Legacy YM

Canto 12 - Canto 12


When Morgoth in that day of doom

had slain the Trees and filled with gloom

the shining land of Valinor,

there Fëanor and his sons then swore

the mighty oath upon the hill

of tower-crowned Tun, that still

wrought wars and sorrow in the world.

From darkling seas the fogs unfurled

their blinding shadows grey and cold

where Glingal once had bloomed with gold

and Belthil bore its silver flowers.

The mists were mantled round the towers

of the Elves' white city by the sea.

There countless torches fitfully

did start and twinkle, as the Gnomes

were gathered to their fading homes,

and thronged the long and winding stair

that led to the wide echoing square.

There Fëanor mourned his jewels divine,

the Silmarils he made. Like wine

his wild and potent words them fill;

a great host harkens deathly still.

But all he said both wild and wise,

half truth and half the fruit of lies

that Morgoth sowed in Valinor,

in other songs and other lore

recorded is. He bade them flee

from lands divine, to cross the sea,

the pathless plains, the perilous shores

where ice-infested water roars;

to follow Morgoth to the unlit earth

leaving their dwellings and olden mirth;

to go back to the Outer Lands

to wars and weeping. There their hands

they joined in vows, those kinsmen seven,

swearing beneath the stars of Heaven,

by Varda the Holy that them wrought

and bore them each with radiance fraught

and set them in the deeps to flame.

Timbrenting's holy height they name,

whereon are built the timeless halls

of Manwë Lord of Gods. Who calls

these names in witness may not break

his oath, though earth and heaven shake.

Curufin, Celegorm the fair,

Amrod and Amras were there,

and Caranthir dark, and Maedhros tall

(whom after torment should befall),

and Maglor the mighty who like the sea

with deep voice sings yet mournfully.

'Be he friend or foe, or seed defiled

of Morgoth Bauglir, or mortal child

that in after days on earth shall dwell,

no law, nor love, nor league of hell,

not might of Gods, not moveless fate

shall him defend from wrath and hate


of Fëanor's sons, who takes or steals

or finding keeps the Silmarils,

the thrice-enchanted globes of light

that shine until the final night.'

The wars and wandering of the Gnomes

this tale tells not. Far from their homes

they fought and laboured in the North.

Fingon daring alone went forth

and sought for Maedhros where he hung;

in torment terrible he swung,

his wrist in band of forged steel,

from a sheer precipice where reel

the dizzy senses staring down

from Thangorodrim's stony crown.

The song of Fingon Elves yet sing,

captain of armies, Gnomish king,

who fell at last in flame of swords

with his white banners and his lords.

They sing how Maedhros free he set,

and stayed the feud that slumbered yet

between the children proud of Finn.

Now joined once more they hemmed him in,

even great Morgoth, and their host

beleaguered Angband, till they boast

no Orc nor demon ever dare

their leaguer break or past them fare.

Then days of solace woke on earth

beneath the new-lit Sun, and mirth

was heard in the Great Lands where Men,

a young race, spread and wandered then.

That was the time that songs do call

the Siege of Angband, when like a wall

the Gnomish swords did fence the earth

from Morgoth's ruin, a time of birth,

of blossoming, of flowers, of growth;

but still there held the deathless oath,

and still the Silmarils were deep

in Angband's darkly-dolven keep.

An end there came, when fortune turned,

and flames of Morgoth's vengeance burned,

and all the might which he prepared

in secret in his fastness flared

and poured across the Thirsty Plain;

and armies black were in his train.

The leaguer of Angband Morgoth broke;

his enemies in fire and smoke

were scattered, and the Orcs there slew

and slew, until the blood like dew

dripped from each cruel and crooked blade.

Then Barahir the bold did aid

with mighty spear, with shield and men,

Felagund wounded. To the fen

escaping, there they bound their troth,

and Felagund deeply swore an oath

of friendship to his kin and seed,

of love and succour in time of need.


But there of Finarfin's children four

were Angrod slain and proud Aegnor.

