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Whose language is not speech, but song ; | And when he played, the atmosphere
Around him evermore the throng | Was filled with magic, and the ear
Of elves and sprites their dances whirled; Caught echoes of that Harp of Gold,
The Strömkarl sang, the cataract hurled Whose music had so weird a sound,
Its headlong waters from the height; | The hunted stag forgot to bound,
And mingled in the wild delight
The leaping rivulet backward rolled,
The scream of sea-birds in their flight, The birds came down from bush and
The rumour of the forest trees,
tree, The plunge of the implacable seas, The dead came from beneath the sea, The tumult of the wind at night, The maiden to the harper's knee ! Voices of eld, like trumpets blowing, old ballads, and wild melodies
The music ceased; the applause was Through mist and darkness pouring forth, loud, Like Elivagar's river flowing
The pleased musician smiled and bowed ; Out of the glaciers of the North. The wood-fire clapped its hands of flame,
The shadows on the wainscot stirred, The instrument on which he played And from the harpsichord there came Was in Cremona's workshop made, A ghostly murmur of acclaim, By a great master of the past,
A sound like that sent down at night Ere yet was lost the art divine;
By birds of passage in their flight,
Fashioned of maple and of pine,
From the remotest distance heard.
That in Tyrolian forests vast
Had rocked and wrestled with the blast: Then silence followed ; then began
Exquisite was it in design,
A clamour for the Landlord's tale, -
Perfect in each minutest part,
The story promised them of old, A marvel of the lutist's art;
They said, but always left untold; And in its hollow chamber, thus, And he, although a bashful man, The maker from whose bands it came And all his courage seemed to fail, Had written his unrivalled name,
Finding excuse of no avail, “ Antonius Stradivarius."
| Yielded ; and thus the story ran.
LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revére,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.
He said to his friend, “ If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry-arch
Of the North Church tower as a signal light,
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm.
Then he said, “ Good night!” and with muffled oar
Silently rowed to the Charlestown shore,
Just as the moon rose over the bay,
Where swinging wide at her moorings lay
The Somerset, British man-of-war;
A phantom-ship, with each mast and spar
Across the moon like a prison-bar,
And a huge black hulk, that was magnified
By its own reflection in the tide.
Meanwhile, his friend, through alley and street,
Wanders and watches with eager ears,
Till in the silence around him he hears
The muster of men at the barrack-door,
The sound of arms, and the tramp of feet,
And the measured tread of the grenadiers,
Marching down to their boats on the shore.
Then he climbed to the tower of the Old North Church
Up the wooden stairs, with stealthy tread,
To the belfry-chamber overhead,
And startled the pigeons from their perch
On the sombre rafters, that round him made
Masses and moving shapes of shade,--
Up the trembling ladder, steep and tall,
To the highest window in the wall,
Where he paused to listen and look down
A moment on the roofs of the town,
And the moonlight flowing over all.
Beneath, in the churchyard, lay the dead,
In their night-encampment on the hill,
Wrapped in silence so deep and still
That he could hear, like a sentinel's tread,
The watchful night-wind, as it went,
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, “ All is well!”
A moment only he feels the spell
Of the place and the hour, and the secret dread
Of the lonely belfry and the dead;
For suddenly all his thoughts are bent
On a shadowy something far away,
Where the river widens to meet the bay,
A line of black that bends and floats
On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.
Meanwhile, impatient to mount and ride,
Booted and spurred, with a heavy stride
On the opposite shore walked Paul Revere.
Now he patted his horse's side,
" The fate of a nation was riding that night.” The Wayside Inn.
Now gazed at the landscape far and near,
Then, impetuous, stamped the earth,
And turned and tightened his saddle-girth;
But mostly he watched with eager search
The belfry tower of the Old North Church,
As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral, and sombre and still.
And lo! as he looks, on the belfry's height
A glimmer, and then a gleam of light!
He springs to the saddle, the bridle he turns,
But singers and gazes, till full on his sight
A second lamp in the belfry burns !
A hurry of hoofs in a village street,
A shape in the moonlight, a bulk in the dark,
And beneath, from the pebbles, in passing, a spark
Struck out by a steed flying fearless and fleet;
That was all! And yet, through the gloom and the light,
The fate of a nation was riding that night;
And the spark struck out by that steed in his flight,
Kindled the land into flame with its heat.
He has left the village and mountea the steep,
And beneath him, tranquil and broad and deep,
Is the Mystic, meeting the ocean tides;
And under the alders, that skirt its edge,
Now soft on the sand, now loud on the ledge,
Is heard the tramp of his steed as he rides.
It was twelve by the village clock,
When he crossed the bridge into Medford town.
He heard the crowing of the cock,
And the barking of the farmer's dog,
And felt the damp of the river fog,
That rises after the sun goes down.
It was one by the village clock,
When he galloped into Lexington.
He saw the gilded weathercock
Swim in the moonlight as he passed,
And the meeting-house windows, blank and bare
Gaze at him with a spectral glare,
As if they already stood aghast
At the bloody work they would look upon.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.