Get out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.
It was two by the village clock,
When he came to the bridge in Concord town.
He heard the bleating of the flock,
And the twitter of birds among the trees,
And felt the breath of the morning breeze
Blowing over the meadows brown.
- Another hour, another town. Now Paul is in Concord, the setting of another battle on that famous day (together they are called the Battles of Lexington and Concord).
- More natural details here, as with the other two towns. Paul hears the sound of sheep ("bleating of the flock") and birds, and feels the first breeze of morning (which seems weird, given that it's only 2am).
And one was safe and asleep in his bed.
Who at the bridge would be first to fall,
Who that day would be lying dead,
Pierced by a British musket-ball.
- This is a sad little side story, as the narrator imagines the man who will die first in the next day's battle. We know he will die, but that night he is still safe and warm in bed.
- Like with the windows in Lexington, Longfellow is playing with time here.