Felagund and Orodreth then

gathered the remnant of their men,

their maidens and their children fair;

forsaking war they made their lair

and cavernous hold far in the south.

On Narog's towering bank its mouth

was opened; which they hid and veiled,

and mighty doors, that unassailed

till Túrin's day stood vast and grim,

they built by trees o'ershadowed dim.

And with them dwelt a long time there

Curufin, and Celegorm the fair;

and a mighty folk grew neath their hands

in Narog's secret halls and lands.

Thus Felagund in Nargothrond

still reigned, a hidden king whose bond

was sworn to Barahir the bold.

And now his son through forests cold

wandered alone as in a dream.

Esgalduin's dark and shrouded stream

he followed, till its waters frore

were joined to Sirion, Sirion hoar,

pale silver water wide and free

rolling in splendour to the sea.

Now Beren came unto the pools,

wide shallow meres where Sirion cools

his gathered tide beneath the stars,

ere chafed and sundered by the bars

of reedy banks a mighty fen

he feeds and drenches, plunging then

into vast chasms underground,

where many miles his way is wound.

Umboth-Muilin, Twilight Meres,

those great wide waters grey as tears

the Elves then named. Through driving rain

from thence across the Guarded Plain

the Hills of the Hunters Beren saw

with bare tops bitten bleak and raw

by western winds; but in the mist

of streaming rains that flashed and hissed

into the meres he knew there lay

beneath those hills the cloven way

of Narog, and the watchful halls

of Felagund beside the falls

of Ringwil tumbling from the wold.

An everlasting watch they hold,

the Gnomes of Nargothrond renowned,

and every hill is tower-crowned,

where wardens sleepless peer and gaze

guarding the plain and all the ways

between Narog swift and Sirion pale;

and archers whose arrows never fail

there range the woods, and secret kill

all who creep thither against their will.


Yet now he thrusts into that land

bearing the gleaming ring on hand

of Felagund, and oft doth cry:

'Here comes no wandering Orc or spy,

but Beren son of Barahir

who once to Felagund was dear.'

So ere he reached the eastward shore

of Narog, that doth foam and roar

o'er boulders black, those archers green

came round him. When the ring was seen

they bowed before him, though his plight

was poor and beggarly. Then by night

they led him northward, for no ford

nor bridge was built where Narog poured

before the gates of Nargothrond,

and friend nor foe might pass beyond.

To northward, where that stream yet young

more slender flowed, below the tongue

of foam-splashed land that Ginglith pens

when her brief golden torrent ends

and joins the Narog, there they wade.

Now swiftest journey thence they made

to Nargothrond's sheer terraces

and dim gigantic palaces.

They came beneath a sickle moon

to doors there darkly hung and hewn

with posts and lintels of ponderous stone

and timbers huge. Now open thrown

were gaping gates, and in they strode

where Felagund on throne abode.

Fair were the words of Narog's king

to Beren, and his wandering

and all his feuds and bitter wars

recounted soon. Behind closed doors

they sat, while Beren told his tale

of Doriath; and words him fail

recalling Lúthien dancing fair

with wild white roses in her hair,

remembering her elven voice that rung

while stars in twilight round her hung.

He spake of Thingol's marvellous halls

by enchantment lit, where fountain falls

and ever the nightingale doth sing

to Melian and to her king.

The quest he told that Thingol laid

in scorn on him; how for love of maid

more fair than ever was born to Men,

of Tinúviel, of Lúthien,

he must essay the burning waste,

and doubtless death and torment taste.

This Felagund in wonder heard,

and heavily spake at last this word:

'It seems that Thingol doth desire

thy death. The everlasting fire

of those enchanted jewels all know

is cursed with an oath of endless woe,


and Fëanor's sons alone by right

are lords and masters of their light.

He cannot hope within his hoard

to keep this gem, nor is he lord

of all the folk of Elfinesse.

