Ring out the old, ring in the new

In Memoriam, [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 love that is to be.


  1. #1 Pam Ronald
    January 4, 2010

    thanks for the poem

    I also have received lots of newsy holiday letters over the years and often feel they are missing the essential of the holiday that Al supplies in his poem (I will refer to him as Al to avoid further mangling his name).

    For a few years we sent out Al’s poem rather than a holiday letter. I figure people can call if they want to know where we traveled over the holidays.

    Happy New year!

  2. #2 Prometheus
    January 4, 2010

    Double posting upon the realization that I did not thank Pam for the marvelous poem which was really my original intent.

    Thank You.

    I received several thousand group photographs and accompanying ‘family newsletters’ over the holidays. This coupled with demands that I be cheerful caused a song by Noel Coward to keep playing in my head called “That is the End of the News”

    So in a less inspirational vein, Happy New Year….

    We are told very loudly and often
    To lift up our hearts,
    We are told that good humour will soften
    Fate’s cruelest darts
    So however bad our domestic troubles may be
    We just shake with amusement and sing with glee.

    Heigho, Mum’s had those pains again,
    Granny’s in bed with her varicose veins again,
    Everyone’s gay because dear cousin Florrie
    Was run down on Saturday night by a lorry,
    We’re so thrilled, Elsie’s in trouble,
    That hernia she had has turned out to be double,
    When Albert fell down all
    The steps of the Town Hall
    He got three bad cuts and a bruise.

    We’re delighted
    To be able to say
    We’re unable to pay
    Off our debts,
    We’re excited
    Because Percy’s got mange
    And we’ve run up a bill at the vet’s.

    Three cheers! Ernie’s got boils again,
    Everything’s covered in ointment and oils again,
    Now he’s had seven
    So God’s in His heaven
    And that is the end of the news.

    We are told that it’s dismal and dreary
    To air our despairs,
    We are told to be gallant and cheery
    And banish our cares
    So when fortune gives us a cup of hemlock to quaff
    We just give a slight hiccup and laugh laugh laugh.

    Heigho, everything’s fearful,
    We do wish that Vi was a little more cheerful,
    The only result of her last operation
    Has been gales of wind at the least provocation.
    Now don’t laugh, poor Mrs Mason
    Was washing some smalls in the lavatory basin
    When that old corroded
    Gas-heater exploded
    And blew her smack into the news.

    We’re in clover,
    Uncle George is in clink
    For refusing to work for the war,
    Now it’s over
    Auntie Maud seems to think
    He’ll be far better placed than before.

    What fun — dear little Sidney.
    Produced a spectacular stone in his kidney,
    He’s had eleven
    So God’s in His heaven
    And that is the end of the news.

    Heigho, what a catastrophe,
    Grandfather’s brain is beginning to atrophy,
    Last Sunday night after eating an apple
    He made a rude noise in the Methodist chapel.

    Good egg! Dear little Doris
    Has just been expelled for assaulting Miss Morris.
    Both of her sisters
    Are covered in blisters
    From standing about in the queues.

    We’ve been done in
    By that mortgage foreclosure
    And Father went out on a blind,
    He got run in
    For indecent exposure
    And ever so heavily fined.
    Heigho hi-diddle-diddle,

    Aunt Isabel’s shingles have met in the middle,
    She’s buried in Devon
    So God’s in His heaven
    And that is the end of the news

  3. #3 Prometheus
    January 4, 2010

    Nit pick on the nit pick.

    “the similarity is coincidental”

    Tenyson was the first Baron of Aldworth and Freshwater, an investiture he turned down until the 1880s.

    Victorian fashion established that popular figures who were granted hereditary title or inherited peerage were addressed as Lord followed by their popular names. The granted title after acquires the popular family name “The Baronet Tennyson of Aldworth and Freshwater”.

    Alfred Lord Tennyson became a popular way of referring to Lord Alfred Tennyson because it recalls the peculiar way his poet’s corner tombstone is configured at Westminster and not because it is a proper form of address.

    Examples of this are Lord Bertrand Russel or Lord Christopher Guest. Christopher Guest’s title is Lord Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest of Saling but Lord Christopher Guest is an accepted and proper address.

    Behold his lordship…


    Why do I care? Used to be a Debrett’s contributor until I decided that Charles Kidd and Charles Mosley were slightly insane.

  4. #4 Pam Ronald
    January 3, 2010

    made the change. Thanks!
    I am glad you like the poem

  5. #5 Michelle B
    January 2, 2010

    Lovely poem. Thanks for posting it.

  6. #6 Martin
    January 2, 2010

    Thanks for posting this. I wasn’t familiar with this poem, but I like it!

    One nitpick: the author’s name is Alfred Tennyson, his title was “Lord Tennyson,” and the similarity is coincidental. He is properly styled “Alfred Tennyson, Lord Tennyson” or “Alfred, Lord Tennyson.”

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