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Things of Middle-earth

Lay of the Children of Húrin

Type: Songs & Stories


The longest of all Tolkien's narrative poems of Middle-earth, written in alliterative verse. Two versions of the poem are published in The Lays of Beleriand, volume three of The History of Middle-earth. The prose version of this story is the book Narn i Hîn Húrin; a shorter version also appears in Unfinished Tales.
Lo! the golden dragon  of the God of Hell,
the gloom of the woods  of the world now gone,
the woes of Men,  and weeping of Elves
fading faintly  down forest pathways,
is now to tell,  and the name most tearful
of Níniel the sorrowful,  and the name most sad
of Thalion's son Túrin  o'erthrown by fate.

The Lays of Beleriand, HoME Vol 3, Ch 1, The Lay of the Children of Húrin: Túrin Son of Húrin & Glórund the Dragon, Lines 1-7

Then Thalion was thrust  to Thangorodrim,
that mountain that meets  the misty skies
on high o'er the hills  that Hithlum sees
blackly brooding  on the borders of the north.
To a stool of stone  on its steepest peak
they bound him in bonds,  an unbreakable chain,
and the Lord of Woe  there laughing stood,
then cursed him for ever  and his kin and seed
with a doom of dread,  of death and horror.
There the mighty man  unmovéd sat;
but unveiled was his vision,  that he viewed afar
all earthly things  with eyes enchanted
that fell on his folk—  a fiend's torment.

Ibid., Lines 92-104

After seven journeys  lo! sleep took them
on a night of stars  when they nigh had stridden
to those lands beloved  that long had known
Flinding aforetime.  At first morning
the white arrows  of the wheeling sun
gazed down gladly  on green hollows
and smiling slopes  that swept before them.
There builded boles  of beeches ancient
marched in majesty  in myriad leaves
of golden russet  greyly rooted,
in leaves translucent  lightly robed;
their boughs up-bending  blown at morning
by the wings of winds  that wandered down
o'er blossomy bent  breathing odours
to the wavering water's  winking margin.
There rush and reed  their rustling plumes
and leaves like lances  louted trembling
peen with sunlight.  Then glad the soul
of Flinding the fugitive;  in his face the morning
here glimmered golden,  his gleaming hair
was washed with sunlight.  'Awake from sadness,
Túrin Thalion,  and troublous thoughts!
On Ivrin's lake  is endless laughter.
o! cool and clear  by crystal fountains
she is fed unfailing,  from defilement warded
by Ylmir the old,  who in ancient days,
wielder of waters,  here worked her beauty.
From outmost Ocean  yet often comes
his message hither  his magic bearing,
the healing of hearts  and hope and valour
for foes of Bauglir.  Friend is Ylmir
who alone remembers  in the Lands of Mirth
the need of the Gnomes.

Ibid., Canto III, Lines 1504-1536

~Nessime 7Jul03
Elena Tiriel 2Feb13

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