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Author Topic: Today, The 18th of April  (Read 1919 times)

Barry Hufker

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Today, The 18th of April
« on: April 18, 2008, 12:08:16 PM »

"Paul Revere's Ride" by 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 the tower of the Old North Church,
By 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 he gazed at 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 flying 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 after 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, black 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 he 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 meadow 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 redcoats 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 for evermore!
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.



As if.... Not during the Bush Administration.
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mgod

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Jessica A. Engle

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2008, 12:56:28 PM »

That is an amazing poem.  I admit I have never read it before, altho' I know it to be famous.  Thank you for posting it.

Jessica
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PRobb

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2008, 03:47:33 PM »

Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner:


2000 Year Old Man: Paul Revere was anti-semitic! Yelling all through the night, the Yiddish are coming the Yiddish are coming!

Interviewer: He was saying the British were coming

2000 Year Old Man: Oy. And I didn't send him a card for his wedding.
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The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.
-Edmund Burke

Barry Hufker

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2008, 05:02:01 PM »

mgod wrote on Fri, 18 April 2008 11:45

But...

     http://www.suite101.com/article.cfm/historical_myths/62233/1

and then...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_Bissell

http://www.dwroth.com/bissell.htm

     http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2007/0      4/15/israel_bissell_outrode_paul_revere_yet_didnt_get_a_poem /

but...

http://www.iberkshires.com/story.php?story_id=15001

Thanks to Robert Wuhl for teaching me about this guy. And doing it funny.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/01/arts/television/01wuhl.htm l

DS


Listen my children to this shizzle of the midnight ride of Israel Bissel.  He made this long ride in the dead of night but Longfellow exaggerated and didn't get it right...

Whaddya want? Actual history or a poem?


EDIT: Reading the last stanza you can see the poem is a call to action.  Unfortunately today you can't get anyone to respond to a call to action against the tyranny of this present administration.
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cerberus

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2008, 09:45:49 AM »

some links for those are interested in learning
more about core yankee patriotism:

common sense by thomas paine
 http://www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/milestones/commonse nse/text.html

walden and on the duty of civil disobedience by henry david thoreau
http://publicliterature.org/books/walden/xaa.php

jeff dinces

Moonrider

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2008, 03:53:10 PM »

Political implications aside, and from a MUSICAL standpoint, one of the reasons this poem is one of my all time favorites is the sheer genius Longfellow exhibited in his word choices. Every line, in every stanza of the whole poem evokes the rhythm of a galloping horse when read aloud by a speaker of American English.
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Barry Hufker

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2008, 05:51:59 PM »

I majored in English in college so I find what you've just said to be very interesting.  And I am ashamed such a thing never once crossed my mind.

The only time I heard it recited aloud was at the beginning of my 5th grade year in elementary school.  Some smart-ass kid memorized a poem during summer which the nuns had him recite on the first day of class.  They were so proud of him.  The first year he recited Casey At The Bat.  The next year, Paul Revere's Ride.  I killed him before he could learn a third one.
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Bill_Urick

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2008, 01:51:32 PM »

Barry Hufker wrote on Sat, 19 April 2008 17:51


I killed him before he could learn a third one.

index.php/fa/8568/0/
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ssltech

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2008, 12:06:10 PM »

Like many British people, I didn't know much about Paul Revere.

"I got the horse right here, his name is Paul revere..." -Is where I first heard the name.

This poem does indeed make me thing of a galloping horse, but I feel that the idea was 'borrowed' from this (much better written) poem by Robert Browning:

Quote:

“How They Brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix”

I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he;   
I gallop’d, Dirck gallop’d, we gallop’d all three;   
“Good speed !” cried the watch, as the gate-bolts undrew;   
“Speed!” echoed the wall to us galloping through;   
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,           
And into the midnight we gallop’d abreast.   

Not a word to each other; we kept the great pace   
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;   
I turn’d in my saddle and made its girths tight,   
Then shorten’d each stirrup, and set the pique right,           
Rebuckled the cheek-strap, chain’d slacker the bit,   
Nor gallop’d less steadily Roland a whit.   

’T was moonset at starting; but while we drew near   
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawn’d clear;   
At Boom, a great yellow star came out to see;           
At D
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MDM (maxdimario) wrote on Fri, 16 November 2007 21:36

I have the feeling that I have more experience in my little finger than you do in your whole body about audio electronics..

Barry Hufker

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #10 on: April 21, 2008, 07:33:31 PM »

Longfellow - the forerunner of McCartney's "Give Ireland Back To The Irish"?? I mean as far as a powerful political message...
Rolling Eyes
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cerberus

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2008, 07:51:02 PM »

and i thought it was:  "indian reservation" by paul revere and the raiders...

jeff dinces

Barry Hufker

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Re: Today, The 18th of April
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2008, 07:53:49 PM »

OOOH, YES!  Another consciousness-raising song which has formed my political philosophy.  That and "Indiana Wants Me" - Lord I can't go back there.

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