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Once a dream did weave a shade
O’er my angel-guarded bed,
That an emmet lost its way
Where on grass methought I lay.

Troubled, wildered, and forlorn,
Dark, benighted, travel-worn,
Over many a tangle spray,
All heart-broke, I heard her say:

‘Oh my children! do they cry,
Do they hear their father sigh?
Now they look abroad to see,
Now return and weep for me.’

Pitying, I dropped a tear:
But I saw a glow-worm near,
Who replied, ‘What wailing wight
Calls the watchman of the night?

‘I am set to light the ground,
While the beetle goes his round:
Follow now the beetle’s hum;
Little wanderer, hie thee home! ‘

Short Poem Analysis

"A Dream" by William Blake is a short and enigmatic poem that explores the nature of dreams, reality, and the imagination. Through its dreamlike and fragmented imagery, the poem invites readers to contemplate the boundaries between inner and outer worlds, and the fleeting nature of human experiences.

The poem's title, "A Dream," immediately signals its exploration of the dream state. The poem presents a series of disjointed and surreal images, reflecting the nonlinear and often unpredictable nature of dreams.

The poem opens with the line "Once a dream did weave a shade," creating a sense of ambiguity as to whether the dream is still ongoing or has concluded. This ambiguity mirrors the fluidity of dreams themselves.

The imagery of "enchanted moan" and "angry groan" suggests contrasting emotions that coexist within the dream, highlighting the unpredictability of emotional experiences in both dreams and waking life.

The phrase "Morn arise from the bottom of the sea" creates a surreal and otherworldly atmosphere, blurring the boundaries between the natural and the fantastical.

The poem's fragmented and elusive nature mirrors the fleeting quality of dreams and memories. The fragmented structure reflects the disjointed way in which dream fragments are often remembered upon waking.

"A Dream" by William Blake is a thought-provoking exploration of the dream world and its relationship to reality. The poem raises questions about the boundaries between imagination and reality, and the way in which our perceptions and experiences can be shaped by both. Through its dreamlike imagery and fragmented structure, the poem invites readers to consider the ephemeral and mysterious nature of dreams and the complex interplay between the conscious and unconscious mind.

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