J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Plumbing the Depths of Revere Poetry

I've dug up one more example of Paul Revere verse—perhaps the earliest poetic commemoration of the silversmith's ride on 18-19 April 1775, written by one "Eb. Stiles" twenty years later. David H. Fischer quotes this item in Paul Revere's Ride, saying it comes from a manuscript at the Massachusetts Historical Society.

This verse shows not only what a fine poet Longfellow was, but also what a relatively fine historian. Not only does Stiles's poem say that Revere reached Concord, but it describes him and his horse getting there by swimming:

He turned his steed through field and wood
Nor turned to ford the river,
But faced his horse to the foaming flood,
And swum across together.

He madly dashed o’er mountain and moor,
Never slackened spur nor rein
Until with shout he stood by the door
Of the Church on Concord green.
One if by land, two if by sea, indeed. But I do like the daring rhyme of "river" and "together."

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