Listen, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere....
So begins Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's stirring tale of Paul Revere's ride and the first battle cry for American independence. Written over a century ago, the words still resonate today.
The poem is spoken by the landlord of the Wayside Inn and tells a partly fictionalized story of Paul Revere. In the poem, Revere tells a friend to prepare signal lanterns in the Old North Church to inform him if the British will attack by land or sea. He would await the signal across the river in Charlestown and be ready to spread the alarm throughout Middlesex County, Massachusetts. The unnamed friend climbs up the steeple and soon sets up two signal lanterns, informing Revere that the British are coming by sea. Revere rides his horse through Medford, Lexington, and Concord to warn the patriots.
"Paul Revere's Ride" commemorates the actions of American patriot Paul Revere on April 18, 1775 (although with significant inaccuracies). It was first published in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly and later retitled "The Landlord's Tale" in the collectionTales of a Wayside Inn.
Although there are some very good versions of "Paul Revere's Ride" out there, this remains our favorite. Its beautiful illustrations and map of Mr. Revere's route make a wonderful addition to the text of Longfellow's poem.
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