Then Pealed the Bells

December 8, 2011

By 1864, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow had achieved wide renown and a successful income through his poetry.  While the world acclaimed him as an American success, his own heart bore the weight of tragedy.  His wife, Frances, had died three years prior, and the future seemed bleak as their eldest son trudged across the battlefields of the Civil War.  Yet, on that Christmas Day of 1864, Longfellow penned the words which later became a classic holiday hymn.  May this song inspire you (as it does me) to rejoice in every circumstance, for “God is greater than our heart” (I John 3:20).

Illustrator: Antoinette Inglis

“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.”

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One Response to “Then Pealed the Bells”

  1. I don’t recall reading that one before. Thanks for posting it!

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