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In Memoriam A. H. H. An Excerpt: Ring Out, Wild Bells)
Alfred, Lord 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.

This poem is in the public domain




Alfred Tennyson (1809 - 1892) is one of the world's most beloved and enduring poets. Born in a small English village to comfortable, devoutly religious parents (his father was a clergyman, his mother the daughter of a clergyman), Alfred was one of twelve children. He enjoyed an idyllic childhood, though later years brought family issues, and his father's death caused Alfred to have to leave Cambridge without completing his degree. Drawn to poetry from an early age, Alfred's first book of poetry was one he published with his brother when he was still a teenager. He published a collection of his own work shortly thereafter, to very enthusiastic reviews. But three years later, a second book was heavily criticized and Alfred was devastated. Though he continued to write, it was nearly ten years before he published another book. Ultimately, he became England's longest-serving poet laureate, spending more than forty years in that position and producing fine work until he was in his eighties.


Post New Comment:
Lori Levy:
Definitely fitting! Thank you, Jayne. Happy New Year!
Posted 01/01/2021 02:51 PM
Arlene Gay Levine:
Thanks, Jayne! Brilliant choice, brilliant poet...may it be so and Happy New Year to all.
Posted 01/01/2021 01:56 PM
Stephen Anderson:
What an ageless, fittingly relevant poem to our collective American soul today.
Posted 01/01/2021 12:47 PM
Gilbert Allen:
Yes, Tennyson was the Midas of grief--whenever he touched it, he turned it into beautiful music. A fitting poem for our present moment.
Posted 01/01/2021 10:49 AM
Jean Colonomos-1:
Jayne, thank you for the scope of this poem to bring in the New Year.
Posted 01/01/2021 10:46 AM
I absolutely love this brilliant poem!! It stands for the ages!!
Posted 01/01/2021 10:11 AM

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