Thursday, 25 September 2014

Tolkien's five best anthology poems

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Compiled from:

http://notionclubpapers.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/if-you-were-including-tolkien-in.html


Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie


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All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.


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Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
 

They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
 

Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?





Out of doubt, out of dark to the day's rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode and to heart's breaking:
Now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!


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The world was young, the mountains green,
No stain yet on the Moon was seen,
No words were laid on stream or stone,
When Durin woke and walked alone.
He named the nameless hills and dells;
He drank from yet untasted wells;
He stooped and looked in Mirrormere,
And saw a crown of stars appear,
As gems upon a silver thread,
Above the shadow of his head.

The world was fair, the mountains tall,
In Elder Days before the fall
Of mighty kings in Nargothrond
And Gondolin, who now beyond
The Western Seas have passed away:
The world was fair in Durin's Day.

A king he was on carven throne
In many-pillared halls of stone
With golden roof and silver floor,
And runes of power upon the door.
The light of sun and star and moon
In shining lamps of crystal hewn
Undimmed by cloud or shade of night
There shone for ever fair and bright.

There hammer on the anvil smote,
There chisel clove, and graver wrote;
There forged was blade, and bound was hilt;
The delver mined, the mason built.
There beryl, pearl, and opal pale,
And metal wrought like fishes' mail,
Buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
And shining spears were laid in hoard.

Unwearied then were Durin's folk;
Beneath the mountains music woke:
The harpers harped, the minstrels sang,
And at the gates the trumpets rang.

The world is grey, the mountains old,
The forge's fire is ashen-cold;
No harp is wrung, no hammer falls:
The darkness dwells in Durin's halls;
The shadow lies upon his tomb
In Moria, in Khazad-dum.
But still the sunken stars appear
In dark and windless Mirrormere;
There lies his crown in water deep,
Till Durin wakes again from sleep.


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5 comments:

Samson J. said...

Wot, no "nuncle Tim"? Scandalous!

Adam G. said...

I was always partial to

To the Sea, to the Sea! The white gulls are crying,

The wind is blowing, and the white foam is flying.


West, west away, the round sun is falling.


Grey ship, grey ship, do you hear them calling?


The voices of my people that have gone before me?



I will leave, I will leave the woods that bore me;


For our days are ending and our years failing.


I will pass the wide waters lonely sailing.


Long are the waves on the Last Shore falling,


Sweet are the voices in the Lost Isle calling,


In Eressea, in Elvenhome that no man can discover,


Where the leaves fall not: land of my people for ever!

I also like the Psalmic speech of the Eagles when they bring the news to Midgard

Sing and rejoice, o ye people of the Tower of Guard . . .

Of these, I most like the two from Rohan, especially 'Where now the horse and the rider?" If I had to pick what I thought was the best, not just what I liked the most, I'd pick this one.

Bruce Charlton said...

@Adam - Yes, that is very good (except for what seems a rather lame final half-line) - I had overlooked it.

I remember when I first read LotR aged 13-14 I didn't like the theme of Legolas hearing gulls and this triggering a yearning for the sea, to leave Middle Earth and becoming discontented in the forest - I just didn't want Silvan elves to be like that: I wanted them to be happy and care-free!

T.D. Kryeter said...

I've always been rather partial to "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late," which is performed admirably by Rob Inglis in the unabridged audiobook.

Bruce Charlton said...

@TDK - Yes, it is a good one.