Henry's Page

This page is dedicated to one of our family members, the famous poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Henry is in our Wadsworth line.  The words to the music you are hearing were written by him and are written below, along with a couple of extra verses, usually left out of most hymn books.  It is also interesting to note that Henry's son was in the Civil War and injured during the time this song was written.            

 

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

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.

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.”

Historical Note: This hymn was written during the American Civil War, as reflected by the sense of despair in the next to last stanza. Stanzas 4-5 speak of the battle, and are usually omitted from hymnals:

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.

 


                                                               Click here to visit the a great site for more about cousin Henry:

 

                                   

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