James Whitcomb Riley

(7 October 1849 - 22 July 1916 / Greenfield, Indiana)

Song Of The New Year Poem by James Whitcomb Riley


I heard the bells at midnight
Ring in the dawning year;
And above the clanging chorus
Of the song, I seemed to hear
A choir of mystic voices
Flinging echoes, ringing clear,
From a band of angels winging
Through the haunted atmosphere:
'Ring out the shame and sorrow,
And the misery and sin,
That the dawning of the morrow
May in peace be ushered in.'

And I thought of all the trials
The departed years had cost,
And the blooming hopes and pleasures
That are withered now and lost;
And with joy I drank the music
Stealing o'er the feeling there
As the spirit song came pealing
On the silence everywhere:
'Ring out the shame and sorrow,
And the misery and sin,
That the dawning of the morrow
May in peace be ushered in.'

And I listened as a lover
To an utterance that flows
In syllables like dewdrops
From the red lips of a rose,
Till the anthem, fainter growing,
Climbing higher, chiming on
Up the rounds of happy rhyming,
Slowly vanished in the dawn:
'Ring out the shame and sorrow,
And the misery and sin,
That the dawning of the morrow
May in peace be ushered in.'

Then I raised my eyes to Heaven,
And with trembling lips I pled
For a blessing for the living
And a pardon for the dead;
And like a ghost of music
Slowly whispered--lowly sung--
Came the echo pure and holy
In the happy angel tongue:
'Ring out the shame and sorrow,
And the misery and sin,
And the dawn of every morrow
Will in peace be ushered in.'

Submitted: Friday, April 9, 2010
Edited: Saturday, December 3, 2011

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Comments about this poem (Song Of The New Year by James Whitcomb Riley )

  • Gold Star - 12,357 Points Rajnish Manga (1/2/2015 12:35:00 AM)

    The poem represents the sentiments of a noble as well as a common man while welcoming a new year. Word by word the poem forms a beautiful string of pearls. I would love to recall the following:
    Ring out the shame and sorrow / And the misery and sin, ...
    And I listened as a love / To an utterance that flows / In syllables like dewdrops / From the red lips of a rose, (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 5,458 Points Savita Tyagi (1/1/2015 12:40:00 PM)

    Great poem. Let the peace and joy ushered in. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 39,733 Points Aftab Alam Khursheed (1/1/2015 1:57:00 AM)

    I heard the bells at midnight Ring in the dawning year; and lo new sun born with hope (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Paul Anthony (1/1/2013 8:23:00 PM)

    A great poem from an underrated poet. The rhyme and resonance is spot on. (Report) Reply

  • Gold Star - 29,147 Points Gajanan Mishra (1/1/2013 4:44:00 AM)

    Peace be ushered in. good. (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »

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