I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote the poem Christmas Bells, now known to most as the lyrics to the Christmas Carol I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, in 1864, in the middle of the American Civil War. Both his sons were soldiers, the war was grim, and Longfellow in a despairing mood.

The poem has a strong antiwar quality, in a style which is more of a lament than an obvious protest song. Although not particularly religious, it ends on a note of faithful hope and seems to be an affirmation of belief:

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, goodwill to men"