Edward Fitzgerald

(31 March 1809 – 14 June 1883 / Suffolk / England)

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The Dream Called Life


From the Spanish of Pedro Calderon de la Barca


A dream it was in which I found myself.
And you that hail me now, then hailed me king,
In a brave palace that was all my own,
Within, and all without it, mine; until,
Drunk with excess of majesty and pride,
Methought I towered so big and swelled so wide
That of myself I burst the glittering bubble
Which my ambition had about me blown,
And all again was darkness. Such a dream
As this, in which I may be walking now,
Dispensing solemn justice to you shadows,
Who make believe to listen; but anon
Kings, princes, captains, warriors, plume and steel,
Aye, even with all your airy theatre,
May flit into the air you seem to rend
With acclamations, leaving me to wake
In the dark tower; or dreaming that I wake
From this that waking is; or this and that,
Both waking and both dreaming; such a doubt
Confounds and clouds our moral life about.
But whether wake or dreaming, this I know,
How dreamwise human glories come and go;
Whose momentary tenure not to break,
Walking as one who knows he soon may wake,
So fairly carry the full cup, so well
Disordered insolence and passion quell,
That there be nothing after to upbraid
Dreamer or doer in the part he played;
Whether tomorrow's dawn shall break the spell,
Or the last trumpet of the Eternal Day,
When dreaming, with the night, shall pass away.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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  • Herman Chiu (11/15/2009 2:01:00 PM)

    Wonderful poem!
    Reading this is like revisiting my past dreams, and my present clarity of being 'awake'. (Report) Reply

  • quercus : I've never got paid for my hits... (11/13/2009 11:27:00 AM)

    I read it three years ago and still think it's beautifully written, but reading it this time awakes in me different feelings...
    After few years of dreaming you reach a certain level of consciousness which allows you to see things clearly, the way they actualy are, the shape they are likely to form into, the consequences of every move either forced by third party interference, planned or played by ear… Dreams get born in our minds and hearts; some of us manage to lift the hard and heavy reality rock and move it to a desired point no matter how distant it seems, some let it slip out their hands for various reasons… Loosing a dream can be compared to awakening, or being reasonable in judging your own chances, or simply discovering the true colours of the destination you chose - learning you’ve chased an illusion… (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (11/13/2009 12:49:00 AM)

    A wonderful bliss of life to dream about is wonderfully expressed by Fitzgerald! A very nice poem to read and enjoy here! (Report) Reply

  • quercus : I've never got paid for my hits... (11/13/2006 2:15:00 PM)

    This is awesome, though a bit sad. Yes life is like a dream that passes away at some point. Shouldn’t we stop worrying about the past and live with this what's still to come and make it to be a wonderful dream, then? (Report) Reply

Read all 8 comments »

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