The Lay of Leithian

This text is some sort of hybrid between the revised version and the older version of The Lay of Leithian. I don't really remember the details anymore. I typed this whole thing in from the book (The Lays of Beleriand) back in 1995 or so, and I have no plans to finish the work.



    A king there was in days of old:
    ere Men yet walked upon the mould
    his power was reared in caverns' shade,
    his hand was over glen and glade.
    Of leaves his crown, his mantle green,
    his silver lances long and keen;
    the starlight in his sheild was caught,
    ere moon was made or sun was wrought.
      In after-day when to the shore
    of Middle-earth from Valinor
    the Elven-hosts in might returned,
    and banners flew and beacons burned,
    when kings of Eldamar went by
    in strength of war, beneath the sky
    then still his silver trumpets blew
    when sun was young and moon was new.
    Afar then in Beleriand,
    in Doriath's beleaguered land,
    King Thingol sat on guarded throne
    in many-pillared halls of stone:
    there beryl, pearl, and opal pale,
    and metal wrought like fishes' mail,
    buckler and corslet, axe and sword,
    and gleaming spears were laid in hoard:
    all these he had and counted small,
    for dearer than all wealth in hall,
    and fairer than are born to Men,
    a daughter had he, Lúthien.
    Such lissom limbs no more shall run
    on the green earth beneath the sun;
    so fair a maid no more shall be
    from dawn to dusk, from sun to sea.
    Her robe was blue as summer skies,
    but grey as evening was her eyes;
    her mantle sewn with lilies fair,
    but dark as shadow was her hair.
    Her feet were swift as bird on wing,
    her laughter merry as the spring;
    the slender willow, the bowing reed,
    the fragrance of a flowering mead,
    the light upon the leaves of trees,
    the voice of water, more than these
    her beauty was and blissfulness,
    her glory and her loveliness.
      She dwelt in the enchanted land
    while elven-might yet held in hand
    the woven woods of Doriath:
    none ever thither found the path
    unbidden, none the forest-eaves
    dared pass, or stir the listening leaves.
    To north there lay a land of dread,
    Dungorthin where all ways were dead
    in hills of shadow bleak and cold;
    beyond was Deadly Nightshade's hold
    in Taur-nu-Fuin's fastness grim,
    where sun was sick and moon was dim.
    To South the wide earth unexplored;
    to West the ancient Ocean roared,
    unsailed and shoreless, wide and wild;
    to East in peaks of blue were piled,
    in silence folded, mist-enfurled,
    the mountains of the outer world.
      Thus Thingol in his dolven hall
    amid the Thousand Caverns tall
    of Menegroth as king abode:
    to him there led no mortal road.
    Beside him sat his deathless queen,
    fair Melian, and wove unseen
    nets of enchantment round his throne,
    and spells were laid on tree and stone:
    sharp was his sword and high his helm,
    the king of beech and oak and elm.
    When grass was green and leaves were long,
    when finch and mavis sung their song,
    there under bough and under sun
    in shadow and in light would run
    fair Lúthien the elven-maid,
    dancing in dell and grassy glade.
    When sky was clear and stars were keen,
    then Dairon with his fingers lean,
    as daylight melted into eve,
    a trembling music sweet would weave
    on flutes of silver, thin and clear
    for Lúthien, the maiden dear.
      There mirth there was and voices bright;
    there eve was peace and morn was light;
    there jewel gleamed and silver wan
    and red gold on white fingers shone,
    and elanor and niphredil
    bloomed in the grass unfading still,
    while the endless years of Elven-land
    rolled over far Beleriand,
    until a day of doom befell,
    as still the elven-harpers tell.
    Far in the Northern hills of stone
    in caverns black there was a throne
    by flame encircled; there the smoke
    in coiling columns rose to choke
    the breath of life, and there in deep
    and gasping dungeons lost would creep
    to hopeless death all those who strayed
    by doom beneath that ghastly shade.
      A king there sat, most dark and fell
    of all that under heavens dwell.
    Than earth or sea, than moon or star
    more ancient was he, mightier far
    in mind abysmal than he thought
    of Eldar or of Men, and wrought
    of strength primeval; ere the stone
    was hewn to build the world, alone
    he walked in darkness, fierce and dire,
    burned, as he wielded it, by fire.
      He 'twas that laid in ruin black
    the Blessed Realms and then fled back
    to Middle-earth anew to build
    beneath the mountains mansions filled
    with misbegotten slaves of hate:
    death's shadow brooded at his gate.
    His hosts he armed with spears of steel
    and brands of flame, and at their heel
    the wolf walked and the serpent crept
    with lidless eyes. Now forth they leapt,
    his ruinous legions, kindling war
    in field and frith and woodland hoar.
    Where long the golden elanor
    had gleamed amid the grass they bore
    their banners black, where finch had sung
    and harpers silver harps had wrung
    now dark the ravens wheeled and cried
    amid the reek, and far and wide
    the swords of Morgoth dripped with red
    above the hewn and trampled dead.
    Slowly his shadow like a cloud
    rolled from North, and on the proud
    that would not yield his vengeance fell;
    to death and thraldom under hell
    all things he doomed: the Northern land
    lay cowed beneath his ghastly hand.
      But still there lived in hiding cold
    Bëor's son, Barahir the bold,
    of land bereaved and lordship shorn
    who once a prince of Men was born,
    and now an outlaw lurked and lay
    in the hard heath and woodland grey.
    Twelve men beside him still there went,
    still faithful when all hope was spent.
    Their names are yet in elven-song
    remembered, though the years are long
    since doughty Dagnir and Ragnor,
    Radhruin, Dairuin, and Gildor,
    Gorlim Unhappy, and Urthel,
    and Arthad and Hathaldir fell;
    since the black shaft with venomed wound
    took Belegund and Baragund,
    the mighty sons of Bregolas;
    since he whose deeds and doom surpass
    all tales of Men was laid on bier,
    fair Beren son of Barahir.
    For these it was, the chosen men
    of Bëor's house, who in the fen
    of reedy Serech stood at bay
    about king Inglor in the day
    of his defeat, and with their swords
    thus saved of all the Elven-lords
    the fairest; and his love they earned.
    And he escaping south, returned
    to Nargothrond his mighty realm,
    where still he wore his crownëd helm;
    but they to their northern homelands rode,
    dauntless and few, and there abode
    unconquered still, defying fate,
    pursued by Morgoth's sleepless hate.
      Such deeds of daring there they wrought
    that soon the hunters that them sought
    at rumour of their coming fled.
    Though price was set upon each head
    to match the weregild of a king,
    no soldier could to Morgoth bring
    news even of their hidden lair;
    for where the highland browse and bare
    above the darkling pines arose
    of steep Dorthonion to the snows
    and barren mountain-winds, there lay
    a tarn of water, blue by day,
    by night a mirror of dark glass
    for stars of Elbereth that pass
    above the world into the West.
    Once hallowed, still that place was blest:
    no shadow of Morgoth, and no evil thing
    yet thither came; a whispering ring
    of slender birches silver-grey
    stooped on its margin, round it lay
    a lonely moor, and the bare bones
    of ancient Earth like standing stones
    thrust through the heather and the whin;
    and there by houseless Aeluin
    the hunted lord and faithful men
    under the grey stones made their den.
    Gorlim Unhappy, Angrim's son,
    as the tale tells, of these was one
    most fierce and hopeless. He to wife,
    while fair the fortune of his life,
    took the white maiden Eilinel:
    dear love they had ere evil fell.
    To war he rode; from war returned
    to find his fields and homestead burned,
    his house forsaken roofless stood,
    empty amid the leafless wood;
    and Eilinel, white Eilinel,
    was taken whither none could tell,
    to death and thraldom far away.
