For the vivid dream experience about awakening from sleep, see False awakening.
"A Dream Within a Dream" is a poem written by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in 1849. The poem is 24 lines, divided into two stanzas. The poem questions the way one can distinguish between reality and fantasy, asking, "Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?"
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The poem was first published in the March 31, 1849 edition of a Boston-based periodical called Flag of Our Union. The same publication had only two weeks before first published Poe's short story "Hop-Frog." The next month, owner Frederick Gleason announced it could no longer pay for whatever articles and poems it published.
Picnic at Hanging Rock, a story about a group of girls disappearing while on a field trip to a rock formation in the early 20th century, begins with a voice over that states "What we see and what we seem is but a dream. A dream within a dream". This line thereby becomes the mantra of the movie, and sticks with the viewer throughout