Alfred, Lord Tennyson published this poem, taken from his elegy In Memoriam A. A. H., in 1850. He could have written it for the end of 2021.
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, Lord Tennyson
Below are two videos, the first a reading by Malcom Guite, who offers much more than just a reading. It was recorded on December 31, 2020, when England was under lockdown because of COVID and people couldn’t gather to hear the church bells ring.
Malcom Guite is “an English poet, singer-songwriter, Anglican priest, and academic. Born in Nigeria to British expatriate parents, Guite earned degrees from Cambridge and Durham universities. His research interests include the intersection of religion and the arts, and the examination of the works of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, and British poets such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge. He was a Bye-Fellow and chaplain of Girton College, Cambridge and associate chaplain of St Edward King and Martyr in Cambridge. On several occasions, he has taught as visiting faculty at several colleges and universities in England and North America.
“Guite is the author of five books of poetry, including two chapbooks and three full-length collections, as well as several books on Christian faith and theology. Guite has a decisively simple, formalist style in poems, many of which are sonnets, and he stated that his aim is to “be profound without ceasing to be beautiful”. Guite performs as a singer and guitarist fronting the Cambridgeshire-based blues, rhythm and blues, and rock band “Mystery Train.’ — Wikipedia
Read more about him on his website and blog.
The second is a vocal recording by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
[Regarding Youtube: I’ve learned that if you click on a link and get an advertisement, go back a page and click on the desired link again. You may have to do it two or three times.]
Image by Henk Prenger from Pixabay