The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere Tablescape

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
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 the tower of the Old North Church,
By 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,–
By 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,
Now he 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 lingers 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 mounted 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, black 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 meadow brown.
And one was safe and asleep in his bed
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket ball.

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,
Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,—
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow~

I'll post information on the Crown Ducal, blue transferware dishes later.

Happy Independence Day! 

Joining: Between Naps on the Porch,
 Savvy Southern StyleRomantic Homes504 Main,  Common GroundFeathered Nest Friday,Charm of HomeFunky Junk Interiors No Minimalist HereA Stroll Thru Life,
Blue Creek Home, Coloradolady,

Sources:  Floral arrangement:  by me, flowers from Hobby Lobby
Candles:  Zest Candles  Floating Candles (giveaway coming soon!!!)
Paul Revere Plates:  part of  the Crown Ducal Colonial Scenes series
Blue goblets:  Avon (these have Martha or George Washington cameos on them)
Clear glasses with beaded feet:  vintage, thrift store find
Embroidered napkins:  vintage, thrift store find
Flatware: my everyday, Stockholm by Towle


  1. I love the historic patterns. Beautiful in blue. The glasses match so nicely. Very nice !!!

  2. Wonderful post & no revisionist history either! :)
    I just listed some Liberty Blue today!

  3. I love that poem! I love the dishes and the table setting. How pretty!


  4. Wow...what a great post! And the table is gorgeous!!

  5. Fabulous! I was reciting it along with you. This post is perfect, Nancy. Your table is stunning. What is the glassware? Is that GW embossed on these blue glasses?
    I've a few odd pieces of the Liberty Blue that I pull out for the 4th. This makes me want to look for more. ;-)
    Happy 4th of July! ~ Sarah

  6. Nancy this is the perfect pattern for this holiday and so funny...I love the subtle red white and blue look and your flower arrangement. Looking forward to learning about this pattern. Linda

  7. What a wonderful way to begin thinking about the Holiday weekend! I love that poem and the table is a true inspiration. Thanks for sharing. Sharon in VA

  8. Lovely table, Nancy...
    Great way to begin the long weekend commemorating the Independence of The United States Of America.

  9. Gorgeous Nancy!! Martina

    PS- You had asked me what I meant by old white, it's the paint color I used on my table. It's the new chalk paint and it's so great to work with!

  10. What a fun post! Your table looks beautiful and I liked reading the story along with it. :-)

  11. Nancy, "Historic" post. :) Love it and love how you combined the red and blue transferware. Just beautiful. Did you learn or recite the poem in school? I did! Thank for posting the complete poem.
    Happy Independence Day,

  12. Such a lovely way to celebrate Independence Day! Enjoyed this lovely post. I loved how you incorporated the red and blue transferware and the lovely blue goblets so beautifully with the Midnight Ride poem...lovely patriotic theme. I loved your beautiful linens. Visiting from Sherry's Open House Party.Thanks for sharing this wonderful patriotic table with us. Happy 4th!~Poppy

  13. Beautiful 'Historic' post! Love the blue-red-white combo! It is just stunning:) Thanks for sharing this gorgeous tablescape.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  14. Nancy, This is such a pretty table and I love the plates. I don't think I have ever read or heard the entire poem. Thanks for sharing this at my Open House party.

  15. Nancy, I like how you layered the red and blue transferware to make this such a pretty & patriotic table. I've never seen this pattern before- you have an amazing collection of dinnerware! It's all gorgeous.
    ~ Sue

  16. Breathtaking tablescape and post. I love the transferware. Love the mix of blue and white with the red. Your center piece is beautiful. Perfect elegant setting for the holiday weekend. I'm visiting over from Open House Party.

    The French Hutch

  17. What a wonderful, historic post! When I taught school, I always read that poem to my 5th grade students. Of course, they giggled at the word "Middlesex." I had to explain that it was the name of a town!

  18. Nancy, you set a beautiful and elegant table to celebrate our country's independence.

    Be sure to stop by this week to enter my giveaway.

    Have a great holiday weekend! La

  19. This table is sensational! First of all, I love tables that tell a story. Secondly, the colors are favorites of mine, and those plates! OMG! Amazing. Beautiful, beautiful, I can't say enough.

  20. Feast for the eyes, Nancy! I never tire of looking at tableware....I am a professed, dish girl! Happy Fourth of July to you....thank you for stopping by and saying, "Hello."

  21. tis the season... great looking table!

  22. This is fantastic. A really tasteful patriotic display. I'm really looking forward to reading about the Paul Revere Crown Ducal dishes.
    Happy 4th of July, Nancy.

  23. The post is the most creative I've seen to celebrate Independence Day! I LOVED reading the entire poem. Thank you for sharing your dishware and your talent! The table is beautifully dressed for the day.

  24. Wonderful post. As a Canadian, I am ashamed to say I have never read that poem. It is very moving. I came here to delight my eyes and in addition you delighted and enlightened me with poetry! Thank you and happy 4th of July to you.

  25. Nancy, your table is beautiful...but that centerpiece is simply stunning!

  26. Such a beautiful tablescape and so appropriate for the upcoming holiday! I just love how it tells a story!
    Marianne :)

  27. You can't get any better than a little history and a beautiful tablescape. I love the blue and white and the centerpiece is 4th of July perfect!
    Thanks for linking to THT.

  28. Your table is stunning! I love your plates and stemware!

  29. What a fantastic table for the up and coming Holiday weekend! I love your dishes and the blue glasses!! Great historical post...loved it. Happy VTT!

  30. You set your table really lovely! I love your blue dishes. Great historic post. Thanks for sharing.

  31. How fantastic. This is such an inspiring post. I love your dishes and I appreciate you sharing the entire poem.

  32. Love your table.. The paul revere plates are stunning. As are the goblets. A most beautiful centerpiece! Happy Fourth, many blessings, marlis

  33. Cool Paul Revere plates. Being a Virginian, I wish they made Jack Jouett plates (his ride saved Governor Thms Jefferson and the whole legislature from the oncoming British)

  34. Nancy,
    What a perfect table for the 4th! I love the Paul Revere transferware. Transferware is my favorite table any holiday! Thanks for linking it to Home Sweet Home and have a great 4th weekend!

  35. I love this! Thanks from one Massachusetts patriot to another patriot. Now can you forward this to Sarah Palin so she understands the message? I am keeping this as a bookmark. Ann

  36. The water glasses with the beads at the foot are "Candlewick" by the Imperial Glass Company. Its doors closed around 1984. Cool find.


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