    Black was the shadow of that day
    for ever on his heart, and doubt
    still gnawed him as he went about
    in wilderness wandring, or at night
    oft sleepless, thinking that she might
    ere evil came have timely fled
    into the woods: she was not dead,
    she lived, she would return again
    to seek him, and would deem him slain.
    Therefore at whiles he left the lair,
    and secretly, alone, would peril dare,
    and come to his old house at night,
    broken and cold, without fire or light,
    and naught grief renewed would gain,
    watching and waiting there in vain.
      In vain, or worse - for many spies
    had Morgoth, many lurking eyes
    well used to pierce the deepest dark;
    and Gorlim's coming they would mark
    and would report. There came a day
    when once more Gorlim crept that way,
    down the deserted weedy lane
    at dusk of autumn sad with rain
    and cold wind whining. Lo! a light
    at window fluttering in the night
    amazed he saw; and drawing near,
    between faint hope and sudden fear,
    he looked within. 'Twas Eilinel!
    Though changed she was, he knew her well.
    With grief and hunger she was worn,
    her tresses tangled, raiment torn;
    her gentle eyes with tears were dim,
    as soft she wept: `Gorlim, Gorlim!
    Thou canst not have forsaken me.
    Then slain, alas! thou slain must be!
    And I must linger cold, alone,
    and loveless as a barren stone!'
      One cry he gave - and then the light
    blew out, and in the wind of night
    wolves howled; and on his shoulder fell
    suddenly the griping hands of hell.
    There Morgoth's servants fast him caught
    and he was cruelly bound, and brought
    to Sauron, captain of the host,
    the lord of werewolf and of ghost,
    most foul and fell of all who knelt
    at Morgoth's throne. In might he dwelt
    on Gauroth Isle; but now had ridden
    with strength abroad, by Morgoth bidden
    to find the rebel Barahir.
    He sat in dark encampment near,
    and thither his butchers draggen their prey.
    There now in anguish Gorlim lay:
    with bond on neck, on hand and foot,
    to bitter torment he was put,
    to break his will and him constrain
    to buy with treason end of pain.
    But naught to them would he reveal
    of Barahir, nor break the seal
    of faith that on his tongue was laid;
    until at last a pause was made,
    and one came softly to his stake,
    a darkling form that stooped, and spake
    to him of Eilinel his wife.
      `Wouldst thou,' he said,`forsake thy life.
    who with a few words might win release 
    for her, and thee, and go in peace,
    and dwell together far from war,
    friends of the King? What wouldst thou more?'
    And Gorlim, now long worn with pain,
    yearning to see his wife again
    (whom well he weened was also caught
    in Sauron's net), allowed the thought
    to grow, and faltered in his troth.
    Then straight, half willing and half loath,
    they brought him to the seat of stone
    where Sauron sat. He stood alone
    befor that dark and dreadful face,
    and Sauron said: `Come, mortal base!
    What do I hear? That thou wouldst dare
    to barter with me? Well, speak fair!
    What is thy price?' And Gorlim low
    bowed down his head, and with great woe,
    word on slow word, at last implored
    that merciless and faithless lord
    that he might free depart, and might
    again find Eilinel the White,
    and dwell with her, and cease from war
    against the King. He crave no more.
      The Sauron smiled, and said: `Thou trall!
    The price thou askest is but small
    for treachery and shame so great!
    I grant it surely! Well, I wait:
    Come! Speak now swiftly and speak true!'
    Then Gorlim wavered, and he drew
    half back; but Sauron's daunting eye
    there held him, and he dared not lie:
    as he began, so must he wend
    from first false step to faithless end:
    he all must answer as he could,
    betray his lord and brotherhood,
    and cease, and fall upon his face.
      Then Sauron laughed aloud, `Thou base,
    thou cringing worm! Stand up,
    and hear me! And now drink the cup
    that I have sweetly blent for thee!
    Thou fool: a phantom thou didst see
    that I, I Sauron made to snare
    thy lovesick wits. Naught else was there.
    Cold 'tis with Sauron's wraiths to wed!
    Thy Eilinel! She is long since dead,
    dead, food of worms less low than thou.
    And yet thy boon I grant thee now:
    to Eilinel thou soon shalt go,
    and lie in her bed, no more to know
    of war - or manhood. Have thy pay!'
      And Gorlim then they dragged away,
    and cruelly slew him; and at last
    in the dank mould his body cast,
    where Eilinel long since had laid
    in the burned woods by butchers slain.
      Thus Gorlim died an evil death,
    and cursed himself with dying breath,
    and Barahir at last was caught
    in Morgoth's snare; for set at naught
    by treason was the ancient grace
    that guarded long that lonely place,
    Tarn Aeluin: now all laid bare
    were secret paths and hidden lair.
    Dark from the North now blew the cloud;
    the winds of autumn cold and loud
    hissed in the heather; sad and grey
    Aeluin's mournful water lay.
    `Son Beren', then said Barahir,
    `Thou knowst the rumour that we hear
    of strength from the Gaurhoth that is sent
    against us; and our food nigh spent.
    On thee the lot falls by our law
    to go forth now alone to draw
    what help thou canst from the hidden few
    that feed us still, and what is new
    to learn. Good fortune go with thee!
    In speed return, for grudgingly
    we spare thee from our brotherhood,
    so small: and Gorlim in the wood
    is long astray or dead. Farewell!'
    As Beren went, still like a knell
    resounded in his heart that word,
    the last of his fater that he heard.
      Through moor and fen, by tree and briar
    he wandered far: he saw the fire
    of Sauron's camp, he heard the howl
    of hunting Orc and wolf a-prowl,
    and turning back, for long the way,
    benighted in the forest lay.
    In weariness he then must sleep,
    fain in a badger-hole to creep,
    and yet he heard (or dreamed it so)
    nearby a marching legion go
    with clink of mail and clash of shields
    up toward the stony mountain-fields.
    He slipped then into darkness down,
    until, as man that waters drown
    strives upwards gasping, it seemed to him
    he rose through slime beside the brim
    of sullen pool beneath dead trees.
    Their livid boughs in cold a breeze
    trembled, and all their black leaves stirred:
    each leaf a black and croaking bird,
    whose neb a gout of blood let fall,
    He shuddered, struggling thence to crawl
    through winding weeds, when far away
    he saw a shadow faint and grey
    gliding across the dreary lake.
    Slowly it came, and softly spake:
    `Gorlim I was, but now a wraith
    of will defeated, broken faith,
    traitor betrayed. Go! Stay not here!
    Awaken, son of Barahir,
    and haste! For Morgoth's fingers close
    upon thy father's throat; he knows
    your trysts, your paths, your secret lair'
      Then he revealed the devil's snare
    in which he fell, and failed; and last
    begging forgiveness, wept, and passed
    out into darkness. Beren woke,
    leaped up as one by sudden stroke
    with fire of anger filled. His bow
    and sword he seized, and like the roe
    hotfoot o'er rock and heath he sped
    before the dawn. ere day was dead
    to Aeluin at last he came,
    as the red sun westward sank in flame;
    but Aeluin was red with blood,
    red were the stones and trampled mud.
    Black in the birches sat a-row
    the raven and the carrion-crow;
    wet were their nebs, and dark the meat
    that dripped beneath their griping feet.
    One croaked: `Ha, ha, he comes too late!'
    `Ha, ha!' they answered, `ha! too late!'
      There Beren laid his father's bones
    in haste beneath a cairn of stones;
    no grave rune nor word he wrote
    o'er Barahir, but thrice he smote
    the topmost stone, and thrice aloud
    he cried his name. `Thy death' he vowed,
    `I will avenge. Yea, though my fate
    should lead at last to Angband's gate.'
    And then he turned, and did not weep:
    too dark his heart, the wound too deep.
