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Analysis and comments on Concord Hymn by Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Comment 12 of 22, added on March 31st, 2008 at 2:30 PM.

This poem was written by Emerson to commemorate the raising of a monument
to the Battle of Lexington and Concord, April 19, 1775.

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood" - an old definition of the word
"rude" is "unpolished" or "rudimentary" -- a handmade bridge going over the
Concord River.

"Their flag to April's breeze unfurled" - with their flag waving in the
April breeze

"Here once the embattled farmers stood" - self explanatory, the "here" is
the banks of Concord River by the bridge

"And fired the shot heard round the world" - the shot was reported (not
physically heard, of course) all over the world; it let the British know
that they were going to have trouble on their hands, and gave downtrodden
people in oppressed nations hope in their own struggles.

"The foe long since in silence slept" - As the dedication ceremony is
taking place, the British who fought at the Battle of Lexington and Concord
are long dead

"Alike the conqueror silent sleeps" - Just as above, the Colonists who
fought and died in this battle have been dead for a long time before the
monument ceremony.

"And time the ruined bridge has swept down the dark stream that seaward
creeps" -- the passage of time has swept the original, ruined bridge, which
fell into the river, away to the sea.

"By these green banks, by this soft stream we set today a votive stone" At
the ceremony, they are placing a monument by the River to commemorate the

"That memory may their deeds redeem when, like our sires, our sons are
gone" --the monument is being placed in the hopes that the heroic deeds of
the embattled farmers shall be called to mind and remembered, even after
the deaths of the children of the generation of people who are placing the
monument, who acknowledge that their parents ("sires") have already died.

"Spirit, that made those heroes dare to die and leave their children free"
- Emerson is talking about the courage of the farmers who dared to fight
the British soldiers knowing that they themselves would probably perish,
but nevertheless so committed to the cause of freedom that they determined
they would lay down their own lives in order to secure freedom for the next
generation ("their children") and beyond.

"Bid time and nature gently spare the shaft we raise to them and thee"
Emerson is asking the Spirit (higher power, or God) to instruct time and
nature to preserve the monument ("shaft") that is being erected in memory
of the heroes of the Battle and in honor of the Sprit (higher power, or

Karen from United States
Comment 11 of 22, added on February 13th, 2007 at 5:18 PM.

whos to know whats in the mind of a great poet? no one, but we can try to
interpret the meaning and make it our own...it can be rewarding

Merman from United States
Comment 10 of 22, added on March 22nd, 2006 at 4:08 PM.

dude i think that poem is not elementryish i mean really guys come on and
give the guy some clap for what he did goodness i mean really ya guys must
be horrible if ya think thats bad.....

wtf from Australia
Comment 9 of 22, added on January 13th, 2006 at 3:17 PM.

In times past!
We have all known about the conflict of might!
And how a stronghold was broken at last!
When America asserted her might!
How a shot was heard around the world!
And then America her Glory unfurled!
Freedom found true freedom!
Peace found true peace!
And Ralph Waldo Emerson His talent he did release!
Don't judge the heart of a poet!
Or God could pronounce you unrelavant before you know it!
It tiz a noble endeavor!
And at times can be clever!
If war!
If a personal score!
If love!
If regret!
Ralph Waldo Emerson is one of the best poets yet!
And the thoughts of a man are like deep water!
But God draws them out just like he created the oceans of water!
So write a poem or two!
won't you?
And you will see!
It is better to write than to critisize Ralph or me!
And if you meet the God of the Universe!
He will in this voice with you rehearse!
So learn and read some verse!
And never curse!
the shot that was heard around the world is still be
heard today!
It is just another battlefield I say!
So listen for the voice that doth glisten!
And really listen!
And you will hear the Spirit heard around the world!
And then a Heavenly Glory infurled!
And then my friend God will change your world!

Art Speakman from United States
Comment 8 of 22, added on November 28th, 2005 at 10:23 PM.

Just a small addition to what Kevin had to say about "Concord Hymn." For
any of you who need help with this poem, I hope you may find this useful.

Ralph Waldo Emerson was a Transcendentalist. In Transcendentalism, one
believes that there exists an omnipresent divine spirit which is shared by
humankind and nature. Although this poem does not depict nature in
relation to humans, Emerson does note a Spirit that drove the homespun
Americans to fight at Concord, and I think that he may be referring to this
oversoul, if not God. Transcendentalism also puts an emphasis on
individualism, self-trust, self-reliance, self-sufficiency. Succinctly
put, it's partly about independence, which is the core reason for the
American Revolution (the Battle of Concord was the first American victory,
Lexington was the first battle, Kevin). The relation of Transcendentalism
to the poem in those respects should be evident that it is written to honor
the men who fought for American freedom and independence.

"the shot heard round the world" is a figure of speech that Emerson uses to
describe the effects of that battle. Obviously, this showdown between
Britain and America was of great importance. Just a little history behind
the battle: In April 1775 the British commander in Boston sent troops to
Concord... They fought at Lexington, (and killed so many with so few
casualties of their own that some consider it a massacre) then moved on to
Concord, where they were forced to retreat by the "homespun Americans," a
term used to describe the home-made way of life that many Americans led in
this revolutionary period. The battle is described as a "shot," which is a
fabulous example of a metonymy, which is a figure of speech in which an
attribute is substituted for the whole (such as "crown" to represent a
monarchy, if that better explains it...). Then, for it to be "heard round
the world" showed that the battle definately attracted a great deal of
attention. The sound of a shot is sharp, piercing, and distinct. It rings
out and the echo lingers, as does the memory of the men who fought for our
country's liberty.

Chelsea-ann from United States
Comment 7 of 22, added on November 22nd, 2005 at 1:03 PM.

Who is to know what was in the heart of this great poet unless they were

Amber from United States
Comment 6 of 22, added on November 16th, 2005 at 7:10 PM.

First I'd like to say that every so far who has commented on this forum,
except Kevin, is stupid and immature. Shut the hell up or actually say
something meaningful.

Emerson wrote this poem to touch the hearts of those effected by this
battle; the grieving mothers, and now fatherless children. The words of
this poem strike soundly and if you ever hear it sung, please listen to it.
Put to a slow rhythm, the words begin to have a greater effect. Emerson is
a great poet for taking the time to give so much comfort to the poeple

John from United States
Comment 5 of 22, added on October 13th, 2005 at 5:45 PM.

Bif, obviously you're elementary on poems. whoever said a poem needs good
rythm to convey a good message?

PoetMaster6000 from United States
Comment 4 of 22, added on October 10th, 2005 at 9:11 AM.

You all need help. Bif, Emerson is considered one of the greatest poets of
his time, if not his generation. If you want to criticize a poet read some

Kevin you want to hook a brother up with some Emerson info? I'm doin a
report and need some help.

Ryan from United States
Comment 3 of 22, added on March 11th, 2005 at 10:46 AM.

I believe that this poem was incredibaly well written, even though Kevin
seemed to help me better undersatand the meaning, Thank You Kevin. Kevin
you have opened my eyes to a newer and better future of poetry. Your an

Kelmatt from United States

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Information about Concord Hymn

Poet: Ralph Waldo Emerson
Poem: Concord Hymn
Added: Feb 21 2003
Viewed: 1590 times
Poem of the Day: May 9 2006

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