Jul 8, 2022 • 25M

Paul Revere's Ride

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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Poetry Aloud will help you learn how to read poetry with your ears. Unlike children with bad table manners, poetry is meant to be heard and not just seen. Join Anthony Esolen every other week (or so) as he introduces and discusses a longish poem and then reads it aloud.
Episode details

This week’s selection for Poetry Aloud — in honor of Independence Day, is “Paul Revere’s Ride,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. The poem was once beloved by schoolchildren from coast to coast, and it is a rousing narrative — we can see the ladder that Revere’s comrade must climb to the dark belfry, we can hear Revere’s movements of impatience as he sits on his horse and waits for the signal, we can sense the foreboding shadows of boats in the harbor — and then — riding, action! — and action too that will ring through the centuries, not just for Americans but for all men who love liberty.

The poem is called The Landlord’s Tale, because it is the first tale told by each of several friends who have met at an old-fashioned public house, out of the noise and bustle of the commercial world. Longfellow had Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in mind, and Boccaccio’s hundred stories told by seven women and three men over the course of ten days, The Decameron. So the poem begins with a “Prelude,” whic…

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