Beautiful Dreamer

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"Beautiful Dreamer" is a song by Stephen Foster written about 1862. It was first published (posthumously) in 1864 by William A. Pond & Co. It has been promoted as Foster's last song, but that distinction cannot be confirmed. It is similar in some respects to his first published song, "Open They Lattice, Love". Both have a triple rhythm and share imagery of the sea and marine life.[1]

The arpeggiated accompaniment recalls bel canto opera. The dreamer in this song is either asleep or dead. The song does not distinguish. It is a song though about dissolution — of melting, of dissolving, of vanishing into mists, and, finally into death.[2] The song is not held in the highest esteem by some musicologists and has been described by one as "saccharine" and "[smacking] somewhat of the idiom of Irving Berlin."[3]

Lyrics[change | change source]

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 lorelei;
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!

Notes[change | change source]

  1. Emerson 1997, pp. 280-281.
  2. Emerson 1997, pp. 280-218.
  3. Howard 1935, p. 332.

References[change | change source]

  • Emerson, Ken (1997), Doo dah! Stephen foster and the rise of American popular culture, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-684-81010-7
  • Howard, John Tasker (1935), Stephen Foster, America's Troubadour, New York: Tudor Publishing Company