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(27 February 1807 – 24 March 1882 / Portland, Maine)

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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.

I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
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.'

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.

Submitted: Saturday, January 03, 2004

Read poems about / on: peace, christmas, song, despair, hate, sleep, world, god, night

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Comments about this poem (Allah. (From The German Of Mahlmann) by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow )

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  • Drkgbalakrishnan Kandangath (12/25/2013 8:14:00 PM)

    Enjoyed. His poems I like from childhood.
    dr.k.g.balakrishnan (Author- The Hues of the Himalaya(poems) Globally read.26-12-2013

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • * Sunprincess * (12/25/2013 8:50:00 AM)

    I love this poem...I feel the Christmas spirit in this write...
    and it is also inspiring me to write a poem for the season...

  • Michael Moyo (12/25/2013 2:20:00 AM)

    this is great.frankly u inspired me primitive in writing.i hope u can help me

  • Leslie Ramatowski (6/4/2013 11:04:00 AM)

    The two civil war stanzas are missing. They should be included on a site such as this or perhaps both versions offered.

  • Srimayee Ganguly (2/20/2013 1:33:00 AM)

    Feeling very Chrismasssy.......!

  • Srimayee Ganguly (12/25/2012 2:32:00 AM)

    I wrote a poem on Christmas when i was in class V. Here's the poem:

    Again the time of the year came,
    And everything is not the same,
    There is darkness everywhere,
    “I will win peace”, Jesus swear.

    In the stable on the hay
    Near Madonna, Lord Jesus lay,
    Greeting everyone the angel came,
    To receive the calling of the Lord came.

    The shepherds left their sheep,
    And gone to the city deep,
    And came to the spot and did peep,
    And saw the Lord asleep.

    He done what he wanted in Bethlehem.
    And was nailed by Satan’s followers, evil and cruel;
    Everyone unhappy and gloom,
    Jesus we all trust you.

  • Greg Trotter (12/23/2012 8:33:00 AM)

    This isn't actually his poem, these are the words to a hymn based on his poem. The actual poem is longer, and in a different order. It's about Christmas during the Civil War, and the actual poem mentions cannons (something that was edited out for the Christmas carol) .

  • Lenore Lee (2/1/2012 4:24:00 PM)

    This poem is so sad and yet perfectly true. It seems that Christmas, more than any other time of the year mocks one's pain for everyone is singing 'merry' while one only wants to cry in despair. This poem is about depression but also about a dream; a dream of peace on earth and goodwill to men. I hope that one day this dream willl finally come true.

  • Carlos Echeverria (2/1/2012 10:55:00 AM)

    Who hasn't gone through the holiday season with a heavy heart? Longfellow heard the bells in spite of the gloom he felt. He's not preaching religion, but sharing his conflicted experience.

  • Manonton Dalan (2/1/2012 3:12:00 AM)

    we were told that this poem was written
    during civil war at christmas.

Read all 26 comments »

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