Beautiful Dreamer

“Beautiful Dreamer” is one of Stephen Foster’s most memorable ballads. It was written at least six months before his death, when he was destitute and in poor health, and surviving by selling (at extremely cheap rates) songs written in haste. With its lilting triplet rhythm, “Beautiful Dreamer” exemplifies Foster's final sentiments and has become one of America's most beloved serenades.

Date: 1864Composer: Stephen FosterText: Stephen Foster

Print vitals & song text




    For his songs composed after 1860, Foster turned his creative energy to the parlor ballad, a type of song noted for its sentimental or narrative text, frequently at a slow tempo. The subjects of Foster’s ballads were relatively free of minstrel-song influences, and centered on topics devoid of southern themes, such as mother, love, and home.

    –Library of Congress


    Beautiful Dreamer

    Beautiful Dreamer
    by Stephen Foster

    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 chaunting 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!

    Photo: Beautiful dreamer / Currier and Ives, [between 1856 and 1907]. Prints and Photographs Reading Room, Library of Congress.

    Related Information


    Sheet Music

    IMSLP: Beautiful Dreamer

    Composer(s): Stephen Foster

    Free Sheet Music on IMSLP

    Songs of Stephen Foster

    Composer(s): Stephen Foster

    Buy via Hal Leonard

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