Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Bells / Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

       
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,
      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, Christmas 1864
from Household Poems, 1865

[Poem is in the public domain worldwide]

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow biography

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