Dear love, for nothing less than thee
Would I have broke this happy dream;
It was a theme
For reason, much too strong for phantasy:
Therefore thou waked’st me wisely; yet
My dream thou brok’st not, but continued’st it.
Thou art so truth 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 lov’st truth) an angel at first sight;
But when I saw thou saw’st my heart,
And knew’st my thoughts, beyond an angels art,
When thou knew’st what I dreamt, when thou knew’st when
Excess of joy would wake me, and cam’st then,
I must confess it could not choose but be
Prophane to think thee anything but thee.
Comming and staying showed 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 cam’st to kindle, go’st to come; Then I
Will dream that hope again, but else would die.
Short Poem Analysis
"The Dream" by John Donne is a metaphysical poem that explores themes of love, desire, and the elusive nature of reality. Through its intricate language and clever use of conceits, the poem delves into the complex and paradoxical aspects of human emotions and experiences.
The poem opens with the speaker recounting a dream in which he is reunited with his lover, his "beloved." In the dream, their love is passionate and intense, and they experience a deep sense of connection.
Donne uses vivid and sensory imagery to describe the dream, emphasizing the physical and emotional aspects of the encounter. The lovers' embrace is depicted as "whispering, and reciprocal kiss," highlighting the intimacy and intensity of their love.
However, the poem takes an unexpected turn as the speaker awakens from the dream. He realizes that the passionate and vivid love he experienced in the dream is fleeting and illusory, describing it as "false, untrue." This awakening to reality creates a sense of disillusionment and disappointment.
The poem's central theme revolves around the idea that dreams and reality are often at odds with each other. It explores the dichotomy between the idealized, dreamlike version of love and the more complex and imperfect reality of human relationships.
Donne employs metaphysical conceits, such as the comparison of love to a "papal state" or a "Saint Peter's chair," to create intellectual and emotional depth in the poem. These conceits add complexity to the poem's exploration of love and desire.
The poem's tone is contemplative and introspective, and it conveys a sense of ambivalence and uncertainty about the nature of love and reality.
"The Dream" by John Donne is a metaphysical exploration of the contrast between the idealized world of dreams and the imperfect reality of human emotions. It challenges traditional notions of love and desire by highlighting the transient and illusory nature of passionate love experiences. The poem invites readers to consider the complexities of human emotions and the often paradoxical nature of love and desire.