    Ouy into night, as cold as stone,
    loveless, friendless, he strode alone.
      Of hunter's lore he had no need
    the trail to find. With little heed
    his ruthless foe, secure and proud,
    marched north away with blowing loud
    in brazen horns their lord to greet,
    trampling the earth with grinding feet.
    Behind them bold but wary went
    now Beren, swift as hound on scent,
    until beside a darkling well,
    where Rivil rises from the fell
    down into Serech's reeds to flow,
    he found the slayers, found his foe.
    From hiding on the hillside near
    he marked them all: though less than fear,
    too many for his sword and bow
    to slay alone. Then, crawling low
    as snake in heath, he nearer crept.
    There many weary with marching slept,
    but captains, sprawling on the grass,
    drank and from hand to hand let pass
    their booty, grudging each small thing
    raped from dead bodies. One a ring
    held up, and laughed: `Now, mates,' he cried
    `here's mine! And I'll not be denied,
    though few be like it in the land.
    For I 'twas wrenched it from the hand
    of that same Barahir I slew,
    the robber-knave. If tales be true,
    he had it of some elvish lord,
    for the rouge-service of his sword.
    No help it gave to him - he's dead.
    They're parlous, elvish rings, 'tis said;
    still for the gold I'll keep it, yea
    and so eke out ny niggard pay.
    Old Sauron bade me bring it back,
    and yet, methinks, he has no lack
    of weightier treasures in his hoard:
    the greater the greedier the lord!
    So mark ye, mates, ye all shall swear
    the hand of Barahir was bare!'
    And as he spoke an arrow sped
    from tree behind, and forward dead
    choking he fell with barb in throat;
    with leering face the earth he smote.
      Forth, then as wolfhound grim there leapt
    Beren among them. Two he swept
    aside with sword; caught up the ring;
    slew one who grasped him; with a spring
    back into shadow passed, and fled
    before their yells of wrath and dread
    of ambush in the valley rang.
    Then after him like wolves they sprang,
    howling and cursing, gnashing teeth,
    hewing and bursting through the heath,
    shooting wild arrows, sheaf on sheaf,
    at trembling shade or shaking leaf.
      In fatefull hour was Beren born:
    he laughed at dart and wailing horn;
    fleetest of foot of living men,
    tireless on fell and light on fen,
    elf-wise in wood, he passed away,
    defended by his hauberk grey
    of dwarfish craft in Nogrod made,
    where hammers rang in cavern's shade.
      As fearless Beren was renowned:
    when men most hardy upon ground
    were reckoned folk would speak his name,
    foretelling that his after-fame
    would even golden Hador pass
    or Barahir or Bregolas;
    but sorrow now his heart had wrought
    to fierce despair, no more he fought
    in hope of life or joy or praise,
    but seeking so to use his days
    only that Morgoth deep should feel
    the sting of his avenging steel,
    ere death he found and end of pain:
    his only fear was thraldom's chain.
    Danger he sought and death pursued,
    and thus escaped the doom he wooed,
    and deeds of breathless daring wrought
    alone, of which his rumour brought
    new hope to many a broken man.
    They whispered `Beren', and began
    in secret swords to whet, and soft
    by shrouded hearts at evening oft
    songs they would sing of Beren's bow,
    of Dagmor his sword: how he would go
    silent to camps and slay the chief,
    or trapped in his hiding past belief
    would slip away, and under night
    by mist or moon, or by the light
    of open day would come again.
    Of hunters hunted, slayers slain
    they sang, of Gorgol the Butcher hewn,
    of ambush in Ladros, fire in Drűn,
    of thirty in one battle dead,
    of wolves that yelped like curs and fled
    yea, Sauron himself with wound in hand.
    Thus one alone filled all that land
    with fear and death for Morgoth's folk;
    his comrades were the beech and oak
    who failed him not, and wary things
    with fur and fell and feathered wings
    that silent wander, or dwell alone
    in hill and wild and waste of stone
    watched o'er his ways, his faithful friends.
      Yet seldom well an outlaw ends;
    and Morgoth was a king more strong
    than all the world has since in song
    recorded: dark athwart the land
    reached out the shadow of his hand,
    at each recoil returned again;
    two more were sent for one foe slain.
    New hope was cowed, all rebels killed;
    quenched were the fires, the songs were stilled,
    tree felled, heath burned, and through the waste
    marched the black host of Orcs in haste.
      Almost they closed their ring of steel
    round Beren; hard upon his heel
    now trod their spies; within their hedge
    of all aid shorn, upon the edge
    of death at bay he stood aghast
    and knew that he must die at last,
    or flee the land of Barahir,
    his land beloved. Beside the mere
    beneath a heap of nameless stones
    must crumble those once mighty bones,
    forsaken by both son and kin,
    bewailed by reeds of Aeluin.
      In winter's night the houseless North
    he left behind, and stealing forth
    the leaguer of his watchful foe
    he passed - a shadow on the snow,
    a swirl of wind, and he was gone,
    the ruin of Dorthonion,
    Tarn Aeluin and its water wan,
    never again to look upon.
    No more shall hidden bowstring sing,
    no more shall shaven arrows wing,
    no more his hunted head shall lie
    upon the heath beneath the sky.
    The Northern stars, whos silver fire
    of old Men named the Burning Briar,
    were set behind his back, and shone
    o'er land forsaked: he was gone.
      Southward he turned, and south away
    his long and lonely journey lay,
    while ever loomed before his path
    the dreadful peaks of Gorgorath.
    Never had foot of man most bold
    yet trod those mountains steep and cold,
    nor climbed upon their sudden brink,
    whence, sickened, eyes must turn and shrink
    to see their southward cliffs fall sheer
    in rocky pinnacle and pier
    down into shadows that were laid
    before the sun and moon were made.
    In valleys woven with deceit
    and washed with waters bitter-sweet
    dark magic lurked in gulf and glen;
    but out away beyond the ken
    of mortal sight the eagle's eye
    from dizzy towers that pierced the sky
    might grey and gleaming see afar,
    as sheen on water under star,
    Beleriand, Beleriand,
    the borders of the Elven-land.
    There long ago in Elder-days
    ere voice was heard or trod were ways,
    the haunt of silent shadows stood
    in starlit dusk Nan Elmoth wood.
    In Elder-days that long are gone
    a light amid the shadows shone,
    a voice was in the silent heard:
    the sudden singing of a bird.
    There Melian came, the Lady grey,
    and dark and long her tresses lay
    beneath her silver girdle-seat
    and down unto her silver feet.
    The nightingales with her she brought,
    to whom their song herself she taught,
    who sweet upon her gleaming hands
    had sung in the immortal lands.
      Thence wayward wandering on a time
    from Lórien she dared to climb
    the ever-lasting mountain-wall
    of Valinor, at whose feet fall
    the surges of the Shadowy Sea.
    Out away she went then free,
    to gardens of the Gods no more
    returning, but on mortal shore,
    a glimmer ere the dawn she strayed,
    singing her spells from glade to glade.
      A bird in dim Nan Elmoth wood
    trilled, and to listen Thingol stood
    amazed; then far away he heard
    a voice more fair than fairest bird,
    a voice as crystal clear of note
    as thread of silver glass remote.
    Of folk and kin no more he thought;
    of errand that the Eldar brought
    from Cuivínen far away,
    of lands beyond the sea that lay
    no more he recked, forgetting all,
    drawn only by that distant call
    till deep in dim Nan Elmoth wood
    lost and beyond recall he stood.
    And there he saw her, fair and fay:
    Ar-Melian, the Lady grey,
    as silent as the windless trees,
    standing with mist about her knees,
    and in her face remote the light
    of Lórien glimmered in the night.
