Christmas bells

"Christmas hamsters" illustration, original artwork for a greeting card published by Camden Graphics Ltd. Part of an exhibition called "The Art of Christmas" (see previous post).

"Christmas Bells" , a poem by Longfellow composed on Christmas Day 1864.

"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!

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!"


  1. I love the rhythm in Longfellow's poems.


  2. Those merry hamsters make me sooo happy! Thanks for sharing this cheery illustration! I adore the longfellow poem too.

  3. The cannons in the south, Makes me think he referring to the American Civil War, still going on at the time he wrote this.

    Your hamsters are cute. I know a certain hamster and guinea pig lover who would squeal over them!

  4. Your hamsters are so enchanting and captivating... a joy to behold!

  5. Dana,

    The poem originally had two extra verses which made reference to the civil war. The poet wrote it after the loss of his wife and the wounding of his son, who was a soldier.

    I decided to publish the more well known version.

  6. Hello Acorn Moon,
    Really love your work.

    Your hamsters make me think of the episode in The Wind in the Willows where the Field Mice come to Mole End to sing carols. There's a lovely poem/carol in that chapter too.

    Have you ever illustrated The Wind in the Willows? I could really imagine your paintings in there! (I've looked around your website, but computer is running slow at present and everything is taking ages to show on screen! I'll come back later).

  7. Oh Valerie, what magical hamsters! I absolutely love this picture.x

  8. The hamsters are beautiful, just love their sparkling eyes. Glad you enjoyed your trip to London.

  9. I've neglected Longfellow - maybe we all have. Thanks for bringing him back in time for Christmas.

  10. They are DEAR! Your artwork is always inspiring~
    Thank you for the beautiful Longfellow poem~ always current & endearing.
    Hope you have a beautiful day~

  11. What a wonderful poem I hadn't seen it before. The hamsters are so cute. Glad you had a great time in London. Thanks for your kind comment - I hope you and your family have wonderful Christmas:)

  12. Thank you for reminding me of those lines of poetry.

    Your painting is beautiful, and has a great appreciation of the little animals that inspired it.

    Snowing here in New York today, adding a bit of Christmas spirit!

    Got some holly and juniper in the apartment, and have been baking cookies all day. Back to work tomorrow.


  13. Beautiful Longfellow.

    And perfectly delightful illustration!!

  14. Such sweet hamsters!
    Looks just like our little 'Lucky' my small hobbits hamster :)

  15. They are such charming fellows in their red coats. I really enjoyed reading Longfellow's poem.


  16. AH Valerie, these have to be the cutest christmas hamsters ever! They remind me of the Brambly Hedge mice that are an all time favourite in our house.
    I too would love to see you do Wind in the Willows! What a great suggestion. I can just imagine it. :-)

  17. I am enamored with your illustrations. These tiny creatures are simly enchanting.

  18. O,so cute...have a Happy Christmas time...:)

  19. oh goodness *snuggles hamsters* Your work simply comes to life!

    thank you for sharing!!!