Explain "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" through Longfellow's use of poetic elements.


In addition to the answer by akannan, which is an excellent answer, you may find that your teacher is interested in your knowing about different types of poetic devices.

Longfellow is using a type of rhythm in the poem that reminds you of the galloping beat of the horses hooves. 9 syllables per line is almost iambic pentameter which should contain 10 syllables per line with a stressed and unstressed syllable per "meter foot".

Longfellow uses his stanzas to group different phases of Paul Revere's ride together. His stanzas are not of consistent length, but the length of each stanza either moves the reader along or slows the reader down to emphasize the passage of time.

He also used a variety of poetic devices to convey urgency and fear to the reader regarding the epic ride of Paul Revere.

The watchful night-wind, as it went
Creeping along from tent to tent,
And seeming to whisper, "All is well!"


A line of black, that bends and floats

On the rising tide, like a bridge of boats.


As it rose above the graves on the hill,
Lonely and spectral and somber and still.


Longfellow uses extended simile and metaphors to make comparisons that stick in your mind. There is a thrill of doing this rushed thing by moonlight only. The comparisons are easily remembered and quoted to this day.

Longfellow ends his poem with an open rather than a closed syllable allowing you to have your mouth open at the end of the poem. This gives the reader a feeling of exhaustion and even allows a sigh. It is as though the reader has been on the ride with Paul Revere.

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