This poem was first distributed as a leaflet on the occasion of the dedication of a monument (July 4, 1837) commemorating the battle of Lexington and Concord. However, since the cornerstone of the monument was laid late in 1836 and the monument carries the date 1836, some printed versions of the poem give that date. The poem was not printed again until it was included in Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Poems (1847). The poem’s original title was replaced in subsequent years by the now commonly accepted title “Concord Hymn.” This short poem is composed of four stanzas of quatrains written in iambic tetrameter rhythm. The alternating lines rhyme in a pattern of abab.
In the first stanza Emerson briefly reenacts the early American Revolution battle that took place at Concord bridge on April 19, 1775. The first line describes the location as being by an arched, rustic (“rude”) bridge crossing a stream. Patriotic dedication is expressed in the subsequent line, “Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled.” The release of the flag to the wind symbolizes the fact that there is no going back to the conditions preceding this battle. The third line emphasizes the location by repeating the word “Here.” The phrase “the embattled farmers” reminds the reader that the Americans were soldier-farmers fighting a professional British army. The most famous line of the poem, “And fired the shot heard round the world,” expresses another anomaly:...
(The entire section is 557 words.)