Our Sponsor Sideshow Collectibles Send us News
Lord of the Rings Tolkien
Search Tolkien
Lord of The RingsTheOneRing.net - Forged By And For Fans Of JRR Tolkien
Lord of The Rings Serving Middle-Earth Since The First Age

Lord of the Rings Movie News - J.R.R. Tolkien
Do you enjoy the 100% volunteer, not for profit services of TheOneRing.net?
Consider a donation!

  Main Index   Search Posts   Who's Online   Log in
The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
Tolkienís verses

noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 31 2018, 8:53am

Post #1 of 11 (847 views)
Shortcut
Tolkienís verses Can't Post

The Hobbit and LOTR include many pieces in verse - a mixed bag of everything from prophecy through mnemonic rhymes to bath songs. I was wondering how people react to them:

Do you mostly skip them, or read them with great pleasure and interest?

If you enjoy them, what things are you enjoying?

Do you imagine them spoken or sung; and if you imagine them sung, do you imagine specific tunes?

And of course, this isnít a quiz, so feel free to go beyond simply answering the above! I propose sticking to the LOTR and Hobbit pieces, since other verses crop up in The Tolkien Reader etc. , and I donít want to steal thunder from the upcoming read-through.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Roverandom
The Shire


Dec 31 2018, 2:30pm

Post #2 of 11 (799 views)
Shortcut
It's All in the Length [In reply to] Can't Post

While I don't actually "skip", I certainly tend to "browse" the poetry. Generally speaking, the shorter works are easier for me to include in my re-reads. Bilbo's epic, Earendil Was a Mariner is a challenge for me. I get through it, but find myself drifting into what I would politely call an "Elvish dream" rather than admit to anything like disinterest. Strider's Lay of Luthien affects me in a similar manner, although I do enjoy picking out the rhyme scheme.

Of the mid-range verse, I'll often sing along with Thorin and Company as they lament on their "long-forgotten gold". I try to make it into a sonorous sort of Gregorian chant, and my daughter seems to appreciate the effort! It is, as far as I know, the only Tolkien verse I attempt to set to music. The rest are merely read along with the rest of the story.

Over repeated readings (once a year in the autumn, without fail since high school, Class of Use Your Imagination) I've come to enjoy the songs of the Rohirrim as much as Merry. The Anglo-Saxon vibe gives me the chills, with it's fatalistic rhythms and the all-pervasive allowance of alliteration.

Of the shorter poems, Bilbo's and Frodo's The Road Goes Ever On is wonderful. I especially like how there is a different version each time it is brought out, subtly changing in tone to fit the mood of the poet, as if we were being given a longer poem one stanza at a time. Does anyone know if this was written out as a single work anywhere?

And, of course, there is The Lord of the Rings itself, which I always read aloud at the start of each of my three volumes. "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them!" It never fails to put me in the proper mood for dark adventure.

For just as there has always been a Richard Webster, so too has there been a Black Scout of the North to greet him at the door on the threshold of the evening and to guard him through his darkest dreams.


noWizardme
Valinor


Dec 31 2018, 6:17pm

Post #3 of 11 (775 views)
Shortcut
Earendil Was a Mariner [In reply to] Can't Post

"It is difficult to perform because of the fast pace and tongue-twisting nature of the lyrics."

That's actually from the Wikipedia article on the Gilbert and Sulivan song "I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General" (Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/...jor-General%27s_Song ; or a performance here: https://youtu.be/zSGWoXDFM64 )

As it hapens, you can mostly sing Earendil to that tune of Major General, if you don't mind that the chorus never comes up (and I for one am willing to be broad-minded about such things Smile ). In fact I shall go so far as to recommend that those of us still to go out for New year's parties should insist on doing a performance of this work in this manner. preferably after a few beers - it is BOUND to be entertaining (for somebody...) Wink

Probably this match to 'Major general' is only a co-incidence (I have no idea whether Tolkien was influenced by G&S's song). However, I do personally like the idea of Bilbo thinking that not only will he have the cheek to make up verses about Elrond's famous ancestor, but that a comic song would go down well (which of course it does). I believe that the poem did originally start out as a comic piece called [ii]Errantry about a messenger who has so many adventures that he forgets his message and has to return to ask for it again. So perhaps it is not meant to be taken entirely seriously....

I like it as what I see as a classic piece of Tolkien brilliance (or eccentricity). Most of the poem is difficult to understand, since Bilbo and the audience in Rivendell know all about Earendil, but we readers of LOTR know nothing. Far from trying to explain all this background, Tolkien drops this box of Jabberwokian firecrackers, with a full-up Thesaurus rex of vocabulary and that tricky triplet rhythm. I think it works both as a glimpse of Middle-earth's wider world and history (as when Sam and then Strider quote from 'well-known' epic verses at Weathertop), and also as a poem for the sheer fun of including poems. Tolkien could of course have given us a bit of the Silmarillion here, but he decided not to.


Happy New Year to all!

