Thursday, February 12, 2015

A Middle-Earth (sort-of) Romance for Valentine's Day

“Farewell sweet earth and northern sky,
for ever blest, since here did lie
and here with lissom limbs did run
beneath the Moon, beneath the Sun,
Lúthien Tinúviel
more fair than Mortal tongue can tell.
Though all to ruin fell the world
and were dissolved and backward hurled;
unmade into the old abyss,
yet were its making good, for this―
the dusk, the dawn, the earth, the sea―
that Lúthien for a time should be.”  
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

So, for Valentine's Day, I was going to write a post about the romance of J.R.R. Tolkien and his wife Edith, but then I found this Wikipedia article that says everything I wanted to say and even has some awesome quotes that I never would have found on my own. It is very interesting. If you've read the story of Beren and Luthien in the Silmarillion but don't know the "real" story, it's definitely worth reading. I think you'll enjoy it. It's like something from a romantic idyll or from this one book I read that had this story of these two people who fell in love but they couldn't get married right away because one of them was an elf and one was - wait, that was the Silmarillion.

So how about this (since it is Valentine's Day) : Instead of writing up the facts in prose, seeing as Wikipedia has already beat me to it, I will render them in poetry. Everything's better in poetry, right? I mean Tolkien himself taught us that (see my post on Tolkien's poem "Mythopoeia").

For better or for worse (and entirely avoiding any thoughts on what Tolkien would say about it), I submit "Beren and Luthien":

In the spring of the world when you danced

Time stood still within my breast

Your eyes were bright as the sea of white stars

That swirled around your feet

But your hair was as dark as the valley of death

And filled with innumerous shadowings

I thought upon the days of our youth

When routed from my mother's house

Heavy with the scent of death

I came upon you sorrowing

Our tender hearts, o'er eager for love

Met once for all beneath the leaves

Long I sought you wandering far

As ever nearer out of reach

I chased your hem by the light of stars

We found each other all for once

And to each one clung quivering

You cast away your other life, to be but mine forevermore

We passed through dark and out of day

In woods of nightshade morrowless

And once we met in the valley wide

Amidst the war-death clamoring

And then it was my heart stood still

When you danced in the white stars sorrowless

When I returned from fog of war

We met again beneath the leaves

To cherish our eternity

And raise our children by the light of stars

And though your eyes were not as bright

As when you danced in the white sea-foam

My love for you could never dim

Our hearts danced once across the years

The story has gone crooked now

And I cannot plead to the moon-high gods

But into the stone of forevermore

I carve this word as immense as the sea

For me it contains the spring of the world

Held fixed in a clearing of white snow-flowers

As bright as the light that stood in your eyes

And your hair all shadowed with stars