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I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

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"I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day" is a Christmas song, composed by Johnny Marks to the words of a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. His poem, "Christmas Bells," is about hope in dark places and was written in 1864 during the American Civil War. It was written as Longfellow dealt with the grief from the loss of his son in that war.

The poem was set to music shortly thereafter, and in 1956, Marks composed a new melody for the first two stanzas of the song, adapting the words slightly as necessary. The song has become a Christmas standard, with recorded versions by many artists, including Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, and Burl Ives.

Lyrics

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on Earth good will to men
I thought as now this day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rung so long the unbroken song
Of peace on Earth good will 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 good will to men
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead or doth He sleep
The wrong shall fail the right prevail
With peace on Earth good will to men

Appearances in Christmas specials

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