Beautiful Dreamer

"Beautiful Dreamer" is a parlor song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864). It was published posthumously in March 1864 by Wm. A. Pond & Co. of New York. The first edition declares on the title page that "Beautiful Dreamer" is "the last song ever written by Stephen C. Foster. Composed but a few days prior to his death." Carol Kimball, the author of Song, points out however that the copyright date on the first edition is 1862, and this suggests, she writes, that the song was composed and readied for publication two years before Foster's death. There are at least 20-odd songs, she observes, that all claim to be Foster's last, and it is unknown which is indeed his last. The song is set in a 9/8 rhythm with a broken chord accompaniment.

The song tells of a lover serenading a "Beautiful Dreamer", who is oblivious to all worldly cares and may actually be dead. Foster's work features many dead young women including Annie, Laura Lee, 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."

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Famous quotes containing the words beautiful and/or dreamer:

    Yes, though you may think me perverse, if it were proposed to me to dwell in the neighborhood of the most beautiful garden that ever human art contrived, or else of a Dismal Swamp, I should certainly decide for the swamp.
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    Dream is not a revelation. If a dream affords the dreamer some light on himself, it is not the person with closed eyes who makes the discovery but the person with open eyes lucid enough to fit thoughts together. Dream—a scintillating mirage surrounded by shadows—is essentially poetry.
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