I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
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"