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Friday, December 25, 2015

The Bells of Christmas Day--


                  Christmas Bells

    I heard the bells on Christmas Day
    Their old, familiar carols play,
        And wild and sweet
        The words repeat
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And thought how, as the day had come,
    The belfries of all Christendom
       Had rolled along
       The unbroken song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Till ringing, singing on its way,
    The world revolved from night to day,
photo of cannon at Chancellorsville battlefield        A voice, a chime,
       A chant sublime
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    Then from each black, accursed mouth
    The cannon thundered in the South,
        And with the sound
        The carols drowned
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    It was as if an earthquake rent
    The hearth-stones of a continent,
        And made forlorn
        The households born
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

    And in despair I bowed my head;
    "There is no peace on earth," I said;
        "For hate is strong,
        And mocks the song
    Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

    Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
    "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
        The Wrong shall fail,
        The Right prevail,
    With peace on earth, good-will to men."


--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1864


Longfellow wrote "Christmas Bells" in the winter of the third year of the Civil War, shortly after receiving news that his son Charles Appleton had been critically wounded during the the Mine Run Campaign.
I wish you all to have a peaceful Christmas, or whatever holiday you chose to celebrate.

Cited...

The poet doesn't invent. He listens. ~Jean Cocteau