“Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting with the gift of speech.”
- Simonides of Ceos

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Sunday, December 20, 2015

"Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Written on Christmas Day in 1863 during the heat of the Civil War by American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, "Christmas Bells" is perhaps more well-known in the form of the Christmas carol "I Heard The Bells on Christmas Day". Organist John Baptiste Calkin set the poem to music in 1872 and it has been since performed and recorded by dozens of artists.

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Program Credits

Announcer: Thomas Lamar
Narrator: B.J. Harrison
Composer: Jared DePasquale
Sound Design & Mixing: Andrew Riffenburgh
Photography: Kristin Rollins (Adapted and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic license.)
Producer/Director: J.D. Sutter

The Story Behind The Poem
Entry on Wikipedia for "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day", the Christmas carol based on the poem
Entry on Wikipedia for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Bio of Longfellow on The Poetry Foundation

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AHenry_Wadsworth_Longfellow.jpg

"Christmas Bells" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

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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