When we say life is but a dream, we mean that life is fleeting and uncertain, but it is what we make of it.
Unlike many children’s nursery rhymes, that often have a dark meaning, this line from Row, Row, Row Your Boat (thought to be from as early as 1852) is actually pretty optimistic:
Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.
It is thought that the ‘but’ means ‘just’, ‘only’ or ‘simply’…. a dream.
So, life is a dream.
If you’re rowing your boat (living your life) gently down the stream (going with the flow), you can be merry (happy, grateful, appreciative), because life really is a dream (it’s amazing and what you’ve dreamed of).
The following collection of quotes are all about this concept – that life is an amazing adventure, full of opportunities and wonder:
Life Is But A Dream Quotes
“Life itself is only a vision, a dream. Nothing exists; all is a dream. God–man–the world–the sun, the moon, the wilderness of stars – a dream, all a dream; they have no existence. Nothing exists save empty space – and you!” Mark Twain
“Life is but a dream, within a dream.” William Shakespeare
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” Henry David Thoreau
“Life is short, and it is up to you to make it sweet.” Sarah Louise Delany
“I think being in love with life is a key to eternal youth.” Doug Hutchison
“The permanent temptation of life is to confuse dreams with reality. The permanent defeat of life comes when dreams are surrendered to reality.” James A. Michener
“You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Walter Hagen
“A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.” Charles Darwin
“I think our lives are surely but the dreams
Of spirits, dwelling in the distant spheres,
Who as we die, do one by one awake.” Edgar Saltus
“Life is a game, play it… Life is too precious, do not destroy it.” Mother Teresa
“Find ecstasy in life; the mere sense of living is joy enough.” Emily Dickinson
“What is life? A madness. What is life? An illusion, a shadow, a story. And the greatest good is little enough: for all life is a dream and dreams themselves are only dreams.” Pedro Calderon de la Barca
“The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” Oprah Winfrey
“Life is a dream so dream big!” Debasish Mridha
“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“You see things; and you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say, ‘Why not?” George Bernard Shaw
“Life is good for dreamers, if you are awake you’re missing on some great fun.” Bangambiki Habyarimana
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein
“If life were predictable it would cease to be life, and be without flavor.” Eleanor Roosevelt
“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.” Oprah Winfrey
“Life is a dream from which we all must wake before we can dream again.” Robert Jordan
“Life is an opportunity, benefit from it.
Life is beauty, admire it.
Life is a dream, realize it.” Mother Teresa
“Death is an illusion; life is a dream and you are the creator of your own imagination.” LJ Vanier
“Every great dream begins with a dreamer.” Harriet Tubman
“The most important thing is to enjoy your life—to be happy—it’s all that matters.” Audrey Hepburn
“We are asleep. Our Life is a dream. But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.” Ludwig Wittgenstein
“Life is fundamentally a mental state. We live in a dream world that we create. Whose life is truer, the rational man of action pursuing practical goals of personal happiness and wealth or the philosophic man who lives in a world of theoretical and metaphysical ideas? We ascribe the value quotient to our lives by making decisions that we score as either valid or invalid based upon our personal ethics and how we think and behave.” Kilroy J. Oldster
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep.” William Shakespeare
“If you can dream it, you can do it. Your limits are all within yourself.” Brian Tracy
“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” Victor Hugo
“Life is a challenge, meet it! Life is a dream, realize it! Life is a game, play it! Life is love, enjoy it!” Sathya Sai Baba
“Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.” Joy Page
“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” James Dean
Interested in more inspiring life quotes? Then check out:
- Quotes About Imagination, Inspiration & Possibilities
- Living Your Best Life Quotes & Inspiring Sayings
- Infinite Possibilities Quotes & 40 Sayings That Inspire Limitless Potential
- Quotes About Vision – For Focus, Direction & Purpose
- Synchronicity Quotes (Inspired Messages & Meaningful Nudges)
- 6 Inspirational Poems About Achieving Your Dreams