The World Of Dreams In Algernon Charles Swinburne's A Ballad Of Dreamland

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Algernon Charles Swinburne’s poem, “A Ballad of Dreamland” presents the world of dreams as an escape from the sadness of his real life. The poem begins with the speaker describing the lengths to which he would go to hide his heart from the world. The speaker goes on to show his appreciation for dreams as they allow him to avoid the pain of life and love, at least temporarily. The speaker acknowledges, at the end of every stanza, that something always manages to force him out of his dreams without his consent. Swinburne uses imagery to paint the world of dreams as safe and beautiful. The language makes it seem as though dreams are home to a certain magic that the real world lacks. He uses nature as a way for the audience to relate the beauty…show more content…
Here, there is a shift in the narrative from descriptions of the speaker’s dreamland to a description of what the speaker feels is his role in his dreams. In the first line of the envoi, the speaker says that “in the world of dreams [he has] chosen [his] part” (25). The use of the word “chosen” is especially significant because it asserts the fact that the speaker feels as though the only place that he has a choice in who he is and how he feels is in his dreams. The speaker goes on to say that he has chosen “to sleep for a season and hear no word / of true love’s truth or of light love’s art” (26-27). While love is often portrayed, especially in poetry, as the ultimate source of happiness, the speaker has clearly been hurt by someone he loved in the past and is now wary of love and will take to sleeping for as long as he can to avoid falling in love. The poem closes with the line “only the song of a secret bird” (28). The speaker simply cannot ignore the voice of his “secret bird,” who is proved throughout the poem to be the only force that can pull him out of his dreamland and bring him back to reality, despite his desperate attempts to protect himself and his
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