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The Dream by John Donne


"The Dream" is a poem written by John Donne. This is a poem about a dream which Donne had. He was greatly in love, but when he awoke he was still in great love. However, he realized that love is not without pain and fear. Nonetheless, those feelings will not break his spirit and he will continue to dream of how great love is and can be.

"The Dream" is a two stanza poem with twenty lines in the first and ten in the second. The rhyme structure is ABBACCDDFFGAAGHHIIAA. However, a couple of those are actually imperfect rhymes (suffice and histories, for example). ABBACCAADD is the rhyme structure for the second stanza (again, imperfect rhymes).


The Dream

Dear love, for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream;
It was a theme
For reason, much too strong for fantasy.
Therefore thou waked'st me wisely; yet
My dream thou brokest not, but continued'st it.
Thou art so true that thoughts of thee suffice
To make dreams truths, and fables histories;
Enter these arms, for since thou thought'st it best,
Not to dream all my dream, let's act the rest.
As lightning, or a taper's light,
Thine eyes, and not thy noise waked me;
Yet I thought thee
—For thou lovest truth—an angel, at first sight;
But when I saw thou saw'st my heart,
And knew'st my thoughts beyond an angel's art,
When thou knew'st what I dreamt, when thou knew'st when
Excess of joy would wake me, and camest then,
I must confess, it could not choose but be
Profane, to think thee any thing but thee.

Coming and staying show'd thee, thee,
But rising makes me doubt, that now
Thou art not thou.
That love is weak where fear's as strong as he;
'Tis not all spirit, pure and brave,
If mixture it of fear, shame, honour have;
Perchance as torches, which must ready be,
Men light and put out, so thou deal'st with me;
Thou camest to kindle, go'st to come; then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.

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