Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth 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.

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.

 

Name _____________________________
Date ___________________
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Key 1 - Answer ID # 0454238
Multiple Choice
1. Where would the signal be?

on the Charlestown shore

outside the Lexington meeting house

on the bridge in Concord town

in the North Church tower
2. How long does it take Paul Revere to ride from Medford to Concord?

three hours

two hours

a half hour

one hour
3. What was the date of Paul Revere's famous ride?

April 18, 1775

April 11, 1775

April 4, 1775

April 25, 1775
4. What would be used for the signal to Paul Revere?

candles

flags

lanterns

flares
5. What does Paul Revere see when he rides into Lexington?

a gilded weathercock

a graveyard

the old North Church

a British man-of-war
6. What was the name of the British man-of-war?

the Mystic

the Charlestown

the Medford

the Somerset
7. How does Paul Revere feel as he waits for the signal?

eager

defiant

frightened

nervous
8. What does Paul Revere hear when he crosses the bridge into Medford town?

pigeons cooing

the cock crowing

sheep bleating

cows mooing
Short Answer Questions
9. Explain the message that the poet conveys in the final stanza of the poem.



 

Name _____________________________
Date ___________________
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Key 1 - Answer ID # 0454238
10. How does the poet describe the conflict that occurs between the British Regulars and the farmers? What impression of the event is created by that description?



11. What parts of the poem make Paul Revere's actions seem heroic or extraordinary? Cite specific examples from the poem and explain your choices.




12. Make a list of the sequence of events outlined in the poem. Limit the list to a maximum of ten events.





 

Name _____________________________
Date ___________________
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Key 1 - Answer ID # 0454238
13. Explain the meaning of the following lines in their historical context: "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."



14. How does the poet describe the meeting-house in Lexington? What does the poet's description foreshadow?



Poetic Techniques Short Answer Questions
15. Find an example of a metaphor in the poem. What is the comparison that is being made?


16. Find an example of personification in the poem.

17. Find an example of exact rhyme in the poem.

18. Identify several symbols used in the poem and explain what those symbols represent.


 

Name _____________________________
Date ___________________
Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Key 1 - Answer ID # 0454238
19. Identify example of the following sensory images: sight, sound, and touch.



20. Find an example of a simile in the poem. What is the comparison that is being made?


21. What is the rhyme scheme used in the poem?

22. Find an example of alliteration in the poem.

 

Paul Revere's Ride
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Key 1 - Answer ID # 0454238
Multiple Choice
1. Where would the signal be?

on the Charlestown shore

outside the Lexington meeting house

on the bridge in Concord town

in the North Church tower
2. How long does it take Paul Revere to ride from Medford to Concord?

three hours

two hours

a half hour

one hour
3. What was the date of Paul Revere's famous ride?

April 18, 1775

April 11, 1775

April 4, 1775

April 25, 1775
4. What would be used for the signal to Paul Revere?

candles

flags

lanterns

flares
5. What does Paul Revere see when he rides into Lexington?

a gilded weathercock

a graveyard

the old North Church

a British man-of-war
6. What was the name of the British man-of-war?

the Mystic

the Charlestown

the Medford

the Somerset
7. How does Paul Revere feel as he waits for the signal?

eager

defiant

frightened

nervous
8. What does Paul Revere hear when he crosses the bridge into Medford town?

pigeons cooing

the cock crowing

sheep bleating

cows mooing