Monday, October 05, 2015

The Flight Of The Noldoli From Valinor

J. R. R. Tolkien

A! the Trees of Light,    tall and shapely
gold and silver,    more glorious than the sun,
than the moon more magical,    o'er the meads of the Gods
their fragrant frith    and flowerladen
gardens gleaming,    once gladly shone.
In death they are darkened,    they drop their leaves
from blackened branches    bled by Morgoth
and Ungoliant the grim    the Gloomweaver
In spider's form    despair and shadow
a shuddering fear    and shapless night
she weaves in a web    of winding venom
that is black and breathless.    Their branches fail,
Mirk goes marching,    mists of blackness,
through the halls of the Mighty    hushed and empty,
the gates of the Gods    are in gloom mantled.

Lo! the Elves murmur    mourning in anguish,
but no more shall be kindled    the mirth of Côr
in the winding ways    of their walled city,
towercrownëd Tûn,    whose twinkling lamps
are drowned in darkness.    The dim fingers
of fog come floating      from the formless waste
and sunless seas.    The sound of horns,
of horses' hooves      hastening wildly
in hopeless hunt,    they hear afar,
where the Gods in wrath    those guilty ones
through mournful shadow,    now mounting as a tide
o'er the Blissful Realm,    in blind dismay
pursue unceasing.    The city of the Elves
is thickly thronged.    On threadlike stairs
carven of crystal    countless torches
stare and twinkle,    stain the twilight
and gleaming balusters    of green beryl.
A vague rumour    of rushing voices,
as myriads mount    the marble paths,
there fills and troubles    those fair places
wide ways of Tûn    and walls of pearl.

Of the Three Kindreds    to that clamorous throng
are none but the Gnomes    in numbers drawn.
The Elves of Ing    to the ancient halls
and starry gardens    that stand and gleam
upon Timbrenting    towering mountain
that day had climbed    to the cloudy-domed
mansions of Manwë    for mirth and song.
There Bredhil the Blessed    the bluemantled,
the Lady of the heights    as lovely as the snow
in lights gleaming    of the legions of the stars,
the cold immortal    Queen of mountains,
too fair and terrible    too far and high
for mortal eyes,    in  Manwë's  court
sat silently    as the sang to her.

The Foam-riders,    folk of waters,
Elves of the endless    echoing beaches,
of the bays and grottoes    and the blue lagoons,
of silver sands    sown with moonlit,
starlit, sunlit,    stones of crystal,
paleburning gems    pearls and opals,
on their shining shingle,    where now shadows groping
clutched their laughter,    quenched in mourning
their mirth and wonder,    in amaze wandered
under cliffs grown cold    calling dimly,
or in shrouded ships    shuddering waited
for the light no more    should be lit for ever.

But the Gnomes were numbered    by name and kin,
marshalled and ordered    in the mighty square
upon the crown of Côr.    There cried aloud
the fierce son of Finn.    Flaming torches
he held and whirled    in his hands aloft,
those hands whose craft    the hidden secret
knew, that none    Gnome or mortal
hath matched or mastered    in magic or in skill.
'Lo! slain is my sire    by the sword of fiends,
his death he has drunk    at the doors of his hall
and deep fastness,    where darkly hidden
the Three were guarded,    the things unmatched
that Gnome and Elf    and the Nine Valar
recarve or rekindle    by craft or magic,
not Fëanor Finn's son    who fashioned them or yore --
the light is lost    whence he lit them first,
the fate of Faërie    hath found its hour

Thus the witless wisdom    its reward hath earned
of the Gods' jealousy,    who guard us here
to serve them, sing to them    in our sweet cages,
to contrive them gems    and jewelled trinkets,
their leisure to please      with our loveliness,
while they waste and squander    work of ages,
nor can Morgoth master    in their mansions sitting
at countless councils.    Now come ye all,
who have courage and hope!    My call harken
to flight, to freedom    in far places!
The woods of the world    whise wide mansions
yet in darkness dream    drowned in slumber,
the pathless plains    and perilous shores
no moon yet shines on      nor mounting dawn
in dew and daylight    hath drenched for ever,
far better were these    for bold footsteps
than gardens of the Gods    gloom-encircled
with idleness filled    and empty days.
Yea! though the light lit them    and the loveliness
beyond heart's desire    that hath held us slaves
here long and long.    But that light is dead.
Our gems are gone,    our jewels ravished;
and the Three, my Three,    thrice-enchanted
globes of crystal    by gleam undying
illumined, lit    by living splendour
and all hues' essence,    their eager flame --
Morgoth has them    in his monstrous hold
my Silmarils.    I swear here oaths,
unbreakable bonds    to bind me ever,
by Timbrenting    and the timeless halls
of Bredhil the Blessed    that abides thereon --
may she hear and heed --    to hunt endlessly
unwearying unwavering    through world and sea,
through leaguered lands,    lonely mountains,
over fens and forest    and the fearful snows,
till I find those fair ones,    where the fate is hid
of the folk of Elfland    and their fortune locked,
where alone now lies    that light divine.'

Then his sons beside him,    the seven kinsmen,
crafty Curufin,      Celegorm the fair,
Damrod and Díriel    and dark Cranthir,
Maglor the mighty,    and Maidros tall
(the eldest, whose ardour    yet more eager burnt
than his father's flame,    than Fëanor's wrath;
him fate awaited    with fell purpose),
these leapt with laughter    their lord beside,
with linkëd hands    there lightly took
the oath unbreakable;    blood thereafter
it spilled like a sea    and spent the swords
of endless armies,    nor hath ended yet:

'Be he friend or foe    or foul offspring
of Morgoth Bauglir,    be he mortal dark
that in after days    on earth shall dwell,
shall no law or love    nor league of Gods,
no might nor mercy,    not moveless fate,
defend him for ever    from the fierce vengeance
of the sons of Fëanor,    whoso seize or steal
or finding keep    the fair enchanted
globes of crystal    whose glory dies not,
the Silmarils.    We have sworn for ever!'

Then a mighty murmuring      was moved abroad
and the harkening host    hailed them roaring:
'Let us go! yea go    from the Gods for ever
on Morgoth's trail    o'er the mountains of the world
to vengeance and victory!    Your vows are ours!

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