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The One Ring Forums: Tolkien Topics: Reading Room:
side by side


Jan 1, 8:41pm

Post #1 of 7 (813 views)
side by side Can't Post

just because

Where is the horse gone? Where the rider?
Where the giver of treasure?
Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup!
Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away,
dark under the cover of night,
as if it had never been!

"The Wanderer" lines 92 ff, from the Exeter Book, ca. 975

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 1, 8:42pm)


Jan 4, 5:20pm

Post #2 of 7 (650 views)
According to Tolkien Gateway- [In reply to] Can't Post

The Wanderer was the inspiration for Tolkien’s Lament for the Rohirrim, though it appears our Professor did more of the heavy lifting for us (that is the emotional base is more accessible to the reader).

I really do prefer what he made, especially the image “gather[ing] the smoke from dead wood burning,” as if no one is there to mark the aftermath of battle.

(This post was edited by SirDennisC on Jan 4, 5:26pm)

N.E. Brigand

Jan 7, 3:06am

Post #3 of 7 (545 views)
Tolkien comments on the contrast somwhere. [In reply to] Can't Post

Maybe in notes published by Stuart Lee and Elizabeth Solopova in The Keys of Middle-earth? From Tolkien's response to the late Burton Raffel's Poems and Prose from Old English? I can't remember for sure.

Treachery, treachery I fear; treachery of that miserable creature.

But so it must be. Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend.

Discuss Tolkien's life and works in the Reading Room!
How to find old Reading Room discussions.


Jan 8, 5:34pm

Post #4 of 7 (478 views)
Christina Scull and Wayne Hammond [In reply to] Can't Post

Have an entry on The Wanderer in their Reader's Guide (in which they do in fact site Lee and Solopova's book. They state, in pertinent part:

Tolkien adopted the Ubi sunt? (‘Where is?’) motif of The Wanderer – ‘Where is the horse gone, where the young rider?’ – for Aragorn’s recitation in Book III, Chapter 6 of * The Lord of the Rings , ‘Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing? / Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?’ – verses pertaining to the Rohirrim, a people meant to resemble the Anglo-Saxons. As Tolkien wrote in an unpublished essay concerning his thoughts on translating poetry: No one would learn anything valid about the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ from any of my lore, not even that concerning the Rohirrim; I never intended that they should. Even the lines beginning ‘Where now the horse and the rider’, though they echo a line in ‘The Wanderer’ … are certainly not a translation, re-creative or other wise. They are integrated (I hope) in something wholly different … they are particular in reference, to a great hero and his renowned horse, and they are supposed to be part of the song of a minstrel of a proud and undefeated people in a hall still populous with men. [Tolkien Papers, Bodleian Library, Oxford]

'But very bright were the stars upon the margin of the world, when at times the clouds about the West were drawn aside.'

The Hall of Fire


Jan 8, 5:54pm

Post #5 of 7 (478 views)
Yes [In reply to] Can't Post

As Shippey points out, the Rohirrim, other than linguistically, resemble the A-S far less than they do the Goths.

In particular, one of the "battles that saved civilization," the Catalaunian Fields in 451 where Attila's Huns were stopped, was won largely by the mounted charge of the Visigoths behind their septuagenarian king, Theodoric, who was killed at the forefront of the battle in his moment of triumph.....


Jan 8, 6:26pm

Post #6 of 7 (470 views)
Would 'Ubi' be an unreliable Anglo-Saxon ride-hailing service? ;) [In reply to] Can't Post

In Reply To
Tolkien adopted the Ubi sunt? (‘Where is?’) motif of The Wanderer

So you'd look at your knuckle bone dice (or whatever teh Anglo-Saxon equivalent to a mobile would be) and say some disobliging things starting 'Ubi sunt...?' ('Where oh wher eis teh ride I ordered?')

The Reading Room 'favourite chapters' project. http://newboards.theonering.net/...i?post=967482#967482 Each week, someone presents a favourite chapter from The Hobbit, LOTR or the Silmarillion. Just sign yourself up onto the schedule if you can lead a chapter.


Jan 8, 7:21pm

Post #7 of 7 (467 views)
Subject [In reply to] Can't Post


"Ubi sunt equus meus?"

--Richard III

(Yeah, I know, should be "est")

(This post was edited by Solicitr on Jan 8, 7:21pm)


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