And yet thou saist for nothing less

can thy return to Doriath

be purchased? Many a dreadful path

in sooth there lies before thy feet

and after Morgoth, still a fleet

untiring hate, as I know well,

would hunt thee from heaven unto hell.

Fëanor's sons would, if they could,

slay thee or ever thou reached his wood

or laid in Thingol's lap that fire,

or gained at least thy sweet desire.

Lo! Celegorm and Curufin

here dwell this very realm within,

and even though I, Finarfin's son,

am king, a mighty power have won

and many of their own folk lead.

Friendship to me in every need

they yet have shown, but much I fear

that to Beren son of Barahir

mercy or love they will not show

if once thy dreadful quest they know.'

True words he spake. For when the king

to all his people told this thing,

and spake of the oath to Barahir,

and how that mortal shield and spear

had saved them from Morgoth and from woe

on Northern battlefields long ago,

then many were kindled in their hearts

once more to battle. But up there starts

amid the throng, and loudly cries

for hearing, one with flaming eyes,

proud Celegorm with gleaming hair

and shining sword. Then all men stare

upon his stern unyielding face,

and a great hush falls upon that place.

'Be he friend or foe, or demon wild

of Morgoth, Elf, or mortal child,

or any that here on earth may dwell,

no law, nor love, nor league of hell,

no might of Gods, no binding spell,

shall him defend from hatred fell

of Fëanor's sons, whoso take or steal

or finding keep a Silmaril.

These we alone do claim by right,

our thrice enchanted jewels bright.'

Many wild and potent words he spoke,

and as before in Tun awoke

his father's voice their hearts to fire,

so now dark fear and brooding ire

he cast on them, foreboding war

of friend with friend; and pools of gore


their minds imagined lying red

in Nargothrond about the dead,

did Narog's host with Beren go;

or haply battle, ruin, and woe

in Doriath where great Thingol reigned,

if Fëanor's fatal jewel he gained.

And even such as were most true

to Felagund his oath did rue,

and thought with terror and despair

of seeking Morgoth in his lair

with force or guile. This Curufin

when his brother ceased did then begin

more to impress upon their minds;

and such a spell he on them binds

that never again till Túrin's day

would Gnome of Narog in array

of open battle go to war.

With secrecy, ambush, spies, and lore

of wizardry, with silent leaguer

of wild things wary, watchful, eager,

of phantom hunters, venomed darts,

and unseen stealthy creeping arts,

with padding hatred that its prey

with feet of velvet all the day

followed remorseless out of sight

and slew it unawares at night

thus they defended Nargothrond,

and forgot their kin and solemn bond

for dread of Morgoth that the art

of Curufin set within their heart.

So would they not that angry day

King Felagund their lord obey,

but sullen murmured that Finrod

Finarfin’s son was not as a god.

Then Felagund took off his crown

and at his feet he cast it down,

the silver helm of Nargothrond:

'Yours ye may break, but I my bond

must keep, and kingdom here forsake.

If hearts here were that did not quake,

or that to Finarfin's son were true,

then I at least should find a few

to go with me, not like a poor

rejected beggar scorn endure,

turned from my gates to leave my town,

my people, and my realm and crown!'

Hearing these words there swiftly stood

beside him ten tried warriors good,

men of his house who had ever fought

wherever his banners had been brought.

One stooped and lifted up his crown,

and said: 'O king, to leave this town

is now our fate, but not to lose

thy rightful lordship. Thou shalt choose


one to be steward in thy stead.'

Then Felagund upon the head

of Orodreth set it: 'Brother mine,

till I return this crown is thine.'

Then Celegorm no more would stay,

and Curufin smiled and turned away.

Canto10 - Canto 10
Canto11 - Canto 11
Canto12 - Canto 12
Canto13 - Canto 13
Canto14 - Canto 14
Canto15 - Canto 15
Canto16 - Canto 16
Canto17 - Canto 17
Canto18 - Canto 18
Canto19 - Canto 19
Canto20 - Canto 20
Canto21 - Canto 21
Canto22 - Canto 22

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