“Sweet Adeline” is a ballad best known as a barbershop standard. It was first published in
1903, with lyrics by Richard H. Gerard to music by Harry Armstrong, from a tune he had
written in 1896 at the age of 18. According to a 1928 newspaper story, the lyrics were
inspired “by a girl who worked at the music counter of a New York department store.”
After failing to find a publisher with the initial title, “You’re the Flower of My Heart”,
“Sweet Rosalie”, according to a story the two decided a new title was in order and were
inspired by a poster advertising the farewell tour of opera singer Adelina Patti. It did not
become a hit until it was performed in 1904 by the group The Quaker City Four. John F.
Fitzgerald, grandfather of John F. Kennedy, used it as his theme song for his two
successful campaigns for Mayor of Boston.
In the evening when I sit alone a-dreaming
Of days gone by, love, to me so dear,
There’s a picture that in fancy oft’ appearing,
Brings back the time, love, when you were near.
It is then I wonder where you are, my darling,
And if your heart to me is still the same.
For the sighing wind and nightingale a-singing
Are breathing only your own sweet name.
Sweet Adeline, (My Adeline,)
My Adeline, (My Adeline,)
At night, dear heart, (At night, dear heart,)
For you I pine. (For you I pine.)
In all my dreams, (In all my dreams,)
Your fair face beams. (Your fair face beams.)
You’re the flower of my heart,
Sweet Adeline. (My Adeline.)
I can see your smiling face as when we wandered
Down by the Brookside, just you and I,
And it seems so real at times ’til I awaken,
To find all vanished, a dream gone by.
If we must meet sometime in after years, my darling,
I trust that I will find your love still mine,
Tho’ my heart is sad and clouds above are hov’ring
The sun again, love, for me would shine.