‘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,” clippety-clops “Paul Revere’s Ride,” Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem about a take-charge common man and his horse, off to change the world. Longfellow published it in January 1861, on the eve of the Civil War. He reached back in time to present one man’s strike for liberty, as a prelude to the epic fight to save the Union, which Revere had helped to forge. It’s a patriotic, thrilling, and eminently scrutable …
This article appears as “No Bleeding-Edge Original” in the November 2, 2020, print edition of National Review.
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