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The phrase "Hardly a man is now alive" was true as one of the last men alive at the time had only recently died.
Jonathan Harrington, the young fifer for Lexington's militia during the battles of Lexington and Concord , died at the age of 96 in , a few years before the poem was written. Longfellow's poem is not historically accurate but his "mistakes" were deliberate. He had researched the historical event, using works like George Bancroft 's History of the United States , but he manipulated the facts for poetic effect. Modern critics of the poem emphasize its many historical inaccuracies. For example, the poem depicts the lantern signal in the Old North Church as meant for Revere, but actually the signal was from Revere: The poem also depicts Revere rowing himself across the Charles River when, in reality, he was rowed over by others.
He also did not reach Concord that night. The majority of criticism, however, notes that Longfellow gave sole credit to Revere for the collective achievements of three riders as well as other riders, whose names do not survive to history. Revere and Dawes rode toward Concord, where the militia's arsenal was hidden; they were joined by Samuel Prescott , a doctor who lived in Concord and happened to be in Lexington.
Prescott and Dawes escaped, but Revere was detained and questioned and then escorted at gunpoint by three British officers back to Lexington. Longfellow's poem is credited with creating the national legend of Paul Revere, a previously little-known Massachusetts silversmith.
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. In , Boston held a national competition for an equestrian statue of Revere. It was won by Cyrus Edwin Dallin , although his model was not accepted until , and the statue was not dedicated until In Helen F. Moore, dismayed that William Dawes had been forgotten, penned a parody of Longfellow's poem:.
Paul Revere's Ride
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The Sign of the Beaver Study Guide. Sarah, Plain and Tall Study Guide. Heather Carroll Heather teaches high school English. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was known as a fireside poet because his poems were read by the fire as a means of entertainment. Paul Revere Of course, Longfellow is best known today for memorializing American history through narrative poems , or poems that tell a story. Rhythm Aside from the story aspect of the poem, it is, like many of Longfellow's other poems, musical in nature. Longfellow memorialized Revere in his poem Of course, if we read poetry or even sang songs with such a ridiculous pattern of stresses, none of it would be popular.
Rhyme The musical aspect of the poem is enhanced by Longfellow's use of rhyme and rhyme scheme. American Romantic Characteristics So Longfellow wrote during the Romantic period in America, and like some of the other writers during this period, he was heavily influenced by the German Romantics. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime. Want to learn more? Select a subject to preview related courses: Lesson Summary To recap: Lesson Objectives After watching this lesson, you should be able to: Identify Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and discuss why his poems were so popular in his time Summarize the basic plot and form of Longfellow's 'Paul Revere's Ride' Describe the Romantic themes of the poem.
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Is Studying History Still Important? You are viewing lesson Lesson 6 in chapter 4 of the course:. American Literature 13 chapters lessons 11 flashcard sets.
Paul Revere's Ride - Wikipedia
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