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.
Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) was the leading English poet of the Victorian era. He was appointed Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom in 1850 and held that position until his death in 1892.
Tennyson was born in Somersby, England. His early poetry was published alongside his brothers’, but Alfred soon surpassed the others in both talent and fame. His breakthrough came with Poems, Chiefly Lyrical published in 1830. Later celebrated works included “The Lady of Shalott,” “Ulysses,” and his masterpiece epic “In Memoriam A.H.H.” dedicated to his friend Arthur Henry Hallam.
Deeply affected by his friend Hallam’s early death, much of Tennyson’s verse reflects on mortality, loss and faith. Known for his rich and sensuous language, he exhibited superb craftsmanship and intricate rhyme schemes. Politically engaged, his work also reacted to pressing social issues as the industrial revolution transformed English society.
Immensely popular in his day, Alfred Lord Tennyson earned critical acclaim for his mastery of memorable phrasing and mythical allusion which profoundly shaped Victorian poetry. He is regarded as a consummate lyric wordsmith who left an enduring legacy and greatly influenced future generations of poets and thinkers