Found in the knapsack of a soldier of the Civil War, after he had been slain in battle.
Near the camp fire's flickering light
In my blanket bed I lie
Gazing through the shades of night
And the twinkling stars on high
O'er me spirits in the air
Silent vigils seem to keep
As I breathe my childhood's prayer
"Now I lay me down to sleep"
Sadly sings the whip-poor-will
In the boughs of yonder tree
Laughingly the dancing rill
Swells the midnight melody
Foemen may be lurking near
In the canyon dark and deep
Low I breathe in Jesus' ear
"I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to keep"
'Mid those stars one face I see
One the Saviour turned away
Mother, who, in Infancy
Taught my baby lips to pray
Her sweet spirit hovers near
In this lonely mountain-brake
Take me to her, Saviour, dear
"If I should die before I wake"
Fainter grows the flickering light
As each ember slowly dies
Plaintively the birds of night
Fill the air with saddening cries
Over me they seem to cry
"You may never more awake"
Low I lisp, If I should die
I pray Thee, Lord, my soul to take"