"Ring Out, Wild Bells," by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lloyd Tennyson
  • Alfred, Lloyd Tennyson

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,

The flying cloud, the frosty light;

The year is dying in the night;

Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,

Ring, happy bells, across the snow:

The year is going, let him go;

Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,

For those that here we see no more,

Ring out the feud of rich and poor,

Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,

And ancient forms of party strife;

Ring in the nobler modes of life,

With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care, the sin,

The faithless coldness of the times;

Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,

But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,

The civic slander and the spite;

Ring in the love of truth and right,

Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,

Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;

Ring out the thousand wars of old,

Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,

The larger heart, the kindlier hand;

Ring out the darkness of the land,

Ring in the Christ that is to be.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809–1892) is generally considered the most important British poet of the Victorian era. The son of a country clergyman, the young Alfred Tennyson was so discouraged by the negative critical reception of his second volume of poetry that he did not publish again for another decade. But in 1842 he published two volumes of his verse, which met with immediate success, and eight years later he was appointed poet laureate of England, a position which he held until his death in 1892 at the age of 83. The New Year’s hymn “Ring Out, Wild Bells” is canto 106 of Tennyson’s famous elegy In Memoriam.

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