Friday, January 25, 2008

The Brilliance of Tolkien.

This is a poem in The Hobbit from the chapter "The Gathering of the Clouds" by J. R. R. Tolkien.

Under the Mountain dark and tall
The King has come unto his hall!
His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,
And ever so his foes shall fall.

The sword is sharp, the spear is long.
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong;
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.

On silver necklaces they strung
The light of stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, from twisted wire
The melody of harps they wrung.

The mountain throne once more is freed!
O! wandering folk, the summons heed!
Come haste! Come haste! across the waste!
The king of friend and kin has need.

Now call we over mountains cold,
'Come back unto the caverns old'!
Here at the Gates the king awaits,
His hands are rich with gems and gold.

The king is come unto his hall
Under the Mountain dark and tall.
The Worm of Dread is slain and dead,
And ever so our foes shall fall!



And now why I think it's brilliant:

Under the Mountain dark and tall
The King has come unto his hall!
His foe is dead, the Worm of Dread,
And ever so his foes shall fall.


Tall, hall, fall. The first two lines and the fourth line on each stanza. On the third line it's dead and dread. Also, the first, second, and forth line's rhyming words all have the letter "A" in them as their vowel.

The sword is sharp, the spear is long.
The arrow swift, the Gate is strong;
The heart is bold that looks on gold;
The dwarves no more shall suffer wrong.


Same thing only "O" is the vowel.

The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.


Again, but this time with "E"

On silver necklaces they strung
The light of stars, on crowns they hung
The dragon-fire, from twisted wire
The melody of harps they wrung.


"U", and here the third line doesn't use a "U" in it's rhyming words. Instead using "I", this is the central stanza of the poem so that makes sense to me as that's the only vowel we haven't seen rhymed yet.

The mountain throne once more is freed!
O! wandering folk, the summons heed!
Come haste! Come haste! across the waste!
The king of friend and kin has need.


"E" again.

Now call we over mountains cold,
'Come back unto the caverns old'!
Here at the Gates the king awaits,
His hands are rich with gems and gold.


"O" again.


The king is come unto his hall
Under the Mountain dark and tall.
The Worm of Dread is slain and dead,
And ever so our foes shall fall!


"A" again.

So we have A,O,E,U,E,O,A as our rhyming vowels, And we have "I" in our central stanza on our third line.

Pretty cool. Even in his structuring Tolkien shows his brilliant command of language. I love it!

4 comments:

baddogmooney said...

stuff like that makes me feel like a worm. what the heck am I doing writing? awesome though, simply brilliant.

S. J. Deal said...

Don't feel like a worm! I'm sure at some point in his life even Tolkien wrote something less then perfect.

I think good writing comes with practice, so keep at it.

Eldritchhobbit said...

Wonderful post!

One of my favorite passages (in terms of rhythm and style) from Tolkien's poetry comes from Bilbo's verse about EƤrendil in The Lord of the Rings:

The winds of wrath came driving him,
and blindly in the foam he fled
from west to east and errandless,
unheralded he homeward sped.
There flying Elwing came to him,
and flame was in the darkness lit;
more bright than light of diamond
the fire upon her carcanet.
The Silmaril she bound on him
and crowned him with the living light,
and dauntless then with burning brow
he turned his prow; and in the night
from otherworld beyond the Sea
there strong and free a storm arose,
a wind of power in Tarmenel;
by paths that seldom mortal goes
his boat it bore with biting breath
as might of death across the grey
and long-forsaken seas distressed:
from east to west he passed away.

S. J. Deal said...

Thanks.

That is a nice poem. :-D I can see why you like it.