The Song of Beren and Lúthien

by J. R. R. Tolkien


Original Language English

The leaves were long, the grass was green,
     The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
     Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinúviel was dancing there
     To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
     And in her raiment glimmering.

There Beren came from mountains cold,
     And lost he wandered under leaves,
And where the Elven-river rolled.
     He walked alone and sorrowing.
He peered between the hemlock-leaves
     And saw in wonder flowers of gold
Upon her mantle and her sleeves,
     And her hair like shadow following.

Enchantment healed his weary feet
     That over hills were doomed to roam;
And forth he hastened, strong and fleet,
     And grasped at moonbeams glistening.
Through woven woods in Elvenhome
     She lightly fled on dancing feet,
And left him lonely still to roam
     In the silent forest listening.

He heard there oft the flying sound
     Of feet as light as linden-leaves,
Or music welling underground,
     In hidden hollows quavering.
Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves,
     And one by one with sighing sound
Whispering fell the beechen leaves
     In the wintry woodland wavering.

He sought her ever, wandering far
     Where leaves of years were thickly strewn,
By light of moon and ray of star
     In frosty heavens shivering.
Her mantle glinted in the moon,
     As on a hill-top high and far
She danced, and at her feet was strewn
     A mist of silver quivering.

When winter passed, she came again,
     And her song released the sudden spring,
Like rising lark, and falling rain,
     And melting water bubbling.
He saw the elven-flowers spring
     About her feet, and healed again
He longed by her to dance and sing
     Upon the grass untroubling.

Again she fled, but swift he came.
     Tinúviel! Tinúviel!
He called her by her elvish name;
     And there she halted listening.
One moment stood she, and a spell
     His voice laid on her: Beren came,
And doom fell on Tinúviel
     That in his arms lay glistening.

As Beren looked into her eyes
     Within the shadows of her hair,
The trembling starlight of the skies
     He saw there mirrored shimmering.
Tinúviel the elven-fair,
     Immortal maiden elven-wise,
About him cast her shadowy hair
     And arms like silver glimmering.

Long was the way that fate them bore,
     O'er stony mountains cold and grey,
Through halls of iron and darkling door,
     And woods of nightshade morrowless.
The Sundering Seas between them lay,
     And yet at last they met once more,
And long ago they passed away
     In the forest singing sorrowless.

-- from The Lord of the Rings: One Vol. Edition, by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

Notes:

This is the great love story of the Tolkien universe, comparable to Layla and Majnun. It is a forbidden love, because he is a mortal Man, and she is an Elf princess.

Tinuviel also refers to Luthien. It means nightingale, in Tolkien's Elvish language, a reference to her singing in the forest at night.



Recommended Books: J. R. R. Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings: One Vol. Edition





The Song of Beren