Hymn to Manwë

Anahita Hoose, Treasurer 2013-14 & 2015-present, Miruvor Editor 2011-12, and Society Hero, praises the highest of the Valar.

Lord of Arda, lord of light,
Manwë sits on Everwhite
Till unforgiving darkness fall
Where the brightest shine of all
The silver-lucent fire-flowers
Sown in ancient dawning hours,
When youth was in his shining face,
Greatest, eldest of his race.
Lord of Arda, lord of light,
Manwë sits on Everwhite.

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Taruithorn Songbook

We have a long tradition of filking in the Society, and here I’ve included some compositions more recent than the last revision of the songbook.

Erebor
(Tune: On My Own from Les Misérables)
Martha Buckley, Hebe Stanton and Amrit Sidhu-Brar

Erebor,
The mountain is a-burning;
Erebor,
Our gold has all been stolen;
Without it
Our world can’t go on turning,
For there can be no happiness without our hoarded gold.
 
Erebor,
that dragon took our happiness
Erebor,
That Smaug, he is a bastard.
I suppose
We survived with our families,
But if he’d tak’n our children then at least we’d have our gold!
 
The dragon,
we will return to kill him
The dragon,
He has destroyed our haircuts.
We’ll kill him,
And throw him from our mountain,
that oath that Fëanor swore will be nothing next to ours!
 
The dragon,
The dragon,
The dragon,
he’s taken all our gold!

~~~

The Leaving of Valinor Rag
(Tune: The Vatican Rag by Tom Lehrer)
Owen Cotton-Barratt and others

Morgoth smashed our lamps with ease
So we got some magic trees
Their wond’rous light we must instil
In Silmaril, Silmaril, Silmaril.

But then came Ungoliant
She sucked their nectar – down it went!
Things they then got really bad: Fëanor he lost his dad
The leavin’ of Valinor Rag!

Be friend or foe or seed defiled
Of Morgoth Bauglir, mortal child
In after days on earth shall dwell
No law nor love nor league of hell
Not might of gods, not moveless fate
Shall him defend from wrath or hate
6-5-4-3
Time to slay the Teleri

Valinor will not be missed
We seven sons are mighty pissed
We seek with implacable will
Our Silmaril, Silmaril, Silmaril

The boats are burned to tindersticks
The seven sons now number six
Melian the Maia – let’s go and say hiya
We’re the sons of Fëanor–
Accompaniment by Maglor

Was he a felon or
simply just tellin’ your
Leavin’ of Valinor Rag!

~~~

Gold, glorious gold
(Tune: Food, glorious food from Oliver!)
Hebe Stanton and Amrit Sidhu-Brar

Gold, glorious gold
Gold, glorious gold,
there’s nothing quite like it.
Gold, glorious, gold,
you can even take it to market
And if it gets stolen then
you can just mine more,
it’s GOLD,
wonderful GOLD,
magical GOLD,
glorious GOLD

~~~

Song of the Dwarves of Moria
(Tune: Do you hear the people sing? from Les Misérables)
Martha Buckley

(CHORUS:) Do you hear the dwarf-smiths sing?
Singing the songs they learned of old.
This is the music of a people
Who are quite obsessed with GOLD.
When the beating of our hearts
Echoes the beating of the drums
Then we know we’re about to die when the Balrog comes…

Will you join our mining party
Will you help us in our need?
There’s a tonne of Mithril ore down there just waiting to be freed!
We’ll mine and we’ll dig and we’ll die for insatiable greeeeeeeeed!

CHORUS

~~~

The Moria Song
(Tune: Ding! Dong! Merrily on high)
Various Society members at the 2009 Moria banquet

Drum-drum-drumming in the deep,
the Orcs are getting nearer.
Drum-drum-drumming in the deep
the Cave Troll’s getting clearer

