Five Golden Rings!

I always cry when we sing the fourth verse of  "I heard the bells on Christmas Day!"  When I was about five or six, my siblings would laugh at me and I translated both that, and the crying into the idea that I didn't like the song.  So for many years this gorgeous hymn was chalked down on my 'disliked songs' list and I never sang it because it always made me cry and by the time we reached verse four (which to me was the climax) I was sobbing so hard I couldn't even voice the song!  I was a child at the time and it wasn't so much the song itself that I hated, but the very fact that I could not express why I was so moved to tears over it.  All I could tell myself (though not in the same words) was that something was lost during the first three verses and then found again in the fourth in a joyful reunion though not untouched by sadness.  Of course, I felt silly telling this to my family and all they got from me was that I thought it was a very sad song!  I always associate the fifth verse with tasting salt on my tongue and the feel of tears drying on one's cheeks.  This verse, I felt, was the one happy verse in the song.  Everything was resolved and made whole again and somehow, it all seemed glorious; that was the best word I could think of!
  Even now, I cry when I sing that song, though my tears are not as profuse as they used to as life has taught me to control my emotions better. But now, I understand why I cry!
   When I was younger, I didn't understand most the words.  All I really remember catching from the song are the third verse, the fourth verse and the first couple of lines of the fifth verse!  The truth is, that John Baptiste Calkin really captured the spirit of the song with his tune, Waltham.  And I, but a small child, through that tune, felt the same sorrow and joy over the song as Longfellow must have felt as he penned the song!  -  Below, I have shared a video which, I believe, conveys the spirit of the song as it was meant to be, along with an excellent retelling of its history!  They only sing three of the verses, however, and I'll post all of them below, in the order I have grown up singing them so that you all know which verses I have been referring to!
 
 Verse 1
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
 Verse 2
 I thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th'unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.
 Verse 3
 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."
Verse 4
 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."
Verse 5
 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!
 
And, for good measure, here is another one with most of the verses!
 
  I could not find a single video with all five verses with the right tune! They're all singing this version by 'Casting Crowns' which, I feel, can't even begin to compete with Calkin!  Oh, the emotions are there alright. (Modern music is good at getting feelings) But the emotions are only surface deep; they don't bring with them the meaning or inspiration. 
   I often find that a way a song makes you feel is a good indication of whether it is good or bad.  Some songs make you feel like you can do anything you want and nobody matters but yourself. Others (CCM is especially guilty of this) make you want to lift your hands and get lost in the worship, or whatever it is you're singing about, but it doesn't do anything more! Yet others, and this is my favorite music, gives you a rising feeling in your chest and you suddenly want to go finish that science problem you didn't feel like doing, or completing that chore you did in a slovenly manner. It makes your life, however horrid, seem wonderful and, I think, for a moment gives you a respite from the 'enchantment' that the devil throws over our eyes and we see the futility of evil and the utter greatness of doing what is right!  -  I really mean it, too! If ever you have that wish to do something wrong and try to fight it but your flesh has got the upper hand, then arise, and take up Handel's Messiah! By the time you've listened to the first few sections, I can almost guarantee you that your wish to do evil will have dissipated into a new resolve to press on in the name of Christ and win the crown for His sake! Just, try it if you don't believe me!  
   Like any other weapon, music is a powerful tool, and can either be used for good, or for evil!...In the case of this hymn, it was used to convey the struggle of Longfellow with his hardships, and his final victory over them; knowing that:
                                   "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep,
                   The Wrong shall fail,
                                    The Right prevail,
                         With Peace on earth, goodwill towards men!"

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