Taps Sounded by Jari Villanueva on a Civil War Bugle
The new bugle signal (also known as “Butterfield’s Lullaby”) is called “Taps” in common usage because it is was used for the same purpose (to signal lights out) as the three drum taps. However the U.S. Army still called it Extinguish Lights and it did not officially change the name to Taps until 1891. As soon as Taps was sounded that night in July 1862, words were put with the music. The first were, “Go To Sleep, Go to Sleep.”
As the years went on many more versions were created. Through research I have uncovered many verses
In 1999 I had received information that the first two verses I’ve listed below may be attributed to Rukard Hurd. Hurd was a member of the Class of 1878 of the Pennsylvania Military College, which later became Widener University, and a trustee from 1895 to 1922. He is said to have composed the lyrics to Taps now used by most every Boy and Girl Scout troop in America. The University regularly gives permission for their use to Scout troops and other groups, as the rights to the copyrighted lyrics were willed to P.M.C. and then Widener by Mr. Hurd and his descendants. Indeed, many early citations of the lyrics to Taps cite the Pennsylvania Military College or Mr. Hurd as author. The University is in the process of producing a photocopy of a dated publication or dated and signed manuscript, which would predate any other extant publications for these same lyrics of Taps. It may be quite true that Hurd is the original author, or that he borrowed someone’s lyrics.
Until the original documents by Rukard Hurd, wherein he donates or sells the copyrights to these lyrics for Taps, can be found, we have to list the author as “unknown.” The words have also been attributed to Forrest W. Gaz, who worked for the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. Gaz is listed as author in The Soil Soldiers–Civilian Conservation Corps in the Great Depression by Leslie Alexander Lacy. Whoever the true author may be, these lyrics are very moving and poignant.
There are no official words to the music, but below are some of the more popular verses.
Day is done, gone the sun,
From the lake, from the hill,
From the sky.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Thanks and praise, For our days,
’Neath the sun, ’Neath the stars,
’Neath the sky,
As we go, This we know,
God is nigh.
Fades the light; And afar
Goeth day, And the stars
Fare thee well; Day has gone,
Night is on.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.
Love, good night, Must thou go,
When the day, And the night
Need thee so?
All is well. Speedeth all
To their rest
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