    No word she spoke; but pace by pace,
    a halting shadow, towards her face
    forth walked the silver-mantled king,
    tall Elu Thingol. In the ring
    of waiting trees he took her hand.
    One moment face to face they stand
    alone, beneath the weeling sky,
    while starlit years on earth go by
    and in Nan Elmoth wood the trees
    grow dark and tall. The murmuring seas
    rising and falling on the shore
    and Ulmo's horn he heeds no more.
      But long his people sought in vain
    their lord, till Ulmo called again,
    and then in grief they marched away,
    leaving the woods. To havens grey
    upon the western shore, the last
    long shore of mortal land, they passed,
    and thence were borne beyond the Sea
    in Aman, the Blessed Realm, to be
    by evergreen Ezellohar
    in Valinor, in Eldamar.
      Thus Thingol sailed not on the seas
    but dwelt amid the land of trees,
    and Melian he loved, divine,
    whose voice was potent as the wine
    the Valar drink i golden halls
    where flower blooms and fountain falls;
    but when she sang it was a spell,
    and no flower stirred nor fountain fell.
    A king and Queen thus lived they long,
    and Doriath was filled with song,
    and all the Elves that missed their way
    and never found the western bay,
    the gleaming walls of their long home
    by the grey seas and the white foam,
    who never trod the golden land
    where the towers of the Valar stand,
    all these were gathered in their realm
    beneath the beech and oak and elm.
    In later days when Morgoth fled
    from wrath and raised once more his head
    and Iron Crown, his mighty seat
    beneath the smoking mountain's feet
    founded and fortified anew,
    then slowly dread and darkess grew:
    the Shadow of the North that all
    the Folk of Earth would hold in thrall.
      The lords of Men to knee he brings,
    the kingdoms of the Exiled Kings
    assails with ever-mounting war:
    in their last havens by the shore
    they dwell, or strongholds walled with fear
    defend upon his borders drear,
    till each one falls. Yet reigns there still
    in Doriath beyond his will
    the Grey King and immortal Queen.
    No evil in their realm is seen;
    no power their might can yet surpass:
    there still is laughter and green grass,
    there leaves are lit by the white sun,
    and many marvels are begun.
      There went now in the Guarded Realm
    beneath the beech, beneath the elm,
    there lightfoot ran now on the green
    the daughter of the king and queen:
    of Arda's eldest children born
    in beauty of their elven-morn
    and only child ordained by birth
    to walk in raiment of the Earth
    from Those descended who began
    before the world of Elf and Man.
      Beyond the bounds of Arda far
    still shone the Legions, star on star,
    memorials of their labour long,
    achievement of Vision and of Song;
    and when beneath their ancient light
    on Earth below was cloudless night,
    music in Doriath awoke,
    and there beneath the branching oak,
    or seated in the beech-leaves brown,
    Dairon the dark with ferny crown
    played on his pipes with elvish art
    unbearable by mortal heart.
      No other player has there been,
    no other lips or fingers seen
    so skilled, 'tis said in elven-lore,
    save Maglor son of Fëanor,
    forgotten harper, singer doomed,
    who young when Laurelin yet bloomed
    to endless lamentation passed
    and in the tombless sea was cast.
      But Dairon in his heart's delight
    yet lived and played by starlit night,
    until one summer-eve befell,
    as still the elven harpers tell.
    Then merrily his piping thrilled;
    the grass was soft, the wind was stilled,
    the twilight lingered faint and cool
    in shadow-shapes upon the pool
    beneath the boughs of sleeping trees
    standing silent. About their knees
    a mist of hemlocks glimmered pale,
    and ghostly moths on lace-wings frail
    went to and fro. Beside the mere
    quickening, rippling, rising clear
    the piping called. Then forth she came,
    as sheer and sudden as a flame
    of peerless white the shadows cleaving,
    her maiden-bower on white feet leaving;
    and as when summer star arise
    radiant into darkened skies,
    her living light on all was cast
    in fleeting silver as she passed.
      There now she stepped with elven pace,
    bending and swaying in her grace,
    as half-reluctant; then began
    to dance, to dance: in mazes ran
    bewildering, and a mist of white
    was wreathed about her whirling flight.
    Wind-ripples on the water flashed,
    and trembling leaf and flower were plashed
    with diamond-dews, as ever fleet
    and fleeter went her wingéd feet.
      Her long hair as a cloud was streaming
    about her arms uplifted gleaming,
    as slow above the trees the Moon
    in glory of the plenilude
    arose, and on the open glade
    its light serene and clear was laid.
    Then suddenly her feet were stilled,
    and through the woven wood there thrilled,
    half wordless, half in elven-tounge,
    her voice upraised in blissful song
    that once of nightingales she learned
    and in her living joy had turned
    to heart-enthralling loveliness,
    unmarred, immortal, sorrowless.
    Ir Ithil ammen Eruchín
      menel-vîr síla díriel
    si loth a galadh lasto dîn!
      A Hîr Annűn gilthoniel,
    le linnon im Tinúviel!
    O elven-fairest Lúthien
    what wonder moved thy dances then?
    That night what doom of Elvenesse
    enchanted did thy voice possess?
    Such marvel shall there mo more be
    on Earth or west beyond the Sea,
    at dusk or dawn, by night or noon
    or neath the mirror of the moon!
    On Neldoreth was laid a spell;
    the piping into silence fell,
    for Dairon cast his flute away,
    unheeded on the grass it lay,
    in wonder bound as stone he stood
    heart-broken in the listening wood.
    And still she sang above the night,
    as light returning into light
    upsoaring from the world below
    when suddenly there came a slow
    dull tread of heavy feet on leaves,
    and from the darkness on the eaves
    of the bright glade a shape came out
    with hands agrope, as if in doubt
    or blind, and as it stumbling passed
    under the moon a shadow cast
    bended and darkling. Then from on high
    as lark falls headlong from the sky
    the song of Lúthien fell and ceased;
    but Dairon from the spell released
    awoke to fear, and cried in woe:
    `Flee Lúthien, ah Lúthien go!
    An evil walks in the wood! Away!'
    Then forth he fled in his dismay
    ever calling her to follow him,
    until far off his cry was dim
    `Ah flee, ah flee now, Lúthien'
    But silent stood she in the glen
    unmoved, who never fear had known,
    till fear then seized her, all alone,
    seeing that shape with shagged hair
    and shadow long that halted there.
    Then sudden she vanished like a dream
    in dark oblivion, a gleam
    in hurrying clouds, for she had leapt
    among the hemlocks tall, and crept
    under a mighty plant with leaves
    all long and dark, whose stem in sheaves
    upheld an hundred umbrels fair;
    and her white arms and shoulders bare
    her raiment pale, and in her hair
    the wild white roses glimmering there,
    all lay like spattered moonlight hoar
    in gleaming pools upon the floor.
    Then stared he wild in dumbness bound
    at silent trees, deserted ground;
    he blindly groped across the glade
    to the dark trees' encircling shade,
    and, while she watched with veilëd eyes,
    touched her soft arm in sweet surprise.
    Like startled moth from deathlike sleep
    in sunless nook or bushes deep
    she darted swift, and to and fro
    with cunning that elvish dancers know
    about the trunks of trees she twined
    a path fantastic. Far behind
    enchanted, wildered and forlorn
    Beren came blundering, bruised and torn:
    Esgalduin the elven-stream,
    in which amid tree-shadows gleam
    the stars, flowed strong before his feet.
    Some secret way she found, and fleet
    passed over and was seen no more,
    and left him forsaken on the shore.
    `Darkly the sundering flood rolls past!
    To this my long way comes at last -
    a hunger and a loneliness,
    enchanted waters pitiless.'
      A summer waned, an autumn glowed,
    and Beren in the woods abode,
    as wild and wary as a faun
    that sudden wakes at rustling dawn,
    and flits from shade to shade, and flees
    the brightness of the sun, yet sees
    all stealthy movements in the wood.
