QOTD: Concord Hymn

 

On the 246th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord.

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 today 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.

 
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

The hymn was composed for the dedication of the Concord Battle Monument, upon which the following words appear:

Bill Coughlin

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  1. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    Wonderful post, Percival. Thank you for reminding us and educating us. 

    • #1
  2. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Interesting that the Concord Hymn doesn’t use the hymnal stanza. Well, it is the long hymnal stanza, but you can’t properly sing it to “Amazing Grace.”

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Interesting that the Concord Hymn doesn’t use the hymnal stanza. Well, it is the long hymnal stanza, but you can’t properly sing it to “Amazing Grace.”

    Emerson was idiosyncratic. to say the least. I found a Youtube of a choir performance to the tune of the Old 100th.

     

    • #3
  4. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    There are a lot of metrical inversions that make it hard to sing. Especially difficult are the inversions in the first foot of a stanza, which he does in half the stanzas.

    • #4
  5. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Interesting that the Concord Hymn doesn’t use the hymnal stanza. Well, it is the long hymnal stanza, but you can’t properly sing it to “Amazing Grace.”

    Well, stanza to reason, I suppose. 

    • #5
  6. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    “Stand your ground. Don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.” – Capt. John Parker, Lexington Militia

    • #6
  7. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Chills. Thank you.

    I wonder what hymns our future generations will reflect upon hundreds of years from now.

    • #7
  8. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Midwest Southerner (View Comment):

    Chills. Thank you.

    I wonder what hymns our future generations will reflect upon hundreds of years from now.

    First time I’ve ever been inspired to write fake woke poetry.

    • #8
  9. Arahant Member
    Arahant
    @Arahant

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):
    First time I’ve ever been inspired to wrote fake woke poetry.

    *Waits.*

    • #9
  10. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    All cussing in the April wind,

    The rude mobs that burned the stores

    Built a dark Antifastan.

    Where free America was before.

    • #10
  11. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    All cussing in the April wind,

    The rude mobs that burned the stores

    Built a dark Antifastan.

    Where free America was before.

    The syllables don’t match. And it’s not woke poetry. I’m sure it’s the best I can do tonight.

    • #11
  12. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    All cussing in the April wind,

    The rude mobs that burned the stores

    Built a dark Antifastan.

    Where free America was before.

    Oh, wait. We can wokeify this and nudge the syllables in the right direction:

    All maskless in the Covid wind,
    Peaceful protesters burned the stores,
    And built a bright Antifastan
    Where once America was before.

    • #12
  13. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    Saint Augustine (View Comment):

    All cussing in the April wind,

    The rude mobs that burned the stores

    Built a dark Antifastan.

    Where free America was before.

    Oh, wait. We can wokeify this and nudge the syllables in the right direction:

    All maskless in the Covid wind,

    Peaceful protesters burned the stores,

    And built a bright Antifastan

    Where once America was before.

    Thanks. I hate it.

    • #13
  14. EHerring Coolidge
    EHerring
    @EHerring

    I memorized that poem in HS….but haven’t read it in years. In the Air Force, in my later years, I had to make many trips to Hanscom Field (via Boston). It is nestled between Lexington and Concord. We always went to a restaurant near Concord to eat crab and corn. I felt like I was on sacred ground. Today’s woke education won’t inspire the same feelings in young people today.

    • #14
  15. Saint Augustine Member
    Saint Augustine
    @SaintAugustine

    Accidental comment. Ignore.

    • #15
  16. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    From the Massachusetts National Guard website. Can there be any doubt what the Second Amendment writers meant by “militia” and “arms”?

    At dawn on April 19, 1775, as 700 elite British soldiers marched toward Concord, they fought a brief skirmish with militiamen on Lexington Green, leaving eight colonists dead and nine wounded. The King’s troops marched on, arriving at Concord two hours later.

    While some troops searched the town for stores of gunpowder and arms, three companies guarded the “North Bridge.” As the British were marching toward Concord, word spread of the fight at Lexington. Alarm bells rang calling out the militia and Minute Men across Middlesex County.

    Among the units to muster was Colonel James Barrett’s Middlesex County Regiment of Minute Men. Once in formation the regiment moved onto a hill within 500 yards of where the British stood watch at North Bridge. Colonel Barrett, needing to organize additional militia companies, left his command to Major John Buttrick. When smoke appeared in the sky above Concord the Americans wrongly believed the British were burning the town. In response Buttrick decided to move his men toward the town.

    As the Americans advanced the British pickets fell back across the bridge. The last British unit to cross, the Light Company of the 4th (King’s Own) Foot, stopped to tear up some of the planks to delay the militia advance.

    Leading the American column was Captain Isaac Davis’s Company of Minute Men from Acton. As they got within 50 yards of the bridge Buttrick shouted at the British to stop tearing up the planks. Suddenly three British shots were fired, killing Davis and another man instantly and wounding a third. Buttrick shouted “Fire! For God’s sake Fire!” and the Minute Men unloosed a ragged but heavy volley.

