Skip to comments.Paul Revere's Ride (Tomorrow in History- 4/18/1775)
Posted on 04/17/2014 7:01:00 PM PDT by One Name
Paul Revere's Ride by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Listen, my children, and you shall hear Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere, On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five: Hardly a man is now alive Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, "If the British march By land or sea from the town to-night, Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch Of the North-Church-tower, as a signal-light,-- One if by land, and two if by sea; And I on the opposite shore will be, Ready to ride and spread the alarm Through every Middlesex village and farm, For the country-folk to be up and to arm."
Then he said "Good night!" and with muffled oar Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore, Just as the moon rose over the bay, Where swinging wide at her moorings lay The Somerset, British man-of-war: A phantom ship, with each mast and spar Across the moon, like a prison-bar, And a huge black hulk, that was magnified By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street Wanders and watches with eager ears, Till in the silence around him he hears The muster of men at the barrack door, The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet, And the measured tread of the grenadiers Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed to the tower of the church, Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread, To the belfry-chamber overhead, And startled the pigeons from their perch On the sombre rafters, that round him made Masses and moving shapes of shade,-- By the trembling ladder, steep and tall, To the highest window in the wall, Where he paused to listen and look down A moment on the roofs of the town, And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead, In their night-encampment on the hill, Wrapped in silence so deep and still That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread, The watchful night-wind, as it went Creeping along from tent to tent, And seeming to whisper, "All is well!" A moment only he feels the spell Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread Of the lonely belfry and the dead; For suddenly all his thoughts are bent On a shadowy something far away, Where the river widens to meet the bay, -- A line of black, that bends and floats On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride, Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride, On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere. Now he patted his horse's side, Now gazed on the landscape far and near, Then impetuous stamped the earth, And turned and tightened his saddle-girth; But mostly he watched with eager search The belfry-tower of the old North Church, As it rose above the graves on the hill, Lonely and spectral and sombre and still. And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height, A glimmer, and then a gleam of light! He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns, But lingers and gazes, till full on his sight A second lamp in the belfry burns!
A hurry of hoofs in a village-street, A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark, And beneath from the pebbles, in passing, a spark Struck out by a steed that flies fearless and fleet: That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light, The fate of a nation was riding that night; And the spark struck out by that steed, in his flight, Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mounted the steep, And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep, Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides; And under the alders, that skirt its edge, Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge, Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock When he crossed the bridge into Medford town. He heard the crowing of the cock, And the barking of the farmer's dog, And felt the damp of the river-fog, That rises when the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock, When he galloped into Lexington. He saw the gilded weathercock Swim in the moonlight as he passed, And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare, Gaze at him with a spectral glare, As if they already stood aghast At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock, When be came to the bridge in Concord town. He heard the bleating of the flock, And the twitter of birds among the trees, And felt the breath of the morning breeze Blowing over the meadows brown. And one was safe and asleep in his bed Who at the bridge would be first to fall, Who that day would be lying dead, Pierced by a British musket-ball.
You know the rest. In the books you have read, How the British Regulars fired and fled,-- How the farmers gave them ball for ball, From behind each fence and farmyard-wall, Chasing the red-coats down the lane, Then crossing the fields to emerge again Under the trees at the turn of the road, And only pausing to fire and load.
So through the night rode Paul Revere; And so through the night went his cry of alarm To every Middlesex village and farm,-- A cry of defiance, and not of fear, A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door, And a word that shall echo forevermore! For, borne on the night-wind of the Past, Through all our history, to the last, In the hour of darkness and peril and need, The people will waken and listen to hear The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed, And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
- See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15640#sthash.8Bvm3rlh.dpuf
I find it quite poignant today. The 18th of April, 1775 was an important juncture in modern history.
I'm not much of a student of history but the Battles of Lexington and Concord can teach us much, particularly in light of recent developments.
The British were marching to seize the militia's arms.
I've watched with some fascination as conservatives weigh in (or avoid) on the Bundy Ranch events. I'm sure everything King George's forces did was completely "legal"...
At some juncture for the Patriots at Lexington and Concord, that no longer mattered.
I was taught this at home and in school when I was young,wonder if they do that anymore?
It should be read in every American school tomorrow.
I wonder how many do these days?
Israel Bissell rode for four days and six hours covering the 345 miles from Watertown, Massachusetts to Philadelphia raising the alarm.
Looks like good press gets you remembered.
