Legacy YM



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 silence 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 Lorien she dared to climb

the everlasting 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 Cuivienen far away,

of lands beyond the Seas 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 Lorien 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 wheeling 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 lands, 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 in 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 darkness 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 reign 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 on the beech-leaves brown,

Daeron 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 Daeron 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 trilled;

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 stars 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 winged 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 plenilune

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-tongue,

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 Eruchn

menel-vr sla driel

si loth a galadh lasto dn!

A Hir Annn 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 no 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 Daeron 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 Daeron from the spell released

awoke to fear, and cried in woe:

'Flee Lúthien, ah Lúthien go!

An evil walks 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!'

from hiding Daeron called again;

'A stranger walks the woods! Away!'

But Lúthien would wondering stay;

fear had she never felt or 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 umbels 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 veiled 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 heartache 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 tide 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 things 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

upon a treeless 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 sprang beneath her feet,

and one bird, sudden, late and sweet,

shrilled as she 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 Daeron's pipe awoke 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 grassy 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 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.

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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