“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 in now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, “Paul Revere’s Ride”
In celebration of the original Patriot’s Day. This classic poem used to be memorization fodder and whole generations can recite at least the first stanza as easily as they can their name and childhood address. Like much of Longfellow, there is a clumsy charm and earnestness about the verse, but he is excellent at using the meter to convey motion and urgency. The words rattle along like the hoofbeats of a galloping horse. If you can forgive its historic inaccuracies, this is great patriotic pablum.