Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Saturday Night: Yuletide Delight

Don't know how, don't know why, but this horse-drawn equipage was going down the road in front of us as we came home through downtown Eagle, Idaho, Saturday night. The splendid white rumps and fetlocks shone in the headlights. I don't remember seeing a horse with quite these spectacular markings, and there were two of them! The vehicle reminded me of early cars, which were copied from horse-drawn vehicles in the beginning of the automobile era. 
The pace was slow and stately, which just gave me time to boot up the phone camera for a couple of quick and blurry shots--just as they turned off the main road onto a side street. 
This got me in the holiday mood! I want to go for a ride!

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day

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!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,
A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will 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, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born

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, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)
(Written on Christmas Day, 1863 in the midst of the American Civil War.)

This is a fine piece of writing, in a very consistent and pleasing form, by one of our classic Great American Poets.The poem wasn't set to music until about 1872 and has been set to other tunes and recorded many times in many different styles. I remember singing this many times as a child; it was a pleasure to re-encounter it every year. Singing Christmas music was one of my greatest pleasures when I was young.

I had forgotten the part about the cannons from the South. Our country has been through many trials and this war was one of the greatest of them. The longing for a peaceful world still exists everywhere, but we do not seem to be able to get there. 

Have a splendid holiday season, wherever you are and however you celebrate!

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