Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New,

In Sweden, since 1895 (with shorter breaks), the countdown to the new year has been accompanied by the reading of the Swedish translation of Ring Out, Wild Bells by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. It is usually read from the outdoor museum Skansen, and is broadcasted live. It's an honour to be asked to do the reading - for many years it was Swedish legendary actor Anders de Wahl, and the current reader is actor Jan Malmsjö. It's a tradition on many New Year's parties to turn on the tv and listen as the old year is rung out and the new one welcomed.

Published in 1850, the poem slightly predates the period for this blog, but as it was clearly read throughout the era, I thought it would be nice to share that tradition with you here by posting the original poem.

May its hope for the future be fulfilled for all of you in the new year!

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.
- Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

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