    The murmurous warmth in weathers good,
    the hum of many wings, the call
    of many a bird, the pattering fall
    of sudden rain upon the trees,
    the windy tides in leafy seas,
    the creaking of the boughs, he heard;
    but not the song of sweetest bird
    brought joy or comfort to his heart,
    a wanderer dumb who dwelt apart;
    who sought unceasing and in vain
    to hear and see those thinga again:
    a song more fair than nightingale,
    a wonder in the moonlight pale.
      An autumn waned, a winter laid
    the withered leaves in grove and glade;
    the beeches bare were gaunt and grey,
    and red their leaves beneath them lay.
    From cavern pale the moist moon eyes
    the white mists that from earth arise
    to hide the morrow's sun and drip
    all the grey day from each twig's tip.
    By dawn and dusk he seeks her still;
    by noon and night in valleys chill,
    nor hears a sound but the slow beat
    on sodden leaves of his own feet.
      The wind of winter winds his horn;
    the misty veil is rent and torn.
    The wind dies; the starry choirs
    leap in the silent sky to fires,
    whose light comes bitter-cold and sheer
    through domes of frozen crystal clear.
      A sparkle through the darkling trees,
    a piercing glint of light he sees,
    and there she dances all alone
    upn a freeless knoll of stone!
    Her mantle blue with jewels white
    caught all the rays of frosted light.
    She shone with cold and wintry flame,
    as dancing down the hill she came,
    and passed his watchful silent gaze,
    a glimmer as of stars ablaze.
    And snowdrops spang beneath her feet,
    and one bird, sudden, late and sweet,
    shrilled as the wayward passed along.
    A frozen brook to bubbling song
    awoke and laughed; but Beren stood
    still bound enchanted in the wood.
    Her starlight faded and the night
    closed o'er the snowdrops glimmering white.
      Thereafter on a hillock green
    he saw far off the elven-sheen
    of shining limb and jewel bright
    often and oft on moonlit night;
    and Dairon's pipe awoke him once more,
    and soft she sang as once before.
    Then nigh he stole beneath the trees,
    and heartache mingled with hearts-ease.
      A night there was when winter died;
    then all alone she sang and cried
    and danced until the dawn of spring,
    and chanted some wild magic thing
    that stirred him, till it sudden broke
    the bonds that held him, and he woke
    to madness sweet and brave despair.
    He flung his arms to the night air,
    and out he danced unheeding, fleet,
    enchanted, with enchanted feet.
    He sped towards the hillock green,
    the lissom limbs, the dancing sheen;
    he leapt upon the grasy hill
    his arms with loveliness to fill:
    his arms were empty, and she fled;
    away, away her white feet sped.
    But as she went he swiftly came
    and called her with the tender name
    of nightingales in elvish tongue,
    that all the woods now in sudden rung:
    `Tinúviel! Tinúviel!'
    And clear his voice was as a bell;
    its echoes wove a binding spell:
    `Tinúviel! Tinúviel!'
    His voice such love and longing filled
    one moment stood she, fear was stilled;
    one moment only; like a flame
    he leaped towards her as she stayed
    and caught and kissed that elfin maid.
      As love there woke in sweet surprise
    the starlight trembled in her eyes.
    A! Lúthien! A! Lúthien!
    more fair than any child of Men;
    O! loveliest maid of Elfinesse,
    what madness does thee now possess!
    A! lissom limbs and shadowy hair
    and chaplet of white snowdrops there;
    O! starry diadem and white
    pale hands beneath the pale moonlight!
    She left his arms and slipped away
    just at the breaking of the day.
    He lay upon the leafy mould,
    his face upon earth's bosom cold,
    aswoon in overwhelming bliss,
    enchanted of an elvish kiss,
    seeing within his darkened eyes
    the light that for no darkness dies,
    the loveliness that doth not fade,
    though all in ashes cold be laid.
    Then folded in the mists of sleep
    hi sank into abysses beep,
    drowned in an overwhelming grief
    for parting after meeting brief;
    a shadow and a fragrance fair
    lingered, and waned, and was not there.
    Forsaken, barren, bare as stone,
    the daylight found him cold, alone.
      `Where art thou gone? The day is bare,
    the sunlight dark, and cold in the air!
    Tinúviel, where went thy feet?
    O wayward star! O maiden sweet!
    O flower of Elfland all too fair
    for mortal heart! The woods are bare!
    The woods are bare!' he rose and cried.
    `Ere spring was born, the spring hath died!'
    And wandering in path and mind
    he groped as one gone sudden blind,
    who seeks to grasp the hidden light
    with faltering hands in more than night.
      And thus in anguish Beren paid
    for that great doom upin him laid,
    the deathless love of Lúthien,
    too fair for ove of mortal Men;
    and in his doom was Lúthien snared,
    the deathless in his dying shared;
    and Fate them forged a binding chain
    of living love and mortal pain.
      Beyond all hope her feet returned
    at eve, whenin the sky there burned
    the flame of stars; and in her eyes
    there trembled the starlight of the skies,
    and from her hair the fragrance felll
    of elvenflowers in elven-dell.
     Thus Lúthien, whom no pursuit,
    no snare, no dart that hunters shoot,
    might hope to win or hold, she came
    at the sweet calling of her name;
    and thus in his her slender hand
    was linked in far Beleriand;
    in hour enchanted long ago
    her arms about his nech did go,
    and gently down she drew to rest
    his weary head upon her breast.
      A! Lúthien, Tinúviel,
    why wentest thou to darkling dell
    with shining eyes and dancing pace,
    the twilight glimmering in thy face?
    Each day before the end of eve
    she sought him love, nor would him leave,
    until the stars were dimmed, and day
    came glimmering eastward silver-grey.
    Then trembling-veiled she would appear
    and dance before him, half in fear;
    there flitting just before his feet
    she gently chid with laughter sweet:
    `Come! dance now, Beren, dance with me!
    For fain thy dancing I would see.
    Come! thou must woo with nimbler feet,
    than those who walk where mountains meet
    the bitter skies beyond this realm
    of marvellous moonlit beech and elm.'
      In Doriath Beren long ago
    new art and lore he learned to know;
    his limbs were freed; his eyes alight,
    kindled with a new enchanted sight;
    and to her dancing feet his feet
    attuned went dancing free and fleet;
    his laughter welled as from a spring
    of music, and his voice would sing
    as voices of those in Doriath
    where paved with flowers are floor and path.
    The year thus on to summer rolled,
    from spring to a summertime of gold.
      Thus fleeting fast their short hour flies,
    while Dairon watches with fiery eyes,
    haunting the gloom of tangled trees
    all day, until at night he sees
    in the fickle moon their moving feet,
    two lovers linked in dancing sweet,
    two shadows shimmering on the green
    where lonely-dancing maid had been.
      `Hateful art thou, O Land of Trees!
    May fear and silence on thee seize!
    My flute shall fall from idle hand
    and mirth shall leave Beleriand;
    music shall perish and voices fail
    and trees stand dumb in dell and dale!'
      It seemed a hush had fallen there
    upon the waiting woodland air;
    and often murmured Thingol's folk
    in wonder, and to their king they spoke:
    `This spell of silence who hath wrought?
    what web hath Dairon's music caught?
    It seems the very birds sing low;
    murmurless Esgalduin doth flow;
    the leaves scarce whisper on the trees,
    and soundless beat the wings of bees!'
      This Lúthien heard, and there the queen
    her sudden glances saw unseen.
    But Thingol marvelled, and he sent
    for Dairon the piper, ere he went
    and sat upon his mounded seat -
    his grassy throne by the grey feet
    of the Queen of Beeches, Hirilorn,
    upon whose triple piers were borne
    the mightiest vault of leaves and bough
    from world's beginning until now.
