Heres a virtual movie of the great American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow reading his best known patriotic poem “Paul Revere’s Ride”.”Paul Revere’s Ride” (1860) is a poem by an American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow that commemorates the actions of American patriot Paul Revere on April 18, 1775.Paul Revere (January 1, 1735 [O.S. December 21, 1734] — May 10, 1818)[N 1] was an American silversmith and a patriot in the American Revolution. He is most famous for alerting Colonial militia of approaching British forces before the battles of Lexington and Concord, as dramatized in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem, Paul Revere’s Ride.
Revere was a prosperous and prominent Boston silversmith, who helped organize an intelligence and alarm system to keep watch on the British military. Revere later served as an officer in the Penobscot Expedition, one of the most disastrous campaigns of the American Revolutionary War, for which he was absolved of blame.
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.
Longfellow was inspired to write the poem after visiting the Old North Church and climbing its tower on April 5, 1860. He began writing the poem the next day. It was first published in the January 1861 issue of The Atlantic Monthly. It was later published in Longfellow’s Tales of a Wayside Inn as “The Landlord’s Tale” in 1863. The poem served as the first in a series of 22 narratives bundled as a collection, similar to Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales, and was published in three installments over 10 years.
Longfellow’s family had a connection to the historical Paul Revere. His maternal grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, was Revere’s commander on the Penobscot Expedition,
Longfellow’s poem is credited with creating the national legend of Paul Revere, a previously little-known Massachusetts silversmith. Upon Revere’s death in 1818, for example, his obituary did not mention his midnight ride but instead focused on his business sense and his many friends. The fame that Longfellow brought to Revere, however, did not materialize until after the Civil War amidst the Colonial Revival Movement of the 1870s. In 1875, for example, the Old North Church mentioned in the poem began an annual custom called the “lantern ceremony” recreating the action of the poem. Three years later, the Church added a plaque noting it as the site of “the signal lanterns of Paul Revere”. Revere’s elevated historical importance also led to unsubstantiated rumors that he made a set of false teeth for George Washington. Revere’s legendary status continued for decades and, in part due to Longfellow’s poem, authentic silverware made by Revere commanded high prices. Wall Street tycoon J. P. Morgan, for example, offered $100,000 for a punch bowl Revere made.
All rights are reserved on this video recording copyright Jim Clark 2012