Beautiful Dreamer - Stephen Foster

Beautiful Dreamer
(Stephen Foster)

Beautiful Dreamer Stephen Foster
by Stephen Foster

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Beautiful Dreamer ” is a parlor song by American songwriter Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published posthumously in March 1864, by Wm. A. Pond & Co. of New York. The first edition states on its title page that it is “the last song ever written by Stephen C. Foster. Composed but a few days prior to his death.” However, Carol Kimball, the author of Song, points out that the first edition’s copyright is dated 1862, which suggests, she writes, that the song was composed and readied for publication two years before Foster’s death. There are at least 20 songs, she observes, that claim to be Foster’s last, and it is unknown which is indeed his last. The song tells of a lover serenading a “Beautiful Dreamer” who is oblivious to worldly cares and may actually be dead. Foster’s works feature many dead young women, including his sister Charlotte and “Jeanie”. Helen Lightner writes, “This sentimental ballad is folk-like in character with its repetitious but lovely melody and its basic harmonic accompaniment … The quiet and calm of this mood is portrayed by the monotony of the arpeggiated accompaniment, by the repetitiveness of the melodic pattern, and by the strophic form itself.”

Lyrics (English)

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lull’d by the moonlight have all pass’d away!
Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo thee with soft melody;
Gone are the cares of life’s busy throng,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Mermaids are chanting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at…
Beautiful dreamer, out on the sea
Mermaids are chanting the wild lorelie;
Over the streamlet vapors are borne,
Waiting to fade at the bright coming morn.
Beautiful dreamer, beam on my heart,
E’en as the morn on the streamlet and sea;
Then will all clouds of sorrow depart,
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!

Songwriters: STEPHEN FOSTER