Sunday Poetry – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

I’ve been thinking about Tennyson (picture from here) lately. He’s not a poet I’ve read much of but he’s always been there in the background of my reading. In the wonderful photographs of Julia Margaret Cameron, in the paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites that took his poetry for inspiration & in the reminiscences of the great & good of Victorian England. A couple of weeks ago, I read an interesting review of a new biography of Tennyson &, of course, it mentioned In Memoriam, his most famous work, written in response to the death of his great friend, Arthur Hallam. It sent me off to the bookshelves to look up the poem & while I was reading bits & pieces of it, I came across this lovely poem, so appropriate for the New Year.

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.

6 thoughts on “Sunday Poetry – Alfred, Lord Tennyson

  1. Happy New Year, Harriet. I haven't read much Tennyson but I have a Selected Poems & Idylls of the King (which I did read years ago in an Arthurian phase) so no excuse really not to read a bit more.


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