A Poem for the New Year: Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ring out, wild bells”

From In Memoriam (106),
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 love that is to be.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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3 Responses to A Poem for the New Year: Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ring out, wild bells”

  1. mary bimala says:

    Thank you, Santi, for posting such a beautiful New Year’s poem. May we manifest our best impulses.

  2. Nancy says:

    Thought you should know, the last line of Tennyson’s poem actually reads “Ring in the Christ that is to be.” Have a blessed new year.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I looked up the poem in the Norton Critical Edition and discovered that you are, indeed, correct. I wonder where the variant came from. I don’t recall now where I got the poem originally. It’s certainly not my change. I’ll make a new post for this New Year with the correct conclusion.


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