A Bit of History and Poetry - Studyville

A Bit of History and Poetry

“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”, a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, was written in the middle of deep crisis, sorrow, and hopelessness. Have you read it? Have you heard the song?

Longfellow was mourning the violent death of his wife (a grief he feared would send him to an asylum), and his son had been severely wounded fighting for the Union during the Civil War. These were his burdens as he listened to the church bells on Christmas Eve in 1863, yet what he wrote down is celebrated for being a testament to the human spirit as it restlessly seeks hope.

I encourage you to read his words, see the parallels of our own time, and remember that Hope never abandons anyone.

“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.”

This post was written by Studyville tutor, C. Jaye Miller. Click the link below to book a session with her!