HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Lay of Nimrodel

Type: Songs & Stories

Description:

The narrative song sung about the maiden Nimrodel and her love for Amroth, King of Lórien:
[They] heard the music of the waterfall running sweetly in the shadows. Almost Frodo fancied that he could hear a voice singing, mingled with the sound of the water.

'Do you hear the voice of Nimrodel?' asked Legolas. 'I will sing you a song of the maiden Nimrodel, who bore the same name as the stream beside which she lived long ago. It is a fair song in our woodland tongue; but this is how it runs in the Westron Speech, as some in Rivendell now sing it.' In a soft voice hardly to be heard amid the rustle of the leaves above them he began:

An Elven-maid there was of old,
A shining star by day:
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,
Her shoes of silver-grey.

A star was bound upon her brows,
A light was on her hair
As sun upon the golden boughs
In Lórien the fair.

Her hair was long, her limbs were white,
And fair she was and free;
And in the wind she went as light
As leaf of linden-tree.

Beside the falls of Nimrodel,
By water clear and cool,
Her voice as falling silver fell
Into the shining pool.

Where now she wanders none can tell,
In sunlight or in shade;
For lost of yore was Nimrodel
And in the mountains strayed.

The elven-ship in haven grey
Beneath the mountain-lee
Awaited her for many a day
Beside the roaring sea.

A wind by night in Northern lands
Arose, and loud it cried,
And drove the ship from elven-strands
Across the streaming tide.

When dawn came dim the land was lost,
The mountains sinking grey
Beyond the heaving waves that tossed
Their plumes of blinding spray.

Amroth beheld the fading shore
Now low beyond the swell,
And cursed the faithless ship that bore
Him far from Nimrodel.

Of old he was an Elven-king,
A lord of tree and glen,
When golden were the boughs in spring
In fair Lothlórien.

From helm to sea they saw him leap,
As arrow from the string,
And dive into the water deep,
As mew upon the wing.

The wind was in his flowing hair,
The foam about him shone;
Afar they saw him strong and fair
Go riding like a swan.

But from the West has come no word,
And on the Hither Shore
No tidings Elven-folk have heard
Of Amroth evermore.

The voice of Legolas faltered, and the song ceased. 'I cannot sing any more,' he said. 'That is but a part, for I have forgotten much. It is long and sad, for it tells how sorrow came upon Lothlórien, Lórien of the Blossom, when the Dwarves awakened evil in the mountains.'

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 7, The Mirror of Galadriel

[The] Prince of Dol Amroth... and his knights still held themselves like lords in whom the race of Númenor ran true. Men that saw them whispered saying: 'Belike the old tales speak well; there is Elvish blood in the veins of that folk, for the people of Nimrodel dwelt in that land once long ago.' And then one would sing amid the gloom some staves of the Lay of Nimrodel....

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 5, Ch 4, The Siege of Gondor

Contributors:
~Nessime 15Jul03
Elena Tiriel 31Jan10

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