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Battle of Concord

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
Vol. 42, pp. 1245-1246 of The Harvard Classics

Dr. Eliot says of the opening stanza of the "Concord Hymn": "In twenty-eight words here are the whole scene and all the essential circumstances . . . what an accurate, moving, immortal description is this!"
(The Battle of Concord was fought on April 19, 1775.)


Concord Hymn
Sung at the Completion of the Battle Monument, July 4, 1837

BY the rude bridge that arched the flood,
  Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood
  And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;
  Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
  Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
  We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
  When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare
  To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
  The shaft we raise to them and thee.



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