    She stood above Esgalduin's shore,
    where long slopes fell beside the door,
    the guarded gates, the portals stark
    of the Thousand echoing Caverns dark.
      There Thingol sat and heard no sound
    save far off footsteps on the ground;
    no flute, no vocice, no song of bird,
    no choirs of windy leaves there stirred;
    and Dairon coming no word spoke,
    silent amid the woodland folk.
    Then Thingol said: `O Dairon fair,
    thou master of all musics rare,
    O magic heart and wisdom wild,
    whoue ear nor eye may be beguiled,
    what omen doth this silence bear?
    What horn afar upon the air,
    what summons do the woods await?
    Mayhap the Lord Tavros from his gate
    and tree-propped halls, the forest-god,
    rides his wild stallion golden-shod
    amid the trumpets' tempest loud,
    amid his green-clad hunters proud,
    leaving his deer and friths divine
    and emerald forests? Some faint sign
    of his great onset may have come
    upon the Western winds, and dumb
    the woods now listen for a chase
    that here once more shall thundering race
    beneath the shade of mortal trees.
    Would it were so! The Lands of Ease
    hath Tavros left not many and age,
    since Morgoth evil wars did wage,
    since ruin fell upon the North
    and the Gnomes unhappy wandered forth.
    But if not he, who comes or what?'
    And Dairon answered: `He cometh not!
    No feet divine shall leave that shore,
    where the Shadowy Seas' last surges roar,
    till many things be come to pass,
    and many evils wrought. Alas!
    the guest is here. The woods are still,
    but wait not; for a marvel chill
    them holds at the strange deeds they see,
    but kings see not - though queens, maybe,
    may guess, and maidens, maybe, know.
    Where one want lonely two now go!'
      `Whither thy riddle points is plain'
    the king in anger said, `but deign
    to make it plainer! Who is he
    that earns my wrath? How walks he free
    within my woods amid my folk,
    a stranger to both beech and oak?'
    But Dairon looked on Lúthien
    and would he had not spoken then,
    and no more would he speak that day,
    though Thingol's face with wrath was grey.
    Then Lúthien stepped lightly forth:
    `Far in the mountain-leaguered North,
    my father,' said she, `lies the land
    that groans beneath King Morgoth's hand.
    Thence came one hither, bent and worn
    in wars and travail, who had sworn
    undying hatred of that king;
    the last of Bëor's sons, they sing,
    and even hither far and deep
    within thy woods the echoes creep
    through the wild mountain-passes cold,
    the last of Bëor's house to hold
    a sword unconquered, neck unbowed,
    a heart by evil power uncowed.
    No evil needest thou think or fear
    of Beren son of Barahir!
    If aught thou hast to say to him,
    then swear to hurt not flesh or limb,
    and I will lead him to thy hall,
    a son of kings, no mortal thrall.'
      Then long King Thingol looked on her
    while hand nor foot nor tongue did stir,
    and Melian, silent, unamazed,
    on Lúthien and Thingol gazed.
    `No blade nor chain his limbs shall mar'
    the king then swore. `He wanders far,
    and news, mayhap, he hath for me,
    and words I have for him, maybe!'
    Now Thingol bade them all depart
    save Dairon, whom he called: `What art,
    that wizardry of Northern mist
    hath this illcomer brought us? List!
    Tonight go thou by secret path,
    who knowest all wide Doriath,
    and watch that Lúthien - daughter mine,
    what madness doth thy heart entwine,
    what web from Morgoth's dreadful halls
    hath caught thy feet and thee enthralls! -
    that she bid not this Beren flee
    back whence he came. I would him see!
    Take with thee woodland archers wise.
    Let naught beguile your hearts or eyes!'
      Thus Dairon heavyhearted did,
    and the woods were filled with watchers hid;
    yet needless, for Lúthien that night
    led Beren by the golden light
    of mounting moon unto the shore
    and bridge befor her father's door;
    and the white light silent looked within
    the waiting portals yawning dim.
      Downward with gentle hand she led
    through corridors of carven dread
    whose turns were lit by lanterns hung
    of flames from torches that were flung
    on dragons hewn in the cold stone
    with jewelled eyes and teeth of bone.
    Then sudden, deep beneath the earth
    the silences with silver mirth
    were shaken and the roks were ringing,
    the birds of Melian were singing;
    and wide the ways of shadow spread
    as into archéd halls she led
    Beren in wonder. There a light
    like day immortal and like night
    of stars unclouded, shone and gleamed.
    A vault of topless trees it seemed,
    whose trunks of carven tones there stood
    like towers of and enchanted wood
    in magic fast for ever bound,
    bearing a roof whose branches wound
    in endless tracery of green
    lit by some leaf-imprisoned sheen
    of moon and sun, and wrought of gems,
    and each leaf hung on golden stems.
      Lo! there amid immortal flowers
    the nightingales in shining bowers
    sang o'er the head of Melian,
    while water for ever dripped and ran
    from fountains in the rocky floor.
    There Thingol sat. His crown he wore
    of green and silver, and round his chair
    a host in gleaming armour fair.
    Then Beren looked upon the king
    and stood amazed; and swift a ring
    of elvish weapons hemmed him round.
    Then Beren looked upon the ground,
    for Melian's gaze had sought his face,
    and dazed there drooped he in that place,
    and when the king spake deep and slow:
    `Who art thou stumblest hither? Know
    that none unbidden seek this throne
    and ever leave these halls of stone!'
    no word he answered, filled with dread.
    But Lúthien answered in his stead:
    `Behold, my father, one who came
    pursued by hatred like a flame!
    Lo! Beren son of Barahir!
    What need hath he thy wrath to fear,
    foe of our foes, without a friend,
    whose knees to Morgoth do not bend?'
      `Let Beren answer!' Thingol said.
    `What wouldst thou here? What hither led
    thy wandering feet, O mortal wild?
    How hast thou Lúthien beguiled
    or darest thou to walk this wood
    unasked, in secret? Reason good
    'twere best declare now if thou may,
    or never again see light of day!'
      Then Beren looked in Lúthien's eyes
    and saw a light of starry skies,
    and thence was slowly drawn his gaze
    to Melian's face. As from a maze
    of wonder dumb he woke; his heart
    the bonds of awe there burst apart
    and filled with fearless pride of old;
    in his glance now gleamed an anger cold.
    `My feet hath fate, O king,' he said,
    `here over the mountains bleeding led,
    and what I sought not I have found,
    and love it is hath here me bound.
    Thy dearest treasure I desire;
    nor rocks nor steel nor Morgoth's fire
    nor all the power of Elfinesse
    shall keep that gem I would possess.
    For fairer than are born to Men
    A daughter hast thou, Lúthien.'
      Silence then fell upon the hall;
    like graven stone there stood they all,
    save one who cast her eyes aground,
    and one who laughed with bitter sound.
    Dairon the piper leant there pale
    against a pillar. His fingers frail
    there touched a flute that whispered not;
    his eyes were dark; his heart was hot.
    `Death is the guerdon thou hast earned,
    O baseborn mortal, who hast learned
    in Morgoth's realm to spy and lurk
    like Orcs that do his evil work!'
    `Death!' echoed Dairon fierce and low,
    but Lúthien trembling gasped in woe.
    `And death,' said Thingol, `thou shouldst taste,
    had I not sworn an oath in haste
    that blade nor chain thy flesh should mar.
    Yet captive bound by never a bar,
    unchained, unfettered, shalt thou be
    in lightless labyrinth endlessly
    that coils about my halls profound
    by magic bewildered and enwound;
    thou shalt learn the power of Elfinesse!'
    `That may not be!' Lo! Beren spake,
    and through the king's words coldly brake.
