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Christmas Bells : The sounds of an English country Christmas helped Tennyson in his deep mourning for an old friend.
Christmas Bells

Extracted from ‘In Memoriam’, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).

The material trappings of Christmas – the tree, the lights, the presents, the dinner and its customs – are sometimes the only things left to cling to when faith wavers, as Tennyson found, mourning his close friend Arthur Henry Hallam.

THE time draws near the birth of Christ:
The moon is hid; the night is still;
The Christmas bells from hill to hill
Answer each other in the mist.

Four voices of four hamlets round,
From far and near, on mead and moor,
Swell out and fail, as if a door
Were shut between me and the sound:

Each voice four changes on the wind,
That now dilate, and now decrease,
Peace and goodwill, goodwill and peace,
Peace and goodwill, to all mankind.

This year I slept and woke with pain,
I almost wish’d no more to wake,
And that my hold on life would break
Before I heard those bells again:

But they my troubled spirit rule,
For they controll’d me when a boy;
They bring me sorrow touch’d with joy,
The merry merry bells of Yule.

Extracted from ‘In Memoriam’, by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).

Merry Bells

A peal of bells for Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, from St Peter’s Church in Norton, North Yorkshire.

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By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
(1809-1892)

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