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]

1.
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!

2.
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