Emerson’s “Concord Hymn” was sung to the tune “Old Hundredth” during the 1837 4th of July celebration in Concord, MA. The day’s festivities marked the dedication of the monument commemorating the battle of Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775, erected near the North Bridge where the initial battle took place. Today the foremost recognizable stanza is inscribed on the base of Daniel Chester French’s Minute Man Statue. Through Emerson’s words, coupled with the scenic surrounding landscape, visitors are able to reflect on the activity of April 19, 1775.
by Ralph Waldo Emerson
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood,
And fired the shot heard round the world.
The foe long since in silence slept;
Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;
And Time the ruined bridge has swept
Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.
On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set to-day a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
Spirit, that made those heroes dare,
To die, and leave their children free,
Bid Time and Nature gently spare
The shaft we raise to them and thee.