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Listen my children and you shall hear Of the

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..

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