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Alfred, Lord Tennyson: a legacy of common phrases

“’Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all”

  • The Death of the Old Year
  • Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
  • And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
  • Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
  • And tread softly and speak low,
  • For the old year lies a-dying.
  • Old year you must not die;
  • You came to us so readily,
  • You lived with us so steadily,
  • Old year you shall not die. 
  • He lieth still: he doth not move:
  • He will not see the dawn of day.
  • He hath no other life above.
  • He gave me a friend and a true truelove
  • And the New-year will take ‘em away.
  • Old year you must not go;
  • So long you have been with us,
  • Such joy as you have seen with us,
  • Old year, you shall not go. 
  • He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;
  • A jollier year we shall not see.
  • But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,
  • And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,
  • He was a friend to me.
  • Old year, you shall not die;
  • We did so laugh and cry with you,
  • I’ve half a mind to die with you,
  • Old year, if you must die. 
  • He was full of joke and jest,
  • But all his merry quips are o’er.
  • To see him die across the waste
  • His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
  • But he’ll be dead before
  • Every one for his own.
  • The night is starry and cold, my friend,
  • And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
  • Comes up to take his own. 
  • How hard he breathes! over the snow
  • I heard just now the crowing cock.
  • The shadows flicker to and fro:
  • The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
  • ‘Tis nearly twelve o’clock.
  • Shake hands, before you die.
  • Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:
  • What is it we can do for you?
  • Speak out before you die. 
  • His face is growing sharp and thin.
  • Alack! our friend is gone,
  • Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
  • Step from the corpse, and let him in
  • That standeth there alone,
  • And waiteth at the door.
  • There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,
  • And a new face at the door, my friend,
  • A new face at the door.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was an English poet and Poet Laureate of England during the Victorian Era in England. Well known for his poems “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “Tears, Idle Tears,” “Ulysses,” and “In Memoriam A.H.H.,” Tennyson has proven to be not only one of the most popular poets of his own time but remains a popular poet among readers of poetry in general. Like Shakespeare, Tennyson left the English language a number of phrases which have passed into common currency, including “Nature, red in tooth and claw,” “’Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all,” and “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

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  • The Death of the Old Year
  • Full knee-deep lies the winter snow,
  • And the winter winds are wearily sighing:
  • Toll ye the church bell sad and slow,
  • And tread softly and speak low,
  • For the old year lies a-dying.
  • Old year you must not die;
  • You came to us so readily,
  • You lived with us so steadily,
  • Old year you shall not die. 
  • He lieth still: he doth not move:
  • He will not see the dawn of day.
  • He hath no other life above.
  • He gave me a friend and a true truelove
  • And the New-year will take ‘em away.
  • Old year you must not go;
  • So long you have been with us,
  • Such joy as you have seen with us,
  • Old year, you shall not go. 
  • He froth’d his bumpers to the brim;
  • A jollier year we shall not see.
  • But tho’ his eyes are waxing dim,
  • And tho’ his foes speak ill of him,
  • He was a friend to me.
  • Old year, you shall not die;
  • We did so laugh and cry with you,
  • I’ve half a mind to die with you,
  • Old year, if you must die. 
  • He was full of joke and jest,
  • But all his merry quips are o’er.
  • To see him die across the waste
  • His son and heir doth ride post-haste,
  • But he’ll be dead before
  • Every one for his own.
  • The night is starry and cold, my friend,
  • And the New-year blithe and bold, my friend,
  • Comes up to take his own. 
  • How hard he breathes! over the snow
  • I heard just now the crowing cock.
  • The shadows flicker to and fro:
  • The cricket chirps: the light burns low:
  • ‘Tis nearly twelve o’clock.
  • Shake hands, before you die.
  • Old year, we’ll dearly rue for you:
  • What is it we can do for you?
  • Speak out before you die. 
  • His face is growing sharp and thin.
  • Alack! our friend is gone,
  • Close up his eyes: tie up his chin:
  • Step from the corpse, and let him in
  • That standeth there alone,
  • And waiteth at the door.
  • There’s a new foot on the floor, my friend,
  • And a new face at the door, my friend,
  • A new face at the door.
Alfred Lord Tennyson

Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was an English poet and Poet Laureate of England during the Victorian Era in England. Well known for his poems “The Charge of the Light Brigade,” “Tears, Idle Tears,” “Ulysses,” and “In Memoriam A.H.H.,” Tennyson has proven to be not only one of the most popular poets of his own time but remains a popular poet among readers of poetry in general. Like Shakespeare, Tennyson left the English language a number of phrases which have passed into common currency, including “Nature, red in tooth and claw,” “’Tis better to have loved and lost/Than never to have loved at all,” and “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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