VISTAS: An awareness of a range of time, events, or subjects. A broad Mental View.

Concord Hymn

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.

This hymn, not at all typical of Emerson's work in prose or verse, seems to survive in spite of itself, an occasional poem that has so outlived its occasion that many readers will not know which Concord is involved, or why. Even more will not be able to remember any of the stanzas beyond the first, on which rests all of the poem's fame.