Sonnet - to Science

Poe, Edgar Allan

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Sonnet

Annotated by:
Moore, Pamela
  • Date of entry: Feb-22-1999
  • Last revised: Jan-09-2007


Poe asks why science preys on the poet. Science is peering, destructive and interested only in cold realities. It will not allow the poet to soar in fantasy or even to sit peacefully dreaming beneath a tree.


The poem has two primary, linked interpretations. According to the first, science is "bad," destroying man’s ability to dream. It reduces everything to observable facts. The second interpretation is guided by Poe’s works as a whole. Poe believed that poetry or fantasy was not in opposition to science and its reading of reality. Rather, poetry uncovered another level of reality. Science is one way to find one kind of truth; fantasy is a way to find a different kind of truth that has as much claim to reality as scientific fact.


First published: 1830

Primary Source

Selected Writings of Edgar Allan Poe


Houghton Mifflin

Place Published





Edward H. Davidson