Mo-ooooo-ooooo-ooooo-oooo-ooooo-oria
Balrogs ate our children!

~~~

Aragorn!
(Tune: One Day More from Les Misérables)
Hebe Stanton, Phil Bone and Amrit Sidhu-Brar

GANDALF: Aragorn!

To claim the kingship is his destiny.

He shall restore the ancient monarchy;

Isildur’s Heir shall soon return,

the Steward’s pyre, it then shall burn

Aragorn!

ARAGORN: I must be King, Lord Elrond says.

For Arwen’s hand to be permitted

GANDALF: Aragorn!

ARAGORN & ARWEN: As Beren and his Lúthien,

Our mixed-race love shall be committed

ÉOWYN: One more day all by my self

ARAGORN & ARWEN: A mortal fate we now shall share

ÉOWYN: One more day in Arwen’s shadow

ARAGORN & ARWEN: I was born to be with you.

ÉOWYN: How I hate that stupid elf

ARAGORN & ARWEN The Kingdom shall be made anew

ÉOWYN: She stole Aragorn from me!

DENETHOR: You’re not as good as Boromir

 FARAMIR: I will ride out for you, my father

 BOROMIR: Dad, be nice to Faramir…

 FARAMIR: Our white city shall not fall

 PIPPIN: Then we’ll celebrate with beer!

 FARAMIR: Will my father then love me?

ALL: The time is now, the day is here:

 GANDALF: Aragorn!

 WITCH-KING: Sauron’s victory is assurèd

For no man can murder me,

The white city chall be razèd

Gondor’s remnants then shall flee!

GOLLUM: Watch ‘em run to her,

Rummage through the bones,

We’ll take the Precious, it will be for us alone.

Nasty hobbitses,

One of them is fat,

 The other is a Baggins , SMEAGOL: but he can’t help that!

 ALL: One day to a new beginning

[Non-linear bit with lots of simultaneous voices that can’t be adequately expressed here]

GANDALF: Tomorrow we must win the day
Tomorrow we must find a way

ALL: Tomorrow we’ll discover if the monarchy can be restored,
Aragorn.

Aragorn.

Aragorn________!

A Lament for Tolkien’s Tree

Morgan Feldman shares a poem commemmorating Tolkien’s favoured tree, recently felled from its place in the Botanic Gardens.

Through Oxford over stream and brook, under spire and stone

Blows a wind of somber thought for a pine long known.

Twisted boughs and emerald crown long stood proud and tall

Through many storms and winter frosts until they came to fall.

 

A trunk not white and regal, nor leaves of silver and gold,

Beneath its sturdy branches, many a story were told.

A dismal day has come at last to fell this mighty tree

whose branches spanned from middle-earth to our own history.

 

Yet as all woods must end at last

elven trees too must pass

from sight to memory.

Translations from the Anglo-Saxon

Eleanor Simmons, Society Lembas Rep (as well as Secretary 2009-10 and Publicity Officer 2013-15, and Society Hero), uses her linguistic skills to bring us her renderings of two Old English poems.

As anyone familiar with the original poems will note, these are neither wholly literal translations and nor do they pretend to more Anglo-Saxon than fairly loose alliteration – but this too shall pass.

Deor

Noble Weyland knew pain and exile
Beset by snakes and beleaguered with hardship
Sorrow and longing and the winds of winter
These were his sole companions,
After Niðhad set the hero in cruel bonds.
But that has passed. This too shall pass.

It was her own fate, not the fall of her brothers
That deepened Beadohild’s despair.
She knew without a doubt she was pregnant
And there was no escape
This too shall pass.

Who has not heard of Mæðhilde’s mourning?
The long grief of the lady of the Geats
So sorrowful a love that robbed her of sleep
But that has passed.

For thirty winters Theodric ruled
The men of the Maerings, as many can tell
But that has passed.

Eormanric’s wolfish thoughts were revealed
As he ruled the Goths, a savage king.
How many warriors sat, mired in misery
Wishing only that the kingdom be overthrown?
But that has passed.

A man sits bleakly, bereft of song
His mind shadowed, he see too well
His enduring lot, his oppression unending.
He may think that throughout this world
The wise Lord wishes change
He gives great glory to many men
True honour, and to some a deal of harm

For my own self I will speak.
I was for a time the poet of the Heodings
And dear to my lord. Deor I was named.
I had a good position and a gracious lord,
For many years, yet Heorenda,
Skilled in songmaking, received the rights
That my loving lord had once gifted me.
But that has passed. This too shall pass!

The Cuckoo Riddle

Before I was born my parents fled,
Unmourned and unliving, they left me for dead.
But a kindly cousin came to my rescue
She wrapped in me in rich garments
She sheltered and cherished me
As a guest among strangers, my spirit grew great
And under her wing, I thrived.
It was my nature.
My dear protector fended for me until I could fly free.
And travel further than she could dream.
She lost her own sons and daughters for her kindness.

Hades

by Anna Vaninskaya:

Hard grows the leaf on marbled tree.
Still hangs the bird upon the air.
Smooth to the shrinking mortal touch
Seems the high rail of that broad stair.

Fretted and filigreed it curves,
Its carven beasts stare down amazed
As you climb up the tall, worn steps,
As you turn back – dizzied and dazed.

Above you spins the stony vault,
Below the stair is lost to sight.
No one is here to speak a word,
No one to make the burden light.

Only the unknown craftsman’s face
Dispersed through every leaf and flower
Of that accursèd balustrade
In this eternal marbled tower.

Baker’s Dozen

by Anna Vaninskaya:

One day God came to Man and said:
Behold!
You have the writer’s pen and painter’s brush,
