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ALL QUIET ALONG THE POTOMAC
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 in the low trundle-bed,
Far away in the cot on the mountain. His musket falls slack, his face dark and grim,
Glows gentle with memories tender, As he mutters a prayer for the children asleep;
For their mother — may heaven defend her!
The moon seems to shine just as brightly as then,
That night when the love yet unspoken, Leaped up to his lips, when low, murmured vows
Were pledged to be ever unbroken; Then drawing his sleeve roughly over his eyes,
He dashes off tears that are welling, And gathers his gun closer up to his side.
As if to keep down the heart swelling.
He passes the fountain, the blasted pine tree,
The footstep is lagging and weary, Yet onward he goes through the broad belt of light,
Toward the shade of the forest so dreary. Hark! was it the night-wind that rustled the leaves,
Was it moonlight so wondrously flashing? It looked like a rifle — " Ha! Mary, good-bye,"
And the life-blood is ebbing and plashing.
All quiet along the Potomac to-night,
No sound save the rush of the river; While soft falls the clew on the face of the dead.
The picket's off duty forever. Hark! was it the night-wind that rustled the leaves,"
Was it moonlight so wondrously plashing? It looked like a rifle — " Ha ! Mary, good-bye,"
And the life-blood is ebbing and flashing.
AFTER THE BATTLE.
This martial lyric is one of two written by Thomas Mooke, entitled "Before the Battle," and " After the Battle." The air to which it is set is called "Thy Fair Bosom."