I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day poem was written by the American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. It was first published in the year 1863, which later became a popular Christmas Carol. Also, read Frosty The Snowman Song.

Right before writing the poem, the poet suffered the death of his wife of eighteen years. And right after that, his son joined the army when the American Civil War broke out. The author too felt the despair, but as the poem suggests, he found his peace soon.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day Song

i heard the bells on christmas day

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I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, goodwill 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, goodwill to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night today,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, goodwill 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, goodwill to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlornly
The households born
Of peace on earth, goodwill 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, goodwill to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleeps;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, goodwill to men.”


The poem begins with the poet talking about the church bells ringing before Christmas day. He writes that he could hear the same, familiar tunes. The repetitive words and tunes seemed to say “peace be with you.”

Next, the poet talks about how the world simply goes round and round, day and night singing and merry until Christmas day. But then, the poem turns and darkens for a bit, showing the despair and pain in the world. The poet talks about the cannons which blast away from their black mouths. The poet even calls these mouths “accursed black mouths”. You may also like to read, Twas The Night Before Christmas Poem.

He then speaks of the deafening sound, which also kills many people. What the poet is trying to show is the massacre created by the cannons. This feeling becomes more evident when the poet uses the sentence, “there is no peace on earth.”

And as the poet bowed his head in despair, he heard the bells louder than before. The bells chimed and rang and appeared to be saying that “God is not dead, and he doesn’t sleep either.” He also understood that the wrong will always be wrong, and the good things in this world will always prevail.