Ringing in the New Year!

“Ring out the old, ring in the new”

ring in the new

The custom in old England was to ring the church bells at midnight on New Year’s Eve, first as a tolling to say goodbye to the old year, and then briskly as a celebration of the new year. In 1850, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, one of the greatest English poets, immortalized the custom in Canto 106 of his long poem In Memoriam A.H.H., a lyric elegy to a friend who had died at a young age in 1833. One can hear both Tennyson’s sorrow and his hope for a new beginning in the canto, often known by its first line:


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.

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