It's Christmas 1863, the American Civil war rages and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow sits alone, contemplating the last couple years. Summer 1961 his wife's dress caught on fire and she died the next morning. He sustained burns trying to put out the flames (bad enough for him to give up shaving and begin the use of Laudanum.) After seven years of courting Frances Appleton and about eighteen years of marriage, he was devastated by his loss.
Now, he's just received news that his son has been badly wounded in battle.
So he sits down and writes a poem.
Their old, familiar carols play,
- and wild and sweet
- The words repeat
The belfries of all Christendom
- Had rolled along
- The unbroken song
The world revolved from night to day,
- A voice, a chime,
- A chant sublime
The cannon thundered in the South,
- And with the sound
- The carols drowned
The hearth-stones of a continent,
- And made forlorn
- The households born
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
- "For hate is strong,
- And mocks the song
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
- The Wrong shall fail,
- The Right prevail,
What is one of your favorite "traditional" Christmas poems or Carols? Or, if you love this song as much as me, which is your favorite version?
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