We often quote a verse from Alfred Lord Tennyson’s “Ring Out Wild Bells” when we write our annual New Year’s editorial. We write about the events that happened in the old year and discuss those that may come in the new, as well as our hopes for a better year than the year before.
But we have to admit that we had not read Tennyson’s poem in its entirety for quite some time. So when we came upon it while thinking about an editorial for this week’s newspaper, we were struck by how relevant it is today. Although it was published in 1850, the thoughts expressed in it are timeless. Indeed, one could apply every stanza to something going on in the world at the close of 2012. (For example, consider the last two lines of the third stanza for which a Tea Party believer might label Tennyson a Socialist!)
So we felt it might be nice to reprint it in its entirety and hope you take the time to read it and enjoy it, as we did the other day.
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 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.