Beautiful Dreamer

Words & Music by Stephen Foster

“Then will all clouds of sorrow depart….”

Noah Brooks

The great American composer Stephen Foster, broke and living on the Bowery, died in a poverty ward at Bellevue Hospital in New York City in 1864. This signature song of his was first published shortly afterwards, though it had apparently kicked around the publisher’s office for a couple of years. Though not usually associated with the war, the song accompanies a young soldier’s morphine-dulled description of his battlefield amputation and his fevered vision of the angel of mercy who nurses him.


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 passed 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 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!

Song Excerpt

Listen to “Beautiful Dreamer” performed by Donna Lynne Champlin and Don Burroughs of the original New York cast.

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