Legacy YM

Canto 21 - Canto 21

91

Up through the dark and echoing gloom

as ghosts from many-tunnelled tomb,

up from the mountains' roots profound

and the vast menace underground,

their limbs aquake with deadly fear,

terror in eyes, and dread in ear,

together fled they, by the beat

affrighted of their flying feet.

At last before them far away

they saw a glimmer, faint and grey

of ghostly light that shivering fell

down from the yawning gates of Hell.

Then hope awoke, and straightway died

the doors were open, gates were wide;

but on the threshold terror walked.

The dreadful wolf awake there stalked

and in his eyes the red fire glowered;

there Carcharoth in menace towered,

a waiting death, a biding doom:

his jaws were gaping like a tomb,

his teeth were bare, his tongue aflame;

aroused he watched that no one came,

no flitting shade nor hunted shape,

seeking from Angband to escape.

Now past that guard what guile or might

could thrust from death into the light?

He heard afar their hurrying feet,

he snuffed an odour strange and sweet;

he smelled their coming long before

they marked the waiting threat at door.

His limbs he stretched and shook off sleep,

then stood at gaze. With sudden leap

upon them as they sped he sprang,

and his howling in the arches rang.

Too swift for thought his onset came,

too swift for any spell to tame;

and Beren in despair then strode

past Lúthien to bar the road,

unarmed, defenceless, to defend

the elven-maid until the end.

92

With left he caught at hairy throat,

with right hand at the eyes he smote

his right, from which the radiance welled

of the holy Silmaril he held.

As gleam of swords in fire there flashed

the fangs of Carcharoth, and crashed

together like a trap, that tore

the hand about the wrist, and shore

through brittle bone and sinew nesh,

devouring the frail mortal flesh;

and in that cruel mouth unclean

engulfed the jewel's holy sheen.

Against the wall then Beren reeled

but still with his left he sought to shield

fair Lúthien, who cried aloud

to see his pain, and down she bowed

in anguish sinking to the ground.


Canto1 - OF THINGOL IN DORIATH
Canto2 - OF LÚTHIEN THE BELOVED
Canto3 - OF DAERON MINSTREL OF THINGOL
Canto4 - OF MORGOTH & THE SNARING OF GORLIM
Canto5 - OF THE SAVING OF KING FINROD FELAGUND BY THE XII BËORINGS
Canto6 - OF TARN AELUIN THE BLESSED
Canto7 - OF GORLIM UNHAPPY
Canto8 - OF BEREN SON OF BARAHIR AND HIS ESCAPE
Canto9 - OF THE COMING OF BEREN TO DORIATH; BUT FIRST IS TOLD OF THE MEETING OF MELIAN AND THINGOL
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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