A Christmas Poem
Ring Out Wild Bells by 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.
A HAPPY & SAFE CHRISTMAS TO ALL BLOG READERS
The poem is often seen as a New Year poem, but I have chosen to use it for Christmas, because it seems to sum up everything we have found difficult about 2020, and everything we hope for for 2021, and we don’t need to wait till New Year’s Eve for that.
Alfred, Lord Tennyson was one of the great British poets: His life spanned the 19th century (1809-1892), and he was successful in his own lifetime in a way not many poets are. He is sometimes viewed as a very Establishment, Victorian poet, but (in my important view) he is much better value than that, full of surprising moments and great poems. He also sounds as though he was good fun and good company.
The image is from the NYPL collection.