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Ring Out Wild Bells by Tennyson (reading & analysis)

As the final days of the year slip away, we find ourselves caught between reflection and anticipation. It is a time when the poetry of Alfred Lord Tennyson, particularly "In Memoriam AHH," resonates with our collective consciousness. Tennyson's enduring words, steeped in the sorrow of losing his dear friend Arthur Henry Hallam, transcend personal grief to touch upon universal themes of hope, truth-seeking, and the persistent quest for brighter days. This episode of our podcast delves into Tennyson's literary masterpiece, inviting listeners to discover solace and inspiration within the poet's intricate verses.

"In Memoriam AHH" stands as a testament to the power of friendship and the artistic alchemy that transforms profound loss into a timeless literary gift. The work, which Tennyson painstakingly composed over 17 years, charts an emotional odyssey through the shadowed valleys of grief toward the peaks of acceptance and understanding. By focusing on the poem's New Year's Eve section, "Ring Out, Wild Bells," we uncover the palpable desire to cast off the woes of the past and herald an era of moral and spiritual rejuvenation.

Tennyson's call to "ring out the old, ring in the new" is not merely a symbolic gesture to mark the passage of time. It is an active invocation to purge societal ills – greed, strife, and the feuds that divide humanity. The ringing bells become a clarion call for purity, truth, and a collective love of goodness that Tennyson yearns to see flourish in the hearts of mankind. As we contemplate the poet's vision, we too are urged to let go of our personal afflictions and embrace the promise of regeneration that each new year brings.

The significance of "In Memoriam AHH" lies not only in its poignant portrayal of personal sorrow but also in its broader philosophical inquiries. Tennyson grapples with the nature of life, the existence of an afterlife, and the evolution of faith in an ever-changing world. The poem's undulating rhythm and the deep well of emotion it taps into make it a beacon for those navigating the rough seas of bereavement. It is a poetic compass that guides us toward inner peace and a renewed sense of purpose as we face the future.

This episode is not just a literary analysis; it is an invitation to engage with Tennyson's work on a deeply personal level. Through a thoughtful reading and examination of "Ring Out, Wild Bells," we offer listeners a space for introspection and healing. The episode becomes a refuge for those seeking motivation or grappling with loss, providing a moment of quiet companionship as the year ends and a new chapter beckons.

As we move forward, let us take to heart the essence of Tennyson's message – that amidst the ebbs and flows of life, hope remains an ever-present force. It is the thread that weaves through the fabric of human experience, binding us together in our collective journey. So, as the year draws to a close, let us answer Tennyson's call to ring out the old and welcome the new with open arms and hearts brimming with the anticipation of what lies ahead.

Thank you for joining us on this poetic voyage. May the verses of Alfred Lord Tennyson illuminate your path and infuse your new year with an abundance of hope, resilience, and the courage to embrace all that is yet to come.


Ring out Wild Bells

Alfred Lord Tennyson

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.


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