All Quiet Along the Potomac Tonight

Melody - Melody - John Hill Hewitt, 1863

Ethel Lynn Beers

"All quiet along the Potomac tonight,"
Except here and there a stray picket
Is shot as he walks on his beat to and fro,
By a rifleman hid in the thicket;
'Tis nothing! a private or two now and then,
Will not count in the news of the battle,
Not an officer lost! only one of the men
Moaning out all alone the death rattle.
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight!"

"All quiet along the Potomac tonight,"
Where the soldiers lie peacefully dreaming,
And their tents in the rays of the clear autumn moon,
And the light of the camp fires are gleaming;
There's only the sound of the lone sentry's tread,
As he tramps from the rock to the fountain,
And thinks of the two on the low trundle bed
Far away in the cot on the mountain.
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight!"

His musket falls slack --- his face, dark and grim,
Grows gentle with memories tender,
As he mutters a pray'r for the children asleep,
And their mother --- "May heaven defend her!"
The moon seems to shine as brightly as then ---
That night, when the love yet unspoken
Leap'd up to his lips, and when low murmur'd vows
Were pledg'd, to be ever unbroken.
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight!"

Then drawing his sleeve roughly o'er his eyes,
He dashes off the tears that are welling,
And gathers his gun close up to his breast,
As if to keep down the heart's swelling;
He passes the fountain, the blasted pine tree,
And his footstep is lagging and weary,
Yet onward he goes, thro' the broad belt of light,
Toward the shades of the forest so dreary.
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight!"

Hark! was it the night-wind that rustles the leaves?
Was it the moonlight so wond'rously flashing?
It look'd like a rifle! "Ha, Mary, good-bye!"
And his life-blood is ebbing and plashing.
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight,"
No sound save the rush of the river;
While soft falls the dew on the face of the dead,
"The Picket's" off duty forever.
"All quiet along the Potomac tonight!"

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