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Roverandom
The Shire


Dec 31 2018, 7:39pm

Post #4 of 11 (763 views)
Shortcut
Earendil [In reply to] Can't Post

Stephen Colbert does a pretty funny dramatic reading of the first part of the poem. Google "colbert earendil", if you're so inclined.

For just as there has always been a Richard Webster, so too has there been a Black Scout of the North to greet him at the door on the threshold of the evening and to guard him through his darkest dreams.


CuriousG
Half-elven


Dec 31 2018, 11:40pm

Post #5 of 11 (731 views)
Shortcut
I mostly skip them. I notice other people find a lot of information to mine from them, so my bad.// [In reply to] Can't Post

 


Cirashala
Tol Eressea


Jan 1, 2:46am

Post #6 of 11 (724 views)
Shortcut
Considering Earendil was Elrond's dad [In reply to] Can't Post

I wonder how he felt about it being used as a comedy of sorts... Wink

My writing and novels:

My Hobbit Fanfiction

My historical novel print and kindle version

My historical novels ebook version compatible with all ereaders

You can also find my novel at most major book retailers online (and for those outside the US who prefer a print book, you can find the print version at Book Depository). Search "Amazing Grace Amanda Longpre'" to find it.

Happy reading everyone!


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 1, 10:52am

Post #7 of 11 (698 views)
Shortcut
Iím more patient with them nowadays... [In reply to] Can't Post

...now that Iím not just looking to extract information. For most of the linger verses, I suppose Tolkien cold have given a prose synopsis much more concisely. But providing verse, I think gives us glimpses into the world of Midfle-earth weíd miss otherwise. I also suppose that Tolkien provides verses because he liked writing them!

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


noWizardme
Valinor


Jan 5, 9:04am

Post #8 of 11 (612 views)
Shortcut
Tunes, official or otherwise [In reply to] Can't Post

Thereís a recording of Tolkien singing the troll song, and the tune appears to be ďFox went out on a chilly night.Ē (This recording is easily found on the Internet, though I doubt its there with copyright-holderís permission). I imagine, then, that Tolkien knowingly set his words to that tune.

As far as I know (not very far usually) thereís nothing else like that. Other people set Tolkienís lyrics, including Donald Swan during Tolkienís lifetime. So Tolkien might or might not have had any input there, but it was presumably words first, music second. Settings used in the PJ films were of course after Tolkienís time.

~~~~~~
"Go down to the shovel store and take your pick." Traditional prank played on dwarves when they start down the mine.


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 5, 5:48pm

Post #9 of 11 (590 views)
Shortcut
I usually read all of them, and like some. I think they add too much to the plot-- [In reply to] Can't Post

add and also inform, both in terms of revealing more of the broader culture of Middle Earth, and revealing underlying facts/history, as well as foreshadowing or prophesying future events ("All that is gold . . .") to skip them in a first or second reading. I don't always think they're the greatest in terms of poetry, but I do think they're integral to the book, unlike some other works I can think of.



(This post was edited by Ethel Duath on Jan 5, 5:56pm)


Ethel Duath
Half-elven


Jan 5, 7:20pm

Post #10 of 11 (578 views)
Shortcut
I agree, about the Rohirrim songs, [In reply to] Can't Post

(and your dog also looks a lot like mine!Laugh)
Gregorian chant! Perfect. I can really hear it working with those words, although I doubt if I could do it myself (don't tell anyone, but I skipped the early music survey class at music school. We only had to do 3 out of 4 eras.Blush)
I've always wondered about a "full version" of the Road Goes Ever On. I have the impression I saw something like that somewhere, but I can't say for sure. I did find this--not sure how complete the list is: http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/The_Road_Goes_Ever_On




hanne
Lorien

Jan 7, 10:15pm

Post #11 of 11 (388 views)
Shortcut
Thanks! I really enjoyed that :) [In reply to] Can't Post

Years ago, I read the poems as prose. But the more I've learned about how ancient epics were sung, the more it makes sense to me to sing these verses - and the more I think Tolkien probably imagined them as sung too. If you plug "tolkien sings" into the youtube search box you also get a version of Galadriel's Namarie (sounds quite Gregorian) and the Hobbit's Chip the Bottles. Of course there are also recordings of him reciting the poems too, without singing. Still far more musical than just words on a page. And far more alive!

 
 

Search for (options) Powered by Gossamer Forum v.1.2.3

home | advertising | contact us | back to top | search news | join list | Content Rating

This site is maintained and updated by fans of The Lord of the Rings, and is in no way affiliated with Tolkien Enterprises or the Tolkien Estate. We in no way claim the artwork displayed to be our own. Copyrights and trademarks for the books, films, articles, and other promotional materials are held by their respective owners and their use is allowed under the fair use clause of the Copyright Law. Design and original photography however are copyright © 1999-2012 TheOneRing.net. Binary hosting provided by Nexcess.net

Do not follow this link, or your host will be blocked from this site. This is a spider trap.