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The Lay of Lthien

The leaves were long, the grass was green,

The hemlock umbels tall and fair,

And in the glade a light was seen

Of stars in shadow shimmering.

Tinviel was dancing there

To music of a pipe unseen,

And light of stars was in her hair,

And in her raiment glimmering.

 

There Beren came from mountains cold,

 And lost he wandered under leaves,

And where the Elven-river rolled

He walked alone and sorrowing.

He peered between the hemlock-leaves

And saw in wonder flowers of gold

Upon her mantle and her sleeves,

And her hair like shadow following.

 

Enchantment healed his weary feet

That over hills were doomed to roam;

And forth he hastened, strong and fleet,

And grasped at moonbeams glistening.

Through woven woods in Elvenhome

She lightly fled on dancing feet,

And left him lonely still to roam

In the silent forest listening.

 

He heard there oft the flying sound

Of feet as light as linden-leaves,

Or music welling underground,

In hidden hollows quavering.

Now withered lay the hemlock-sheaves,

And one by one with sighing sound

Whispering fell the beechen leaves

In the wintry woodland wavering.

 

He sought her ever, wandering far

Where leaves of years were thickly strewn,

By light of moon ad ray of star

In frosty heavens shivering.

Her mantle glinted in the moon,

As on a hill-top high and far

She danced, and at her feet was strewn

A mist of silver quivering.

 

When winter passed, she came again,

And her song released the sudden spring,

Like rising lark, and falling rain,

And melting water bubbling.

He saw the elven-flowers spring

About her feet, and healed again

He longed by her to dance and sing

Upon the grass untroubling.

 

Again she fled, but swift he came.

Tinviel!  Tinviel!

He called her by her elvish name;

and there she halted listening.

One moment stood she, and a spell

His voice laid on her: Beren came,

And doom fell on Tinviel

That in his arms lay glistening.

 

As Beren looked into her eyes

Within the shadows of her hair,

The trembling starlight of the skies

He saw there mirrored shimmering.

Tinuviel the elven-fair,

Immortal maiden elven-wise,

About him cast her shadowy hair

And arms like silver glimmering.

 

Long was the way that fate them bore,

O'er stony mountains cold and grey,

Through halls of iron and darkling door,

And woods of nightshade morrowless.

The Sundering Seas between them lay,

 And yet at last they met once more,

And long ago the passed away

In the forest singing sorrowless.

 

***This song was written in the mode of verse known as ann-thennath among the Eldar.  It was translated into a form of rhythmic verse in Westron, coupled with an uneven rhyme.  The song was written in an ancient tongue, in Noldorin Quenya or the Silvan dialect of the Avari, who were her people.