What are the poetic elements in "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere"?

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kristenfusaro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Longfellow's "The Mignight Ride of Paul Revere" is laden with many literary elements.

First and foremost, we can see that  begins by Longfellow using rhyming couplets in the first stanza. The second stanza he switches his rhyme scheme to ababaabbb. The third stanza reverts back to rhyming couplets, the fourth to abbcabc, etc. It is important to realize that he uses rhyming and that his format switch is purposefully done, as it follows along with the complexity of Paul Revere's physical ride.

Longfellow also uses synecdoche: "For the country folk to be up and to arm," to metaphorically describe how the people will react to the news of the English heading toward the American soldiers. Simile is used to describe the passing of time: "as the moon rose over the bay". To emphasize the mystery, Longfellow also utilizes alliteration: "Wanders and watches with eager ears."