What's in a Name?
Helen F. More
[Before the battle of Lexington, William Dawes and Paul Revere were both despatched to rouse the country, Dawes starting first.]
I am a wandering, bitter shade,
Never of me was a hero made;
Poets have never sung my praise,
Nobody crowned my brow with bays;
And if you ask me the fatal cause,
I answer only, "My name was Dawes."
'Tis all very well for the children to hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere;
But why should my name be quite forgot,
Who rode as boldly and well, God wot?
Why should I ask? The reason is clear --
My name was Dawes and his Revere.
When the lights from the old North Church flashed out,
Paul Revere was waiting about,
But I was already on my way.
The shadows of night fell cold and gray
As I rode, with never a break or pause;
But what was the use, when my name was Dawes!
History rings with his silvery name;
Closed to me are the portals of fame.
Had he been Dawes and I Revere,
No one had heard of him, I fear.
No one has heard of me because
He was Revere and I was Dawes.
Note: This appears online several places under the title, The Midnight Ride of William Dawes. The credit is almost always given to "Helen F. Moore." However, we have tracked down an online archive of the 1896 volume of Century Magazine where the poem was originally published, and have reproduced the title, author, and poem as it originally appeared. A search suggests the author published a few other items, mostly prose, using the same spelling of her name.