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by Edgar Allan Poe

Sound Check

Read this poem aloud. What do you hear?

Readers beware! We think this whole poem sounds like a hypnotist's spell. The rhythm of the lines – coming in short little pulses – rocks you back and forth. In a way, the rhyming makes "Dream-Land" seem like a lullaby, but the words sound so dark and mysterious that you can't imagine them being said in a loving way. They come out in a hissing whisper. Just try saying these lines out loud: "Their still waters – still and chilly/ With the snows of the lolling lily" (20). Do you hear that repetitive, slightly creepy patter? The soothing, scary rhythm starts to really pop out. "Murmuring lowly, murmuring ever" (26) and then…wham, you're hypnotized.

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