14 December 2007

Most Favorite Christmas Song #3

Written in 1864, the next song was a penned cry of sorrow from its author. Song Number Three on the most favorite list is "I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. There are three different arrangements of this song, but my favorite was composed by Johnny Marks.

The words are teeming with gloom. While the rarely-sung fourth and fifth stanzas refer to the Civil War, we can still use them as metaphors for all the tumult in the world today. The song's sadness crescendos with the following stanza:
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."
But it's the next verse that is the reason this song resonates so strongly with me. After all hope seemed lost, after the last flicker of goodness seemed extinguished, this is how Longfellow ends:
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!"
To truly feel the despair and the hope conveyed in this song, I strongly recommend that you listen to the Harry Belafonte recording.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

or...OR...Sarah McLaughlin's version too. ^_^

The Diarist said...

Having listened to the Sarah McLaughlin version, I stand by my assertion that the Harry Belafonte version is better. So there. :-P

The Diarist said...

And pick a Nickname already. This anonymous shit is just rude.