A Swedish version of this poem is traditionally recited at Skansen in Stockholm at midnight every New Year’s Eve and broadcasted live all over Sweden. The actor and singer Jan Malmsjö has this honor since 2001. This tradition began in 1897 and Anders de Wahl recited it until his death in 1956. Swedish television began to broadcast this celebration in 1977 and actor Georg Rydeberg recited the poem until his death in 1983. Then the very charismatic actor Jarl Kulle continued and after him the likewise famous actor Margaretha Krook.
The Swedish version translated by Edvard Fredin is beautiful, but merely inspired by the Lord Tennyson poem “Ring Out, Wild Bells” and can not really be called a translation, even the verse is different. In later years it has been further changed and modernized several times, almost beyond recognition.
It is an excellent example that explains how difficult it is to make a change. My daily work has for decades been dedicated to making changes in technical systems, far more simple and utterly trivial compared to poems and horses. Even so I have learned that when making changes to improve something one also always loose something, sometimes even more than what is gained. Therefore always preserve the original safe!
So here I give you “Ring Out, Wild Bells” by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.
But first please save your money intended for fireworks and instead make a humble donation at The Nokota Horse Concervancy – a non-profit organisation working hard to preserve horses, already improved by nature it self!
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 thy 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.