Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Poems from The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Books Completed: 8
Date Completed: January 6, 2009
Pages: 96
Publication Date: October 20, 1994

Reason for Reading: I am trying to read more poetry...

This is a hardback volume containing the well−loved poems from Tolkien′s literary masterpiece The Lord of the Rings‚ featuring a cover illustrated by celebrated Tolkien artist Alan Lee.

Featuring poems written in Tolkien′s inimitable style − each of which add to the magic‚ mystery and lyricism of the epic saga The Lord of the Rings.

These poems can also be enjoyed as a separate entity‚ apart from the main body of the text‚ with each stanza giving an insight into the mythology and sagas of Tolkien′s parallel universe of Middle−earth.

Trying to furnish England with a mythology he felt it hitherto lacked‚ and drawing on his own studies of epic poems of the past‚ including classics such as Beowulf‚ it could be argued that Tolkien′s poetry is at the heart of the saga that was to become the Book of the 20thCentury.

Here I am, an English major, and I really just cannot seem to develop a taste for poetry! Let's not even consider my attempts to write it! I don't know what it is, but I am really really picky about poems and poets. I either love it or I hate it, there is no in-between. That being said, I am determined to find more poets that I love, so I am trying to read more poetry. I thought this was a safe bet because I have already read the poems before, but this is them all alone and with pictures! The pictures are great, I must say! I really want to read all the books on Tolkien's Middle-earth released by his son. I have the first one, but still haven't actually got to work on reading them!

Anyway, my favourite poem in the collection:

There is an inn, a merry old inn
beneath an old grey hill,
And there they brew a beer so brown
That the Man in the Moon himself came down
one night to drink his fill.

The ostler has a tipsy cat
that plays a five-stringed fiddle;
And up and down he runs his bow,
Now squeaking high, now purring low,
now sawing in the middle.

The landlord keeps a little dog
that is mighty fond of jokes;
When there's good cheer among the guests,
He cocks an ear at all the jests
and laughs until he chokes.

They also keep a horn�d cow
as proud as any queen;
But music turns her head like ale,
And makes her wave her tufted tail
and dance upon the green.

And O! the rows of silver dishes
and the store of silver spoons!
For Sunday there's a special pair,
And these they polish up with care
on Saturday afternoons.

The Man in the Moon was drinking deep,
and the cat began to wail;
A dish and a spoon on the table danced,
The cow in the garden madly pranced,
and the little dog chased his tail.

The Man in the Moon took another mug,
and rolled beneath his chair;
And there he dozed and dreamed of ale,
Till in the sky the stars were pale,
and dawn was in the air.

Then the ostler said to his tipsy cat:
"The white horses of the Moon,
They neigh and champ their silver bits;
But their master's been and drowned his wits,
and the Sun'll be rising soon!"

So the cat on his fiddle played hey-diddle-diddle,
a jig that would wake the dead:
He squeaked and sawed and quickened the tune,
While the landlord shook the Man in the Moon:
"It's after three!" he said.

They rolled the Man slowly up the hill
and bundled him into the Moon,
While his horses galloped up in rear,
And the cow came capering like a deer,
and a dish ran up with the spoon.

Now quicker the fiddle went deedle-dum-diddle;
the dog began to roar,
The cow and the horses stood on their heads;
The guests all bounded from their beds
and danced upon the floor.

With a ping and a pang the fiddle-strings broke!
the cow jumped over the Moon,
And the little dog laughed to see such fun,
And the Saturday dish went off at a run
with the silver Sunday spoon.

The round Moon rolled behind the hill,
as the Sun raised up her head.
She hardly believed her fiery eyes;
For though it was day, to her suprise
they all went back to bed.

I still don't like poetry, but you can't really go wrong with Tolkien, right?


  1. I want that just for the cover alone!

    Jeff managed to snag me a couple of audio CD's for my b-day and for Christmas that have Tolkien himself reading excerpts from his stories, some of his short stories, and his poetry. As Once Upon a Time approaches I'll be pulling those out to enjoy them.

    I like some poetry very, very much though it is certainly an area where my tastes are very underdeveloped.

  2. I don't like poetry much either unless it is of the Shel Silverstein variety. But I've been reading a poem a day to my children for educational purposes for 16 years now so I've found a few here and there that I do like.

    But I'd never read a book of poems for personal enjoyment {shudders at the thought} . I also have to admit that I skip over all the poems whenever I read The Lord of the Rings.

  3. Who did the illustrations in it? Were they all done by the same person, or were they by a bunch of different people?

  4. Carl: The cover is nice, huh? It is what drew me to it when I bought it at the second-hand store.

    Nicola: I think I might have skipped over the poems when I read The Lord of the Rings too... Mainly because I don't remember any of them.

    Court: Alan Lee does the artwork.

  5. I have to respectfully disagree on this one. I do like poetry, but really didn't enjoy the ones in the Lord of the Rings. In fact, that's how I thought Peter Jackson's movies were better than the books.

  6. I think I skipped over the poems when I originally read the books too... A lot of these seemed like I was reading them for the first time, but it has been years since I read the LoTR, so my memory is not what it could be in that regards.

  7. I think I skipped over the poems when I originally read the books too... A lot of these seemed like I was reading them for the first time, but it has been years since I read the LoTR, so my memory is not what it could be in that regards.


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