There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hopes apart
As they turn your dreams to shame

He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came

And I still dream he'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather!

I had a dream my life would be
So different from this hell I'm living
So different now, from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed

Lyrics submitted by fallacies

I Dreamed A Dream Lyrics as written by Claude Michel Schonberg Alain Albert Boublil

Lyrics © Warner Chappell Music, Inc.

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I Dreamed A Dream song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentYeah, the last line really gets your attention.

    BTW, isn't "Les Miserables" French?

    Kiwiddon June 20, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Comment@Kunsan

    I'm only 14 years old, but this is how I perceive the line:

    "I had a dream my life would be
    So different from this hell I'm living
    So different now from what it seemed
    Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."

    When she sings "So different now from what it seemed" she means that when she was younger the thought world was a kind, happy place of dreams and she thought when she grew up her life would be perfect, but now that she's older the world is a much darker, sadder place than she thought, and her life is very different to what it seemed to be when she was younger.
    She dreamed (or wished) that her life would be wonderful and happy when she was older, but as she grew up her life got harder.
    When she finishes with "Now life has killed the dream I dreamed." She means that things didn't work out how she'd wanted them to, and instead of living her dream, her real, sad life proved to her that she would never have her dream.

    I could be wrong, but that's what it means to me. Hope it kind of helped!

    It's such a sad song, and a tragic ending for poor Fantine. I absolutely love the musical.

    Rhindlebyon June 05, 2010   Link
  • +2
    General CommentTo me I dreamed a dream is about lost dreams, the loss of innocence and youth, and young foolish love. Fantine was striped of her childhood by a man she loved. Because she she was so young she feel into the man's trap which was foolish and show how naive and innocent she was. Yet she has grown and realized her mistake and how he has taken away many things from her including her ability to believe in her dreams. Her dreams were once beautiful, filled with love and hope. Now her dreams have been crushed and lost never to be fulfilled. LIfe has killed all her dreams.
    padmew21on April 24, 2012   Link
  • +2
    My InterpretationMy dad was diagnosed with cancer fall 2012. Stage 4 multiple myeloma he was given 3 years. My mom took it hard and told me that she thought they were going to retire and grow old together. When I heard this song on a car ride with a friend, I started crying for my mom because to me, this song encapsalates her struggle through his diagnosis and treatment.

    Now he's in partial remission (and it's been 4 years and a few months since the diagnosis- haha doctors!) but each day is a reminder (the chemo pills, the loss in height from taking out the tumor from the base of his spine, his hunch, his shuffle, his palor).

    Anyway, anytime I think of this song, I think of it in the context of my mom's struggle and it's tough.
    makinged80on February 01, 2017   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love this song, it's like a chid's view of the world, but now she's grown up, but she still dreams of her lost love, who took away her childhood. The closing line really strikes me, though :-"Now life has killed the dream I dreamed."
    nutty dolphinon June 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the verse:
    "He slept a summer by my side
    He filled my days with endless wonder
    He took my childhood in his stride
    But he was gone when autumn came."
    Mind you, the whole song is so fantastic it sends shivers down my spine. I am going to see a west end musical soon, :D but we think this'll be unsutible for my 8 year old sister :(. Any advice that would please an 8 year old girl, as well as the rest of the family? (don't say joseph because we've seen that already :))

    Harriet_Potteron August 20, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General CommentFrench Revolution??

    The French Revolution 'ended' in about 1797, leading to the Napoleonic Wars that would end in 1815 at Waterloo. The story STARTS in 1814 for God's sake!

    The story is based around the Paris Uprisings
    RobertEdwardLeeon December 23, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthank you robertedwardlee!

    Well this really brings me to tears.

    Fantine had been a carefree teen in love with a man named Felix Tholymes. She thought it'd mean something, but then one day, he abandones her. To top it all of, she's pregnant. After she gives birth, she leaves her home to find work. On the way she drops her daughter off at the Thenardier's Inn so they may watch her, who is the only one she loves. Now she has been working at a factory, making just enough to live and send money to her dear Cosette. That is, until one day she is fired. Now she is left, unloved and destitute, outside of the factory. She sings this song, remembering when things were better for her, when people cared, and she didn't have to live in grime. Her dream is the life she had before... carefree, happy and loved. Then the "tigers" come for her. They take things away from her (her love, her daughter, her source of income) and put her to shame. Then she remembers Felix, who had made her happy than ever. Then he took her childhood... her innocence and any possibility of a simple life again, and after summer was done, left her. Yet she still wishes he'll return to her, no matter what he has done to her. She hasn't been able to weather this storm, and won't in the end. She hoped for a better life, but he had ruined it. No matter how hopeful she had been, it has all been ruined ("now life has killed the dream I dream")
    liztomazon April 17, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General Commentbeautiful.
    liliecvon April 13, 2009   Link
  • +1
    General Commentthe musical is based on the novel by victor hugo, set in france in the early 1800s.

    france went through more than one revolution, apart from the more famous one that everyone thinks of (bastille, marie antoinette, etc): […]

    the unabridged version of the novel is ridiculously long but amazing and well worth plowing through to get the full backstory on the characters- fantine is in love with tholomyes and she and her girlfriends and their boyfriends are all bffs and such. then the guys decide to "go back to society" and ditch their girls. unfortunately for fantine, "she had given herself to tholomyes as to a husband, and the poor girl had his child." so she's single and preggers. she decides to give her baby girl (cosette) to an innkeeper and his wife (the thenardiers) and pay them to raise her daughter in a normal life. except she doesn't know that the thenardiers are awful and are criminals and treat cosette like shit and keep scamming fantine out of more money. anyway so fantine gets fired from her job and has to sell herself (including her hair and her teeth) in order to pay for her daughter's well-being.

    that being said, this song is about the loss of youth and innocence, the loss of carefree days, the loss of faith in love, the loss of one's position in society...about being crushed by life being left alone. it's beautiful.

    reginaldcranmeron June 29, 2011   Link

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