Concord HymnBy 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 that 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 raised to them and thee.Ralph Waldo Emerson
"And Time the ruined bridge has swept . . . " The landscape surrounding the North Bridge area has changed considerably since "the embattled farmers stood." Farms have been abandoned. The old bridge was dismantled and old roads have disappeared.
"We set to-day a votive stone . . . " Other changes were the deliberate work of reverent townsfolk seeking to celebrate and understand our revolutionary past. The North Bridge sits in a 19th-century commemorative landscape. Two grand rows of trees create a ceremonial entrance from the east. The bridge and the monuments embody the ideals and self-government embraced by the Patriots in 1775.
In 1837, the first monument was dedicated on the site. Since there was no bridge at that time, it was placed on the "British" side, which was closest to town. During the dedication ceremony, the "Concord Hymn" by Ralph Waldo Emerson was sung, forever linking the phrase, "the shot heard round the world" with the North Bridge fight.