    `What are thy mazes but a chain
    wherein the captive blind is slain?
    Twist not thy oaths, O elvish king,
    like faithless Morgoth! By this ring -
    the token of a lasting bond
    that Felagund of Nargothrond
    once swore in love to Barahir,
    who sheltered him with shield and spear
    and saved him from pursuing foe
    on Northern battlefields long ago -
    death thou canst give unearned to me,
    but names I will not take from thee
    of baseborn, spy, or Morgoth's thrall!
    Are these the ways of Thingol's hall?'
    Proud are the words, and all there turned
    to see the jewels green that burned
    in Beren's ring. These Gnomes had set
    as eyes of serpents twined that met
    beneath a golden crown of flowers,
    that one upholds and one devours:
    the badge that Finrod made of yore
    and Felagund his son now bore.
      His anger was chilled, but little less,
    and dark thoughts Thingol did possess,
    though Melian the pale leant to his side
    and whispered: `O king, forgo thy pride!
    Such is my counsel. Not by thee
    shall Beren be slain, for far and free
    from these deep halls his fate doth lead,
    yet wound with thine. O king, take heed!'
    But Thingol looked on Lúthien.
    `Fairest of Elves! Unhappy Men,
    children of little lords and kings
    mortal and frail, these fading things,
    shall they then look with love on thee?'
    his heart with him thought. `I see
    thy ring,' he said, `O mighty man!
    But to win the child of Melian
    a father's deeds shall not avail,
    nor thy proud words at which I quail.
    A treasure dear I too desire,
    but rocks and steel and Morgoth's fire
    from all the powers of Elfinesse
    do keep the jewel I would possess.
    Yet bonds like these I hear thee say
    affright thee not. Now go thy way!
    Bring me one shining Silmaril
    from Morgoth's crown, then if she will,
    may Lúthien set her hand in thine;
    then shalt thou have this jewel of mine.'
      Then Thingol's warriors loud and long
    they laughed; for wide renown in song
    had Fëanor's gems o'er land and sea,
    the peerless Silmarils; and three
    alone he made and kindled slow
    in the land of Valar long ago,
    and there in Tűn of their own light
    they shone like marvellous stars at night,
    in the great Gnomish hoards of Tűn,
    while Glingal flowered and Belthil's bloom
    yet lit the land beyond the shore
    where the Shadowy Seas' last surges roar,
    ere Morgoth stole them and the Gnomes
    seeking their glory left their homes,
    ere sorrow fell on Elves and Men,
    ere Beren was or Lúthien,
    ere Fëanor's sons in madness swore
    their dreadful oath. But now no more
    their beauty was seen, save shining clear
    in Morgoth's dungeons vast and drear.
    His iron crown they must adorn,
    and gleam above Orcs and slaves forlorn,
    treasured in Hell above all wealth,
    more than his eyes; and might nor stealth
    could touch them, or even gaze too long
    upon their magic. Throng on throng
    of Orcs with reddened scimitars
    encircled him, and mighty bars
    and everlasting gates and walls,
    who wore them now amigst his thralls.
      Then Beren laughed more loud than they
    in bitterness, and thus did say:
    `For little price do elven-kings
    their daughters sell - for gems and rings
    and things of gold! If such thy will,
    thy bidding I will now fulfill.
    On Beren son of Barahir
    thou hast not looked the last, I fear.
    Farewell, Tinúviel, starlit maiden!
    Ere the pale winter pass snowladen,
    I will return, not thee to buy
    with any jewel in Elfinesse,
    but to find my love in loveliness,
    a flower that grows beneath the sky.'
    Bowing before Melian and the king
    he turned, and thrust aside the ring
    of guards about him, and was gone,
    and his footsteps faded one by one
    in the dark corridors. `A guileful oath
    thou sworest, father! Thou hast both
    to blade and chain his flesh now doomed
    in Morgoth's dungeons deep entombed,'
    said Lúthien, and welling tears
    sprang in her eyes, and hideous fears
    clutched at her heart. All looked away,
    and later remembered that sad day
    whereafter Lúthien no more sang.
    Then clear in the silence the cold words rang
    of Melian: `Counsel cunning-wise,
    O king!' she said. `Yet if mine eyes
    lose not their power, 'twere well for thee
    that Beren failed his errantry.
    Well for thee, but for thy child
    a dark doom and a wandering wild.'
      `I sell not to Men those whom I love'
    said Thingol, `whom all things above
    I cherish; and if hope there were
    that Beren should ever living fare
    to the Thousand Caverns once more, I swear
    he should not ever have seen the air
    or light of heaven's stars again.'
    But Melian smiled, and there was pain
    as of far knowledge in her eyes;
    for such is the sorrow of the wise.
    So days drew on from the mournful day;
    the curse of silence no more lay
    on Doriath, though Dairon's flute
    and Lúthien's singing both were mute.
    The murmurs soft awake once more
    about the woods, the waters roar
    past the great gates of Thingol's halls;
    but no dancing step of Lúthien falls
    on turf or leaf. For she forlorn,
    where stumbled once, where bruised and torn,
    with longing on him like a dream,
    had Beren sat by the shrouded stream
    Esgalduin the dark and strong,
    she sat now and mourned in a low song:
    `Endless roll the waters past!
    To this my love hath come at last,
    enchanted waters pitiless,
    a heartache and a loneliness.'
      The summer turns. In branches tall
    she hears the pattering raindrops fall,
    the windy tide in leafy seas,
    the creaking of the countless trees;
    and longs unceasing and in vain
    to hear one calling once again
    the tender name that nightingales
    were called of old. Echo fails.
    `Tinúviel! Tinúviel!'
    the memory is like a knell,
    a faint and far-off tolling bell:
    `Tinúviel! Tinúviel!'
      `O mother Melian, tell to me
    some part of what thy dark eyes see!
    Tell of thy magic where his feet
    are wandering! What foes him meet?
    O mother, tell me, lives he still
    treading the desert and the hill?
    Do sun and moon above him shine,
    do the rains fall on him, mother mine?'
      `Nay, Lúthien my child, I fear
    he lives indeed in bondage drear.
    The Lord of Wolves hath prisons dark,
    chains and enchantments cruel and stark,
    there trapped and bound and languishing
    now Beren dreams that thou dost sing.'
      `Then I alone must go to him
    and dare the dread in dungeons dim;
    for none there be that will him aid
    in all the world, save elven-maid
    whose only skill were joy and song,
    and both have failed and left her long.'
    And nought said Melian thereto,
    though wild the words. She wept anew,
    and ran through the woods like hunted deer
    with her hair streaming and eyes of fear.
    Dairon she found with ferny crown
    silently sitting on beech-leaves brown.
    On the earth she cast her at his side.
    `O Dairon, Dairon, my tears,' she cried,
    `now pity for our old days' sake!
    Make me a music for heart's ache,
    for heart's despair, and for heart's dread,
    for light gone dark and laughter dead!'
      `But for music dead there is no note,'
    Dairon answered, and at his throat
    his fingers clutched. Yet his pipe he took,
    and sadly trembling the music shook;
    and all things stayed while that piping went
    wailing in the hollows, and there intent
    they listened, their business and mirth,
    their hearts' gladness and the light of earth
    forgotten; and bird-voices failed
    while Dairon's flute in Doriath wailed.
    Lúthien wept not for very pain,
    and when he ceased she spoke again:
    `My friend, I have a need of friends,
    as he who a long dark journey wends,
    and fears the road, yet dare not turn
    and look back where the candles burn
    in windows he has left. The night
    in front, he doubts to find the light
    that far beyond the hills he seeks.'
    And thus of Melian's words she speaks,
    and of her doom and her desire
    to climb the mountains, and the fire
    and ruin of the Northern realm
    to dare, a maiden without helm
    or sword, or strength of hardy limb,
    where magic founders and grows dim.
