All Quiet along the Potomac and other poems/Midnight


OH, the solemn, silent midnight!
Oh, the hush of sleeping things,
When the hours above the sleepers
Softly shake their dusky wings!

Then the watchers by the dying,
Stepping softly, whisper low,
For they've heard that waiting angels
Best at midnight love to go.

To the eye of the All-seeing,
Doth a cloud of souls arise
From the blackness of night-nooning
Toward the lights of Paradise?

Oh, the solemn, silent midnight!
When a host of baby souls
Come to tenant new-made mansions
Far and near between the poles—

Come with wailing cry and protest,
Dimly conscious of the strife,
Wee, unwilling, helpless tenants,
Loath to meet the tax of life.

Oh, the solemn, silent midnight!
When the sins the daylight kissed
Turn, and stalk like ghosts before us,
Sure to keep unwelcome tryst.

Then the good deeds, counted giants
In the sunshine's golden gleam,
Underneath the starry zenith
Only shrunken pigmies seem.

Oh, the blessed, silent midnight!
When the smoke of battle, blown

Aside a moment, shows us angels
Nearest when we seem alone.

Faithful spirits, true and tender,
Tethered only by the stars,
Walk far down the plains of heaven,
To meet us at the midnight's bars.