Written in 1849, the year of Edgar Allan Poe’s death, “A Dream Within a Dream” is a lyric poem that features a speaker who’s growing increasingly uncertain about the nature of reality. The poem contains two stanzas. In the first stanza, the speaker addresses an unnamed “you,” kissing them goodbye and conceding that they were right to say that the speaker lives their life as if in a dream. The speaker goes on to assert, with apparent confidence, that all of reality is no more that “a dream within a dream” (line 11). The scene shifts dramatically in the second stanza. The speaker now stands alone on a “surf-tormented shore” (line 13), crying out desperately to God as handfuls of sand keep slipping through their fingers. By poem’s end, the speaker feels much less certain regarding their earlier position about reality and clearly wants to believe that not everything is but a dream. The speaker’s growing mental imbalance is reflected in the poem’s formal features, such as the uneven split of the poem’s twenty-four lines into one 11-line stanza and one 13-line stanza. Poe also strategically disrupts the poem’s otherwise orderly rhyme scheme in ways that underscore the speaker’s sense of disorder.