One if by Land, Two if by Sea

The alert – a simple signal sent by two lanterns from the North Church Tower launched Paul Revere on his famous midnight ride, and America became a nation.

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One if by land, two if by sea,
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country folk to be up and to arm.”

You know the rest. In the books you have read
How the British Regulars fired and fled,—
How the farmers gave them ball for ball,
From behind each fence and farmyard wall,

Chasing the redcoats down the lane,
Then crossing the fields to emerge again
Under the trees at the turn of the road,
And only pausing to fire and load.

– from Paul Revere’s Ride, Longfellow