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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Midnight Ride of Paul Revere

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The Dementia Caregiver's Little Book of Hope [Kindle Edition]

Henry Wadswoth 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

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