It was first published in 1867 by A E Blackman of New Orleans, was dedicated to the southern ladies who, following the Civil War, paid homage to their fallen soldiers by decorating and honoring their graves. Based on these timings, it is now certain that both the tune and the words are in the public domain.
LyricsKneel where our loves are sleeping,
Dear ones loved in days gone by,
here we bow in holy reverence,
Our bosoms heave the heart-felt sigh.
They fell like brave men, true as steel,
And pour'd their blood like rain-
We feel we owe them all we have,
And can but kneel and weep again.
Kneel where our loves are sleeping,
They lost but still were good and true,
Our fathers, brothers fell still fighting,
We weep, ‘tis all that we can do.
Here we find our noble dead,
Their spirits soar’d to him above,
Rest they now about his throne,
For God is mercy, God is love.
Then let us pray that we may live,
As pure and good as they have been,
That dying we may ask of him,
To open the gate and let us in.