Actually he did not make it to Lexington. He was captured by the lobsterbacks in Lincoln, there is a monument there marking the capture site.
Today the call would be, “The Fed Coats are coming! The Fed Coats are coming!”
My favorite line.
You might enjoy “Turn” on AMC. Its a history based drama about the beginnings of Washington’s Culper spy ring.
Being a drama means artistic license but they appear to have held pretty firmly to actual history and real people as a basis. A lot of loyalists turned as a result of the arrogance and abuses of the British. A lot of it is strangely familiar.
You can watch the first two episodes here.
Paul Revere first hand account.
What i was impressed with was the militia response...
They just kept coming.
There was plenty of “pent up demand”.
Yes and I am unfamiliar with his history from that point forward- I need to go back to school.
I’ve seen that before.
People who have everything to lose but act as though they have nothing to lose.
King James Version (KJV)
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
Will check it out-thanks! I need to go back to school.
Indeed. Counting on it.
Yes, King George had all the laws on his side. Harry Reid would have called the Minutemen “domestic terrorists”.
“I was taught this at home and in school when I was young,wonder if they do that anymore?”
The whole thing is re-enacted, with militia in appropriate attire and weaponry hiking to Lexington along the old roads, from Stow, Acton, Bedford, and the other towns, with a battle at Lexington Green with Jonathan Harrington still crawling across the green. They no longer fire muskets at the bridge in Concord because Concord, cradle of Liberty, is an uberliberal town that does not allow the discharge of firearms.
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Minuteman groups were small, yet cohesive.
And able to meld into larger groups. Some had training, all had common tactical sense.
And all had purpose.
Although Paul Revere is better known due to the epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Bissell was the subject of the less well known “Ride, Israel, Ride,” an epic poem by Marie Rockwood of Stockbridge.
Israel Bissell (17521823) was a patriot post rider in Massachusetts who brought news to American colonists of the British attack on April 19, 1775. He reportedly rode for four days and six hours covering the 345 miles from Watertown, Massachusetts to Philadelphia along the Old Post Road, shouting “To arms, to arms, the war has begun,” and carrying a message from General Joseph Palmer which was copied at each of his stops and redistributed
Izzy gets no respect.
345 miles on a Thoroughbred is kicking some serious ass.
The Pony Express riders out here changed out quarter horses after 10-15 miles sometimes, depending on the terrain.
Flat out in the dark is some balls to the wall stuff...
Good thing horses see better than I do at night.
It’s nice to have a clear cut case but at some point you just have to call bullshit.
I think we’re getting there.
Nobody even knows about it anymore.
My father memorized this poem in public school in Washington County, ME, sometime during the 1930-40s. We lost Dad to dementia nearly 3 years ago. In his early 70s he could still recite a large portion of Longfellow’s poem before a TIA started his 7 year decline. I miss him, but am thankful he did not know what Obama had done to this nation.
Thanks for posting this.
In public school they teach Anti-American History.
The Brits also had heard that Hancock and his buddy Sam Adams were around those parts and tried to get them as well, but they headed out of town before the Brits got there. They were at the Hancock-Clarke House in Lexington
The RevWar/Colonial History/General Washington ping list
Thanks for posting. It’s been years since I read that poem, and re-reading it today stirs my heart just like the first time.
Our Patriots were incredible, and Longfellow captured the scene perfectly (even though there was more than one “Paul Revere” spreading the alarm.)
Lexington & Concord. The first big gun grab in New England.
No, Lexington & Concord were preceded by a number of “Powder Alarms” starting Sept 1, 1774. It’s fascinating history how Gen’l Thomas Gage set about to seize powder before the colonists could get it following passage of The Intolerable (or Coercive) Acts.
“Early in the morning of September 1, [Genl Thomas Gage sent] a force of roughly 260 British regulars from the 4th Regiment, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel George Maddison, were rowed in secrecy up the Mystic River from Boston to a landing point near Winter Hill in modern-day Somerville. From there they marched about a mile to the Powder House, a gunpowder magazine that held the largest supply of gunpowder in Massachusetts. Phips gave the King’s Troops the keys to the building, and after sunrise they removed all of the gunpowder. Most of the regulars then returned to Boston the way they had come, but a small contingent marched to Cambridge, removed two field pieces, and took them to Boston by foot over the Great Bridge and up Boston Neck. The field pieces and powder were then taken from Boston to the British stronghold on Castle Island, then known as Castle William (renamed Fort Independence in 1779).”
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