    Four out of eight British officers were hit along with seven enlisted men, two of whom died. The British immediately fell back toward the town where they linked up with other Royal troops. Buttrick moved his men across the bridge as the British column began marching back down the road toward Boston. Militiamen gathered along their path and soon began firing from behind trees and stone walls, inflicting an ever-increasing number of casualties.

    When the exhausted British troops reached Lexington, scene of the fight earlier that morning, they were met by a relief force sent to accompany them back to Boston. However, the Americans did not stop their attacks, inflicting additional losses on the British column before it reached Boston.

    In total the British suffered almost 300 dead, wounded or missing. Within days an army of nearly 20,000 militiamen from all over New England surrounded the city, effectively putting it under siege.

    [continues in comment 17]

    • #16
  17. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    [continued from comment 16]

    In 1875, on the 100th anniversary of the action at Concord, Daniel Chester French’s Minuteman statue, the symbol of today’s National Guard, was dedicated. As part of the ceremony, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s poem The Concord Hymn was read honoring the men who “fired the shot heard round the world” which began the Revolutionary War. Today’s National Guard is the direct descendent of those militia and Minute Men who stood their ground to protect their homes and freedoms.

    • #17
  18. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    It wasn’t until a year and three months later that the Declaration of Independence was signed. No wonder John Adams was such a pain in the neck in Philadelphia. :-) 

    • #18
  19. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Inspiring, Percival. Thank you for starting off my day so beautifully.

    • #19
  20. She Reagan
    She
    @She

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

    A reminder, in these days of life in the eternal “now” that we owe a debt to those who came before, and a responsibility to those who will follow us.

    I don’t know how else to process, understand, redeem, or pass along any of that without a word used in this stanza: memory.  I don’t know any other beings on earth who use memory the way humans do, or who are capable of learning from the mistakes of the past to build a better future.  To do that, though, a person has to know his history.  Erase that history, and what do you have left?

    Perhaps we’re about to find out.

    ***

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    • #20
  21. MWD B612 "Dawg" Member
    MWD B612 "Dawg"
    @danok1

    I have no idea why Patriots’ Day (April 19) is not a national holiday.

    • #21
  22. colleenb Member
    colleenb
    @colleenb

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Interesting that the Concord Hymn doesn’t use the hymnal stanza. Well, it is the long hymnal stanza, but you can’t properly sing it to “Amazing Grace.”

    Well, stanza to reason, I suppose.

    I’m in pain.

    • #22
  23. Andrew Miller Member
    Andrew Miller
    @AndrewMiller

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Interesting that the Concord Hymn doesn’t use the hymnal stanza. Well, it is the long hymnal stanza, but you can’t properly sing it to “Amazing Grace.”

    Well, stanza to reason, I suppose.

    I’m in pain.

    I’m-a here all week, folks!

    • #23
  24. Midwest Southerner Member
    Midwest Southerner
    @MidwestSoutherner

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):

    colleenb (View Comment):

    Andrew Miller (View Comment):

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Interesting that the Concord Hymn doesn’t use the hymnal stanza. Well, it is the long hymnal stanza, but you can’t properly sing it to “Amazing Grace.”

    Well, stanza to reason, I suppose.

    I’m in pain.

    I’m-a here all week, folks!

    Again, I say: We are not worthy! ;)

    • #24
  25. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    A few pics in June of the rude bridge from different sides, the river it spans, and the general layout of the area.  I believe the third pic shows the approximate British perspective.

    • #25
  26. Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… Member
    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio…
    @ArizonaPatriot

    Hoyacon (View Comment):

    A few pics in June of the rude bridge from different sides, the river it spans, and the general layout of the area. I believe the third pic shows the approximate British perspective.

    Lovely pictures.

    We should note that this is a replica, not the original bridge.  As indicated in Emerson’s poem, the original bridge was long gone, even at the first centennial of the battle.  My impression is that the current bridge is intended to be a good approximation of the bridge that existed at the time of the battle, but I haven’t been there.

    • #26
  27. Hoyacon Member
    Hoyacon
    @Hoyacon

    Jerry Giordano (Arizona Patrio… (View Comment):

     

    We should note that this is a replica, not the original bridge. As indicated in Emerson’s poem, the original bridge was long gone, even at the first centennial of the battle. My impression is that the current bridge is intended to be a good approximation of the bridge that existed at the time of the battle, but I haven’t been there.

    Yes, there actually have been several bridges.  The “original” one was built in 1760, and the one pictured above in 1956 (restored in 2005).  For some reason, one of them was actually made of concrete, and sparked a movement to authenticity when it was replaced. 

     

    • #27
  28. MarciN Member
    MarciN
    @MarciN

    This is a painting on the National Guard’s website I cited earlier of the battle scene at the bridge. It shows the bridge planks pulled up by the British. It’s interesting that Buttrick told the Brits to stop removing the planks. Why did he think they might if he asked, I wonder:

    • #28
  29. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    In the final months before the 1945 Trinity atomic test, there was gallows humor among the scientists regarding its likely success. Here’s a stanza of The Ballad of Los Alamos–

    From this crude lab that spawned the dud,

    Their necks to Truman’s axe uncurled

    Here, the embattled savants stood,

    And fired the flop heard ’round the world. 

    • #29