Saturday, December 21, 2013

Blog Caroling :: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

150 years ago today . . . on the 21st day of December . . . in the year 1863 . . . in Houston County, Texas . . . James Madison Hall writes in his Journal that he is choosing to record information on a daily basis (1860-1866) for the benefit of those that come after me, in order that they may see some of the benefits that war brings upon the Country and people . . .

On Christmas Day 1863, J.M. Hall will make reference to their Christmas jollification . . . and will state that all went off as merry as a marriage bell . . .

Meanwile, almost two thousand miles away, while listening to the church bells of Cambridge, Massachusetts toll out the glad tidings of Christmas Day . . . Henry Wadsworth Longfellow picks up his pen and writes the following words . . .

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.”

The following video gives a version of the story behind those words, as told by Edward K. Herrmann and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir . . .

See also . . .

Let's go blog-caroling with fM!

1 comment:

Heather Kuhn Roelker said...

My favorite carole. What an interesting clip...thank you for sharing.

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