An old poem for a new year…
A gift from 1850 on the birth of 2017.
I am often hesitant to take poetry out of context, for fear of losing the greater meaning and the poet’s original intent. However, I will make an exception this time, as when I re-read this short selection, taken from a much lengthier elegy, I was struck by how fitting it is for this day and in our time as we “ring in” this new year. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from “In Memoriam A.H.H.” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson first published in 1850.
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.
– “Ring Out, Wild Bells” from “In Memoriam A.H.H.” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850
© Una-Melina 2017