I waited a long time to post this one. My post for Alphabe Thursday to share with Miss Jenny is all about the letter P and I going to share my love for the poem The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere written April 19, 1860 and published in 1863, this classic poem was written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. I love what the poem stands for, patriotism something sadly lacking in our world today where most tend to be politically correct and go with the flow and respect everything, even things that are destroying our country because we refuse to hurt anyone feelings and do whatever no matter if it is evil and vile.
Back in the time of Paul Revere (1735-1888) people were willing to lose their lives in order to move forward and live in freedom without fear. Twenty five years before the death of Paul Revere Longfellow published his poem. It is a lengthy poem, spanning 13 stanzas. It is beautiful and filling with meaning:
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am not making light of this poem but when my youngest son Nick and my grandson Colton were small I would bathe them with chamomille and lavender night time body wash, let them drink Sleepy Time tea. I would then sit down and start reading this poem. By the time I dramatically spoke the words in the second stanza those two were sleeping soundly. They learned a little history as they nodded off to dreamland too. You need to take the classics and share them, our younger generations are so clueless about the past and important roles in our history today.
Many, many, years later Paul Revere Dick, a young man who grew up in Idaho founded a rock and roll band. He took the stage name of Paul Revere and eventually called his band the Raiders. Paul Revere, is the blonde gentleman in this photo, passed away October 4, 2014. It was a sad time for those of us who grew up singing their songs and falling in love with the hunky guys who played in the band. Paul Revere was a very saavy business man. He owned a barbershop and a hamburger stand by the age of 19. He was well loved in the rock and roll world and everyone called him the Mad Man of Rock and Roll! Paul told the corniest jokes ever and my generation appreciated him. I am sadden that they were never given the honor of being inducted into the hall of fame. Only Mark Lindsay (far left and Phil "Fang" Volk (next to Lindsay) are still living today. We lost "Smitty", Michael Smith, in 2001 to cancer (far left seated) and Drake Levin also to cancer in 2009 (far right wearing their tri-corner hat). Paul Revere gave the eulogy at Drake's service. Paul stopped playing for a few short years and took it up as quickly. He played for many years in Branson, Missouri. I have never heard an unkind word about him in all the years I followed them and fans adored him. He was a good down to earth fellow.
There were other band members throughout the years but Paul stood strong as the leader of his band. His only son Jamie joined him and played in the band. His good nature was loved by all who knew him and those who listened to his music.
I hope you will visit Ms. Jenny and all those who participate in Alphabe Thursday. I enjoy visiting as many participates that I am able to visit and I also enjoy leaving a comment. I know it brightens my day and I hope it brightens yours too.