Did you know Henry Wadsorth Longfellow wrote, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" to deal with TWO tragedies? In 1861, he lost his wife in a terrible, fiery accident, and then in 1862 his son enlisted in the army without dad's permission. In '63, the boy was severely wounded in battle. He lived but was never the same. On Christmas Day of 1863, like so many writers do, Henry sat down and poured out his heart on paper. The thing that has always struck me about the poem is the indomitable hope with which it ends. Henry was bruised, battered, heartbroken...but not defeated. His Savior lived and Henry's hope sprang eternal. With all the weirdness and stress infecting the world, it seemed appropriate to share, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" with you all. Let your hope spring up, as well! ~~~~ 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."
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