To people’s eyes and ears you can unfold
New worlds I’d never thought of in my rush.

Your efforts are indeed worthy of praise,
The name of Sub-creator you deserve,
I think that you have earned a little raise:
I’ll make you God and the results observe.

So Man went forth to ply his new-found trade…
But it was lunchtime, he suppressed a yawn,
And rested on the first day in the shade,
Then made himself an awful rose of dawn.

He dabbled first in wars, and then in newts,
He raised up mountains and cast down the hills,
He harrowed hell and he gave speech to mutes,
He tore up his great heap of unpaid bills.

So slipped a week by, God knocked on the door.
And what have you been up to? He inquired.
But Man was lying passed out on the floor,
A Smirnoff in one hand. The chap was tired!

God left him sprawling, and surveyed his work:

Before him stretched as far as eye could see
Some wilting clocks on rocks, some kosher pork
Half-eaten on a plate, some cups of tea
Brewed à l’anglaise, some houri virgins shy,
Playing a game of hide and seek among
Half-finished Roman arches, and some sly
Investment bankers flying to Hong Kong.

I tell you, God was not amused that day.
He stormed back to the house and thundered out,
Thou fool! What meant thou by this child’s play?
Durst thou my awesome will and power to flout?!

But Man was long since gone – he’d left a note
Pinned to the table by a three-pronged fork,
En route he’d nicked God’s many-coloured coat
And in its place he set a crumbled cork.

God took that short note up with trembling hand,
He had not seen its like in all his days.
It merely said, with modesty, Dear Friend,
I move, like you, in quite mysterious ways.

Life

by Anna Vaninskaya:

Somewhere once I saw a picture:
All was dark save on the right, in the corner,
In the light cast by one unhappy candle,
Leant a man against the handle of a painted wooden door,
And his shadow on the floor sideways stretched
Until it faded into darkness, darkly shaded.
Peter Lint,’ the frame proclaimed, ‘Flemish artist, widely famed.’

‘That is wrong,’a voice behind me softly whispered,
‘It reminds me of an early Marcus Stone…
But the artist is unknown -’

Not to me were those words spoken, not for me the silence broken,
And I dared not stir or turn, hoping something more to learn.
‘- Though the subject of that picture, here set forth with greyish tincture,
Is a man of wide renown – now…
You see his sullen frown?
He was born well nigh three hundred years ago,
He knew but one dread all his days:
To die and leave no live soul behind to grieve.

For the man was poor and lonely, without friend or child,
Only barren longings shared his bed or disturbed the life he led.
Years he spent in isolation,
Taxing his imagination with the queerest, wildest schemes,
With the most grotesque of dreams.
In his workshop he constructed forms mechanical –
Distracted, crazed at times, he paced till dawn,
Till the flowers on the lawn raised their heads to greet the morning.
He saw nothing.
In his mourning – his contraptions dead around him –
Well he knew that they would hound him to his own grave at last.
None would care if his life passed.

Then one night in desperation mingled with a strange elation,
He decided to create Life itself to cheat his fate.
If no human being would take him,
If all chose to forsake him,
If the works of his own hand failed to grant his one demand,
Surely then no god or devil, angel good or demon evil,
Would dare judge him or accuse
Of usurping to abuse powers not granted him by nature.
He would use his skill to capture that ethereal flame or breath
That gives life and conquers death.

From that moment his strange story passes into legend hoary:
Some say he achieved his goal, though he paid a heavy toll,
Others that he perished trying,
Punished for his daring flying Icarus-like too near the sun.
Either way he is long gone.

But if you who stand here gazing at the picture,
Slowly phrasing to yourself this man’s sad tale,
Should some other time regale other listeners with his story,
Think on this and be not sorry:
Three long centuries have passed and his memory still lasts.’

At these words I turned around,
Keen to catch the fading sound in the gathering evening gloom.
There was no one in the room.

In Memoriam (à la Tennyson)

by Anna Vaninskaya:

I saw the evening shadows fall
Upon the lonely Norman cross,
And turn from green to grey the moss
Upon the crumbling churchyard wall.

I saw the willows weep their leaves
Into the darkened stream below,
I saw the tower all aglow
From topmost stone to nether eaves.
But I did not see him where oft
Of old I knew he used to stand,
Touching the carvings with his hand,
Tracing their edges worn and soft.

Gildas At The Ford (A Fragment)

by Anna Vaninskaya:

The sun was high when Gildas came
To Darren’s Ford. His horse was lame,
His lance askew, his shield was bent,
The last of his young strength was spent.

The sun was low when Gildas woke.
His horse was gone, his fire smoked,
He lay alone beneath the sky,
The pebbles of the Ford were dry.

And facing him across the Ford,
With helmet plumed and upraised sword,
He saw Sir Gorn. Sir Gorn saw him.
‘My end,’ thought Gildas, ‘will be grim.’

So up he leapt to meet his foe.
He grasped his lance, slung on his bow,
And waiting stood upon the bank,
Casting a glance to either flank.

But dread Sir Gorn did not advance.
Young Gildas stared as if entranced,
And neither moved, and neither spoke.
No earthly sound the silence broke.