New Year’s Eve in Sweden is like most other places in the world. Good food, fireworks, friends and alcohol frame in the event.
However, there is another tradition which is peculiarly English and particularly Swedish.
Almost every New Year’s Eve since 1896, a well-known person has stood on the stage at a Swedish open-air museum and recited the poem ‘Ring out Wild Bells’ by Lord Alfred Tennyson written in 1850. This may seem weird, but nowadays, the event is televised and attracts a large public. Translated into Swedish, the poem is called ‘Ring Klocka Ring’ and it has a very meaningful and deep content as we leave one year and enter into another.
Various famous people, mostly actors, have had the honour of delievering this rousing poem throughout the years. Of the 20 narrators so far, only one has been a woman. However, this year the second female narrator – popular opera singer Malena Ehrman – will take the stage.
Below, you will find the text in English. ‘Ring out the old, ring in the new’ – and a Happy New Year to each of you!
In Memoriam, [Ring out, wild bells] – Lord Alfred Tennyson, 1809 – 1892
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