Friday, January 02, 2009

Poetry Friday - Ring Out, Wild Bells

Originally titled "The Way of the Soul," the poem In Memoriam A.H.H. by Lord Alfred Tennyson took more than 17 years to write. The section below is particularly appropriate this time of 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 thy 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.

The first two stanzas and the last can be found in the hymn Ring Out, Wild Bells. You can see and hear it at the interactive music player from the LDS Church.

You can learn more about the poem at Wikipedia.

The round up is being hosted by Franki and Mary Lee over at A Year of Reading. Do stop by and take in all the poetry being shared in the first days of this new year. Happy poetry Friday, all!


  1. This is lovely. Puts me in mind of the lyrics from two different songs, too:

    Ring Out Solstice Bells, by Jethro Tull (

    Song for a Winter's Night, by Gordon Lightfoot -- love this song!(lyrics here:'s-Night-lyrics-Gordon-Lightfoot/8DE35334F56C93A148256958000EF8D9, and beautiful slide show/music at

  2. I needed to hear these bells this morning. I'm so glad that in this world of buzzers and ringtones and electronic noise, there are still bells to ring out.

  3. I *love* teaching In Memoriam, which so repays re-reading, and reading in its entirety (daunting though it is). Thanks so much for posting one of my favorite sections.

  4. In Memoriam was one of the HARDEST pieces I ever wrestled through -- but it was so worth it, for the moments of exaltation, like this one. I love, love, LOVE this.

  5. I love this set of verses. I can hear my Mother saying them many years ago. Nostalgia rules, OK.

  6. "Ring out the false, ring in the true." Ah, better words were never spoken.

    Happy new year!

  7. I am so glad you commented at my blog! I teach Writing Children's Lit, and so it looks like we have a few things in common! I'll add you.