LONGFELLOW: (Stops, walks towards side of desk. Places poem down and picks up a telegram.)
LONGFELLOW: But then another bell broke the reverie. Our shiny, little front door bell. An urgent, high-pitched ringing, that little bell. And a knocking. A knocking like someone wanted to break down the door. I rushed out and opened the front door.
A Union soldier stood there, this telegram in his hand (Holds up telegram). I could tell it was from Union Army Headquarters. It’s the kind of thing you think only happens to other people. But when you see that particular messenger at your particular door, well, I don’t mind telling you, it sent a chill down my back. My hand trembled as I received the telegram. And I said, before I opened it, just as I said to you, ‘Of all the days, Christmas.’
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 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.