    His aid she sought to guide her forth
    and find the pathways to the North,
    if he would not for love of her
    go by her side a wanderer.
      `Wherefore,' said he, `should Dairon go
    into direst peril earth doth know
    for the sake of mortal who did steal
    his laughter and joy? No love I feel
    for Beren son of Barahir,
    nor weep for him in dungeons drear,
    who in this wood have chains enow,
    heavy and dark. But thee, I wow,
    I will defend from perils fell
    and deadly wandering into hell.'
      No more they spake that day, and she
    perceived not his meaning. Sorrowfully
    she thanked him, and she left him there.
    A tree she climbed, till the bright air
    above the woods her dark hair blew,
    and straining afar her eyes could view
    the outline grey and faint and low
    of dizzy towers where the clouds go,
    the southern faces mounting sheer
    in rocky pinnacle and pier
    of Shadowy Mountains pale and cold;
    and wide the lands before them rolled.
    But straightway Dairon sought the king
    and told him his daughter's pondering,
    and how her madness might her lead
    to ruin, unless the king gave heed.
    Thingol was wroth, and yet amazed;
    in onder and half fear he gazed
    on Dairon and said: `True hast thou been.
    Now ever shall love be us between,
    while Doriath lasts; within this realm
    thou art a prince of beech and elm!'
    He sent for Lúthien, and said:
    `O maiden fair, what hath thee led
    to ponder madness and despair
    to wander ruin, and to fare
    from Doriath agains my will,
    stealing like a wild thing men would kill
    into the emptiness outside?'
    `The wisdom, father,' she replied;
    nor would she promise to forget,
    nor would she vow for love or threat
    her folly to forsake and meek
    in Doriath her father's will to seek.
    This only vowed she, if go she must,
    that none but herself would she now trust,
    no folk of her father's would persuade
    to break his will or lend her aid;
    if go she must, she would go alone
    and friendless dare the walls of stone.
      In angry love and half in fear
    Thingol took counsel in his most dear
    to guard and keep. He would not bind
    in caverns deep and intertwined
    sweet Lúthien, his lovely maid,
    who robbed of air must wane and fade,
    who ever must look uponthe sky
    and see the sun and moon go by.
    But close unto his mounded seat
    and grassy throne there ran the feet
    of Hirirlorn, the beechen queen.
    Upon her triple boles were seen
    no break or branch until aloft
    in a green glimmer, distant, soft,
    the mightiest vault of leaf and bough
    from world's beginning until now
    was flung above Esgalduin's shores
    and the long slopes of Thingol's doors.
      Grey was the rind of pillars tall
    and silken-smooth, and far and small
    to squirrels' eyes were those who went
    at her grey feet upon the bent.
    Now Thingol made men in the beech,
    in that great tree, as far as reach
    their longest ladders, there to build
    an airy house; and as he willed
    a little dwelling of fair wood
    was made, and veiled in leaves it stood
    above the first branches. Corners three
    it had and windows faint to see,
    and by three shafts of Hirilorn
    in the corners standing was upborne.
      There Lúthien was bidden dwell,
    until she was wiser and the spell
    of madness left her. Up she clomb
    the long ladders to her new home
    among the leaves, among the birds;
    she sang no song, she spoke no words.
    White glimmering in the tree she rose,
    and her little door they heard her close.
    The ladders were taken and no more
    her feet might tread Esgalduin's shore.
      Thither at whiles they climbed and brought
    all things she needed and besought;
    but death was his, who so should dare
    a ladder leave, or creeping there
    should set one by the tree at night;
    a guard was held from dusk to light
    about the grey feet of Hirilorn
    and Lúthien in prison and forlorn.
    There Dairon grieving often stood
    insorrow for the captive of the wood,
    and melodies made upon his flute
    leaning against a grey tree-root.
    Lúthien would from her windows stare
    and see him far under piping there,
    and she forgave his betraying word
    for the music and the grief she heard,
    and only Dairon would she let
    across her threshold foot to set.
      Yet long the hours when she must sit
    and see the sunbeams dance and flit
    in beechen leaves, or watch the stars
    peep on clear nights between the bars
    of beechen branches. And one night
    just ere the changing of the light
    a dream there came, from the Gods, maybe,
    or Melian's magic. She dreamed that she
    heard Beren's voice o'er the hill and fell
    `Tinúviel' call, `Tinúviel.'
    And her heart answered: `Let me be gone
    to seek him no others think upon!'
    She woke and saw the moonlight pale
    through the slim leaves. It trembled frail
    upon her arms, as these she spread
    and there in longing bowed her head,
    and yearned for freedom and escape.
      Now Lúthien doth her counsel shape;
    and Melian's daughter of deep lore
    knew many things, yea, magics more
    than then or now know elven-maids
    that glint and shimmer in the glades.
    She pondered long, while the moon sank
    and faded, and the starlight shrank,
    and the dawn opened. At last a smile
    on her face flickered. She mused a while,
    and watched the morning sunlight grow,
    then called to those that walked below.
    And when one climbed to her she prayed
    that he would in the dark pools wade
    af cold Esgalduin, water clear,
    the clearest water cold and sheer
    to draw for her. `At middle night,'
    she said, `in bowl of silver white
    it must be drawn and brought to me
    with no word spoked, silently.'
    Another she begged to bring her wine
    in a jag of gold where flowers twine -
    `and singing let him come to me
    at high noon, singing merrily.'
    Again she spake: `Now go, I pray,
    to Melian the queen, and say:
    "thy daughter many a weary hour
    slow passing watches in her bower;
    a spinning-wheel she begs thee send."'
    Then Dairon she called: `I prithee, friend,
    climb up and talk to Lúthien!'
    And sitting at her window then,
    she said: `My Dairon, thou hast craft,
    beside thy music, many a shaft
    and many a tool of carven wood
    to fashion with cunning. It were good,
    if thou wouldst make a little loom
    to stand in the corner of my room.
    My idle fingers would spin and weave
    a pattern of colours, of morn and eve,
    of sun and moon and changing light
    amid the beech-leaves waving bright.'
    This Dairon did and asked her then:
    `O Lúthien, O Lúthien,
    What wilt thou weave? What wilt thou spin?'
    `A marvellous thread, and wind therin
    a potent magic, and a spell
    I will weave within my web that hell
    nor all the powers of Dread will break.'
    Then Dairon wondered, but he spake
    no word to Thingol, though his heart
    feared the dark purpose of her art.
      And Lúthien now was left alone.
    A magic song to Men unknown
    she sang, and singing then the wine
    with water mingled three times nine;
    and as in golden jar they lay
    she sang a song of groth and day;
    and as they lay in silver white
    another song she sang, of night
    and darkness without end, of height
    uplifted to the stars, and flight
    and freedom. And all the names of things
    tallest and longest on earth she sings:
    the locks of the Longbeard dwarves; the tail
    of Draugluin the werewolf pale;
    the body of Glómund the great snake;
    the vast upsoaring peaks that quake
    above the fiers in Angband's gloom;
    the chain Angainor that ere Doom
    for Morgoth shall by gods be wrought
    of steel and torment. Names she sought,
    and sang of Glend the sword of Nan;
    of Gimil the giant of Eruman;
    and last and longest named she then
    the endless hair of Uinen,
    the Lady of the Sea, that lies
    through all the waters under skies.
      Then did she lave her head and sing
    a theme of sleep and slumbering,
    profound and fathomless and dark
    as Lúthien's shadowy hair was dark -
    each thread was more slender and more fine
    than threads of twilight that entwine
    in filmy web the fading grass
    and closing flowers as day doth pass.
      Now longer and longer grew her hair,
    and fell to her feet, and wandered there
    like pools