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Ring out the Old, Ring in the New : For Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Christmas was a time to let the dead past bury its dead.
Ring out the Old, Ring in the New

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

The death of Tennyson’s close friend Arthur Henry Hallam left familiar Christmas Eve customs such as the holly and the music and the dancing full of sad memories for him. He responded positively, however, embracing the deeper message of Christmas Day: a new beginning, a 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 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 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.

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

Inverary Bells

Below is a video of the bells in the bell-tower of Inveraray that you can see in the picture above. An English (or Scottish!) bell-peal is different to the carillon of the near European continent. There is no ‘tune’, just a satisfyingly rhythmical, mathematical sequence of bells in a great clattering joy. In that respect, it is more like the bell-ringing traditions of Russia.

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Picture: © Chris-Downer, Geograph. Licence: CC BY-SA 2.0. View original
Inside the belfry of All Saints’ Church in Inverary, Argyll and Bute, Scotland. The tower stands slightly apart from the church, having been built as a memorial to the Campbell clansmen who died in the Great War.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

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