this world but a dreamland. Poe declares ‘I have reached these lands but newly’, ‘By a route obscure and lonely, /
    Haunted by ill angels only, ’ therefore immediately Poe is building on his wandering this dreamscape, in which he has just arrived; which is emphasized to be ‘Out of SPACE- out of TIME.’
    Most people would confirm in dreams there are ‘forms that no man can discover’ and in stress dreams it is possible to fall into ‘Bottomless vales and (be swallowed by) boundless floods. Even in real nature a mist can make a vale bottomless, a vast flood can seem boundless and high cliffs plunging directly into the sea do not have a shore; a shore commonly being recognized as a strip of land such as a beach, the fringe of land which exists beside lakes without cliffs. Poe may have imprinted the familiar American great lakes into this poem, ‘Lakes that endlessly outspread/ Their lone waters- lone and dead, -’ seems to indeed describe lakes like Lake Superior, in the dead of winter, ‘Their still waters- still and chilly’.
    In dreams time can seem suspended eternal, some earthquakes also produce a timeless fear effect; thus ‘Mountains toppling evermore’ is a realistic nightmare image. Images of a ‘sad Soul’ with dark soulless eyes like ‘darkened glasses’ is wonderfully easy to imagine, and this seems key to this poem, an imagination is necessary to perhaps understand and enjoy an imagery ‘Out of SPACE- out of TIME.’ An appreciation of nature can teach us to enjoy images we cannot always scientifically understand, imagination and responses of the heart, unlock unique such images. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 689 Points Hans Vr (7/1/2011 7:48:00 AM)

    Words that are written in a similar way do not necessarily rhyme
    Examples:
    Floods and woods
    discover and over neither
    swamp and camp? (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,178 Points Lawrence S. Pertillar (7/1/2010 7:53:00 PM)

    Poe is a fantastic writer. He depicts exactly what his poems are about by use
    of the title. 'Dreamland'...By a route obscure and lonely,
    Haunted by ill angels only...and from there, we journey through Poe's world.
    Metered in a reminiscing of The Raven. A style that IS Poe. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 12 Points Alek Lenth (7/1/2010 3:08:00 PM)

    If a white lily were to droop and lose its petals, it would both be lolling and snowing, respectively. I also think this image serves as a strong foil in juxtaposition with the erect eidolon and perhaps the falling tears and mountains. I actually find this image to be very important to the poem. Poe here makes the images flow into each other, an effect which seems deliberate since it goes along with the dual nature of dreams presented.

    Beyond that... you should remember the title and pay attention to the first stanza, the terrain features are the terrain of a dream. This is especially emphasized by the reference to the imaginary island/continent of Thule...Any critique of the logic of the geography found in it is an utter tautology: you might as well state dreams aren't real...something of which most -I assure you- are quite aware. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 315 Points Juan Olivarez (7/1/2010 10:34:00 AM)

    You can't criticize the master without seeming petty and obnoxious. This is a great work, there are obvious flaws in the moon and stars and nobody criticizes their maker. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 315 Points Kevin Straw (7/1/2010 6:07:00 AM)

    “And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods,
    With forms that no man can discover.”

    How can man know forms that he cannot discover?

    “Bottomless vales and boundless floods…”

    If a vale is a vale then it is not bottomless – ditto floods cannot be boundless.

    “For the tears that drip all over…”

    Oh dear! “Drip” is wrong; “over” is there just for the rhyme.

    “Mountains toppling evermore
    Into seas without a shore…”

    If there are mountains there is a shore.

    “With the snows of the lolling lily...”

    The lily is not snow nor does it “loll”.

    “And thus the sad Soul that here passes
    Beholds it but through darkened glasses.”

    The idea of the sad Soul with a pair of dark glasses is quite bizarre.

    “By the mountains- near the river
    Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever…”

    Adds nothing to the atmosphere – it’s what all rivers do.

    “By the grey woods, - by the swamp
    Where the toad and the newt encamp…”

    I cannot get out of my mind little toads and newts, a la Wind in the Willows, squatting in tents.

    “Where an Eidolon, named NIGHT,
    On a black throne reigns upright…”

    It should be uprightly, but it would spoil the rhyme. The image as it stands could be of an Eidolon sitting ramrod like on its (his?) throne. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Ramesh T A (7/1/2010 2:21:00 AM)

    Classical description of Night atmosphere is very well expressed by master of mystery! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Angela Hoffman (6/15/2010 6:45:00 PM)

    I adore this piece of his work. It's so descriptive and vivid; I can easily picture everything that he wrote. (By the way, Sergio Contreras, if you think poetry is 'hella gay', then why the hell are you on this website? Oh, and check you spelling AND grammar.) (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Anthony Foster (7/1/2009 5:11:00 PM)

    The horror of a nightmare O such fear,
    To awake in such sweet relief that its just a dream,
    O no banish the fear of sleep lest I dream,
    Just give me a talent of rhyme such as yours. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Michael Pruchnicki (7/1/2009 2:05:00 PM)

    The speaker in DREAMLAND invites us on a tour of 'ultimate dim Thule' by way of the phantom guide who leads us into the domain of NIGHT, which we reach by 'a route obscure and lonely'! In other words, we fall asleep and dream about the dim images that come out of our unconscious. Like most dreams, we understand the images we see and the 'Sheeted Memories of the Past' through darkened glasses - we see things not as they are in waking life, but imperfectly and with eyelids shut. Truly, dreams are 'Out of space - out of Time'! Everything is ruled by the phantom King of NIGHT! Like Dante descending into Hades, we are confused and have little understanding at first, but gradually upon awakening, the dreamer realizes that he has been granted entry to Eldorado, a place rich in golden imagery that he can make use of in his poetry.

    Respect the poet and trust his insight if you wish to understand the poem. Dante came back from his imaginary journey through Hades and Purgatory aware of his own shortcomings to achieve salvation in Paradise, Poe does it in shorter length but with the same valiant spirit! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Michael Harmon (7/1/2009 12:22:00 PM)

    Poe was an important American writer. Please be assured I believe that. He rightfully belongs in anthologies, and deserves to be remembered. As with many teenagers, I loved Poe and was enthralled with his poems and stories.

    Today, I still admire his stories, his philosophy of poetry, and a couple of his poems ('To Helen', 'The Raven', and perhaps another) . He was an immature person who chose, in some ways, to lead a tragic life. And though he may still influence my work somehow, I have decided to leave his poetry behind, and do not consciously use him as a poetic model. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 147 Points Kevin Straw (7/1/2009 4:50:00 AM)

    “route” implies a mapped way to somewhere – does this not conflict with “obscure, and lonely”?
    “And chasms, and caves, and Titan woods, ” = does he need the “and” repeated here?
    “For the tears that drip all over…” Is this not a bit comical?
    “the lolling lily” – lilies do not “loll” – Poe has got the “ll”” in “still and chilly” fixed in his mind and is reluctant to let it go.
    I wonder is there is any point in the repetition of “There lone waters…lolling lily…”?
    “And thus the sad Soul that here passes/Beholds it but through darkened glasses.” – I do not like “darkened glasses – too mundane an image –would not the lines read better as: “And thus the sad Souls that here pass/Behold it but through darkened glass.” – thus reminding one of St Pauls “Through a glass darkly”? (Report) Reply

Read all 23 comments »

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