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Flowers left for William Dawes
"In 1775, before the battle of Lexington, William Dawes and Paul Revere were dispatched to rouse the country. Samuel Prescott joined in route. They ran into a British patrol and Revere was captured. Dawes and Prescott got away. Revere was held, but convinced the British that they were too late; the people were already aware and getting ready to defend them. His captors confirmed that he was indeed telling the truth and released him." This poem by John Hermanson, William Dawes Ride, remembers the events of the day and salutes the unsung heroes William Dawes and Mark the Slave. Listen my children in peace and aweOf the midnight ride of William Dawes,On the eighteenth of April in Seventy-five.Hardly a man who is listening hereRemembers Dawes' name before Paul Revere's. Billy Dawes: he sprang from patriot's blood,His grandfather head of the Caucus Club,With Otis and Adams and Hancock and all.They would meet in Dawes' garret awaiting a call. Young Billy he married a Roxbury gal,Mehitable May –he married well.Squire May's great house on the Boston Neck,And George's Tavern just over the line,Where Billy would go to tip a few;With Heath and Mears and the Roxbury Crew;Billy crossed over the neck ‘most every day'.He drank with the guards at the Boston Gate.They'd let him pass through even when it was late. By seventy-five the die was cast,But just to even the odds,Young Billy purloined in the darkest night,From the Ancient and Honorable Armory tightTwo canons they nicknamed the Hancock" and "Adams"To Waltham with them-that's part of the story:On the Nineteenth those canons brought Patriots' glory. Billy Dawes was well known in quite a few pubs;One night, the Sun Tavern where drunk, Brits caroused.Was he spying on Lobsters? Or was he but soused?Ask Joseph Warren, who got Billy's report:The Redcoats were marching on Concord in force. T'was April eighteen, and getting towards ten,When brave Joseph Warren at last gave his call.Ride to Roxbury, Brookline, Cambridge and all,Warn Adams and Hancock in Lexington, thenSave the gunpowder stored in Old Concord Town,And bring back the canons from Waltham tonight.We'll use them to give those damned Redcoats a fight.One went by land and one by sea,Two men on opposite shores would be:Revere would row across the Charles,And Dawes would ride through Roxbury. T'was late, and a curfew made it hard For Dawes to ride through Boston Streets,Then on to the Gate to Boston Neck."Who goes?' the British sentry cried."Tis I, old buddy," young Billy replied."The gate is closed" the sergeant said."Oh, let him through," another pleads,"It is only Billy Dawes." Past the wilds of the Neck, past George Tavern Dawes rode."Ring the toxin! Rouse the Heath! And spread the alarmTo every Norfolk and Suffolk village and farm!March to Concord," he cried "They need your help there."Then past the First Church and the Old Parting Stone,To the right, Muddy river, then on to the Charles.To the Great Bridge to Cambridge, there tear up the planksTo cut off a British retreat in their ranks.Then past Cambridge Common where hoof prints in brassToday mark the route to Menotomy's past. Revere got to Lexington faster than Dawes.Sam Adams and Hancock were wakened and warned,Then onward towards Concord rode Dawes and RevereWhen suddenly Brits in the road did appearTo seize Paul Revere and to give Dawes a chase.Billy gave them the slip and was soon in the clear. Then the church bells from Concord showed that town was aroused,So to Waltham instead for the canons Dawes Rode:Thus the "Adams" and "Hancock" came back to Great Bridge.Turned the flank of British defeat to a rout. Then how to judge Revere and Dawes? And How to judge their rides and deeds?They are the glory of our past,But also symbols of flaws. Billy Dawes had ridden ‘cross Boston Neck,Through the Gate, past gallows on Hangman's Bay,Where British hanged pirates and rebels alike,Left their bodies to rot warning to allWho would seek their own freedom from order and law. And over in Charlestown Paul Revere, tooHe rowed past a gibbet. On it hung a cage,Inside rotting remains of poor Mark the slave,Chains wrapt ‘round his corpse for all there to gauge,To set an example to those who might fight For freedom beyond what they rode tonight. Let us honor Revere, then, deserved of his fame.Let us honor Bill Dawes, ‘least remember his name.Let us honor , too, Mark ‘twas for freedom he died,While the other two lived to look back on their ride.
- Julie
 Added: Oct. 6, 2008

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