Study Guide

In Memoriam A.H.H. Canto 106

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Canto 106

Lines 2261-2292

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.

  • And we're back with a string of imperatives (and anaphora). This time, Tennyson's commanding the church bells to ring for various things.
  • He wants the bells to ring in the New Year and ring out Tennyson's previous "mournful rhymes."
  • This is a really optimistic canto that seems to go along with the speaker's new outlook on life. Much of his doubt seems to have been cleared away and he's looking forward to the "thousand years of peace" and "the Christ that is to be."
  • If you haven't already guessed, the reference to Christ "that is to be" is super-optimistic compared to the doubt that he ruminated on for an entire string of cantos earlier in the poem.
  • Christ here symbolizes not just hope, but also the larger sense of purpose that Tennyson lacked earlier.
  • He seems to now be leaning more toward accepting that there is a larger plan to life.