The opening line of “Paul Revere’s Ride” basically calls the people to come in close to listen: “Listen my children and you will hear …” It’s like a game of telephone. Listen to my story. Pass it on. Tell them to pass it on. These are not history lessons. These are myths, legends, pass it on. Most of his stuff comes off much better when read out loud.Wray Herbert’s “The Midnight Ride Effect” in Scientific American:
“Paul Revere’s Ride” played fast and loose with the facts of the now famous 1775 events, but the narrative had the psychological effect the author intended. It got Americans wondering how history might have turned out differently without that heroic act—and how the country might never have come to exist. By focusing on the nation’s precarious origins, the poem bolstered nationalism at a time when it was sorely needed.