Ring Out the Old, Ring in the New
Deaglán de Bréadún
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.
I heard the writer P.D. James reading Tennyson’s poem on the radio and thought it would be a fitting note to end the year. Ring out the false, ring in the true is every journalist’s watchword. Ring out the feud of rich and poor? Looks like we may have more of that in the New Year, with a strong perception “out there” that the lower-paid are bearing an unfair amount of the burden in the current economic crisis.
Ring out the thousand wars of old,/Ring in the thousand years of peace. The war in Afghanistan is intensifying and the next 12 months will probably be decisive. British public opinion is gradually turning against it, if I’m any judge. It was supposed to be about cutting off Al-Qaeda’s water but now we see they are training people in Yemen, a place most people could hardly find on a map. And certain societies in third-level institutions in Britain seem to be a fertile recruiting-ground. Instead of expending blood and treasure in Afghanistan, perhaps the authorities in London should reflect that terrorism begins at home.
Ring out a slowly dying cause,/And ancient forms of party strife. I’m afraid “ancient forms of party strife” are alive and well here and in other countries. But despite the wrangling, there is at least a consensus in the Dáil on what the basic problems are, although there are differences on the solution. It would be fascinating to see what a Fine Gael-Labour coalition did on the economy that differed in a really fundamental way from the policies of the present government.
Speaking of the economy, the political star of the last 12 months, despite the tough decisions he announced at various times, was undoubtedly Brian Lenihan, Minister for Finance. He has had some bad news on the health front and nobody of any political persuasion is withholding their sympathy and support for him. As a former cancer patient myself, I have some idea what he must be going through. Here’s wishing him and his family well at this difficult time. Whatever political differences may exist, the whole country is behind the Minister on this one.