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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Why do we say "ring in the new year"?


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Why: It's coming, y'all. What are you doing? Do you have your celebratory glasses yet? 2011 is causing problems for the novelty industry.
Answer: It's from the 1850 poem "Ring Out, Wild Bells" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson!
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.
Source: phrases.org.uk

The More You Know: Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson, FRS (6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) was Poet Laureate of the United Kingdom during much of Queen Victoria's reign. In 1617, Ben Jonson became the first Poet Laureate to be made an official part of the royal household and receive a pension from King James I.

Though I'm pretty sure I had to know things about or by Ben Jonson at some point (probably 12th grade; whocanverify?), I don't remember even one detail, so instead, here is Tennyson's most glorious sonnet, "The Kraken."
Below the thunders of the upper deep,
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
Over Thanksgiving, Chandler sent me a picture of this godly elixir and divine vessel that his aunt & uncle had. I was so jealous that I nearly strapped on my concrete boots and took a long walk off a short pier.
Only 4 shopping days left!

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