lord alfred tennyson

All Good Wishes To You!

In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells]img_0370
Lord Alfred 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.


‘… Let Us Hear The Purple Glens Replying’

This poetry/music choice was inspired by a weekend ambling the by-roads of the west and observing the remains of ancient structures, cottages and castles of a bygone age.  Buttercups, foxgloves and daisies lined the roads, way-marked by white-thorn, alder and rowan trees that gave rise to the great hills and mountains of the Maamturks, carpeted with purple heathers and grasses. I also walked part of The Western Way, a 179 km old pilgrimage route that begins in county Galway and ends in Ballycastle, Co. Mayo.  So the enduring themes of tradition, heritage, ancestry and legacy became all the more comprehensible when I visited the sixteenth century Aughnanure Castle on the shores of Lough Corrib.  The fairly well preserved castle, which translates as Field of the Yews, was built for defensive purposes by the ferocious O’Flaherty clan of Galway and forms part of the backdrop for the 2012 amateur production by Cast Iron Films, No Eye To Pity Her, a portrayal of the Cromwellian occupation of Ireland starring my brother Paul! (trailer here)
Born in Lincolnshire in 1809, Alfred Lord Tennyson is one of the most popular poets in the English language. Among his major poetic achievements are the elegy mourning the death of his friend Arthur Hallam, In Memoriam (1850) and the patriotic poem Charge of the Light Brigade published in Maud (1855).  Tennyson died in 1892 and was buried in the Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey. This is:
from The Princess: The Splendour Falls on Castle Walls
by Lord Alfred Tennyson
The splendour falls on castle walls
                And snowy summits old in story:
         The long light shakes across the lakes,
                And the wild cataract leaps in glory.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
         O hark, O hear! how thin and clear,
                And thinner, clearer, farther going!
         O sweet and far from cliff and scar
                The horns of Elfland faintly blowing!
Blow, let us hear the purple glens replying:
Blow, bugle; answer, echoes, dying, dying, dying.
         O love, they die in yon rich sky,
                They faint on hill or field or river:
         Our echoes roll from soul to soul,
                And grow for ever and for ever.
Blow, bugle, blow, set the wild echoes flying,
And answer, echoes, answer, dying, dying, dying.