Poetry of J.R.R. Tolkien

Discussions about the Professor's poetic verses from Middle-earth
Post Reply
Lindariel
Posts: 1062
Joined: Fri Sep 23, 2005 8:30 pm
Location: The Hall of Fire, Imladris (otherwise known as Northern Virginia)

Post by Lindariel » Tue Oct 02, 2007 2:14 pm

Yes, Marbretherese, I am a classically trained opera singer -- a soprano leggiero to be precise -- which means I'm not quite a true coloratura and the voice isn't quite big enough to be a true lyric. A frustrating situation when one is just dying to sing Puccini and Verdi, and it just doesn't quite fit! Ah, well. I am also a versatile actress, and I wound up doing a little bit of everything from opera to musical theatre, operetta to oratorio, as well as non-musical plays, both dramatic and comedic. It was a lot of fun, and I got some wonderful reviews. Now my older daughter, who is turning 11 today, is planning for a career on the stage. More power to her!

I agree that Gilbert would probably have been delighted with The Professor's work, especially his poetry. The complex rhyme schemes and sophisticated word usage would surely have appealed to his love of language. Too bad they were not contemporaries!
Lindariel Image

“Therefore I say: Eä! Let these things Be! And I will send forth into the Void the Flame Imperishable, and it shall be at the heart of the World, and the World shall Be.”

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Tue Oct 02, 2007 4:13 pm

Lindariel wrote:I am a classically trained opera singer -- a soprano leggiero to be precise . . . . Now my older daughter, who is turning 11 today, is planning for a career on the stage.
Lindariel, what a wonderful career! :worship: It's great that you were able to enjoy such a variety of roles. I wish your daughter all the best for her birthday :party: and every success as she follows in your footsteps.

It's only thanks to Gilbert & Sullivan that I'm on MEJ. Iolanthe and I met through our local amateur G&S society (that's where I met Jonick, too). If I didn't know Iolanthe I might not have found MEJ - or learnt to appreciate Tolkien in such depth :shock: !
"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Wed Oct 03, 2007 10:31 am

It's all Gilbert and Sullivan's fault :lol: .

Lindariel, it sounds like you've had such fun with your voice! Think how gloomy you would have been with all those Puccini and Verdi roles :wink: . Though I really understand the desire to let rip with all those glorious phrases.

I think this comparison between Tolkien and Gilbert's use of words has been really interesting. I think Gilbert would also have liked Princess Mee, not so much for the words as the sheer 'topsy-turveyness' of it (literally as well as figuratively :lol: ).

This whole poem is delightful. Not just the charm of the story but the way Tolkien mirrors the lines through the last verse as Mee is mirrored by Shee:

So still on her own
An elf alone
Dancing as before
With pearls in hair
And kirtle fair
And slippers frail
Of fishes' mail went Mee:
Of fishes' mail
And slippers frail
And kirtle fair
With pearls in hair went Shee!
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Wed Oct 03, 2007 4:26 pm

I think I read somewhere that JRRT wrote very clever limericks about his fellow faculty members that also exhibited this kind of wordplay. Wish I could remember more about this!
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

marbretherese
Posts: 765
Joined: Sat Sep 17, 2005 1:42 pm
Location: Middle England
Contact:

Post by marbretherese » Sat Nov 24, 2007 4:58 pm

I've found another reference to Gilbert & Sullivan within Tolkien's published works :) - not in a novel this time but in his Valedictory Address to the University of Oxford (published in The Monsters & the Critics & Other Essays). According to Christopher Tolkien, who edited the Essays, he made the address in June 1959, at the end of his last term as Merton Professor of English Lang & Lit. In typical Tolkien style he starts by apologising that he never got round to making his inaugural lecture which was due more than thiry years ago :D . Then he says:
. . . I suppose that, at any rate since the golden days long past when English studies were unorganized, a hobby and not a trade, few more amateurish persons can 'by a set of curious circumstances' have been put in a professional position. For thirty-four years my heart has gone out to poor Ko-Ko, taken from a county jail; though I had one advantage over him. He was appointed to cut off heads, and did not really like it. Philology was part of my job, and I enjoyed it. . .
In Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado, Ko-Ko the tailor is 'taken from a county jail by a set of curious chances' to become the Lord High Executioner. The Prof is slightly misquoting here - later in the same song there is a reference to 'suchlike circumstances' - but the meaning is clear enough!
"Torment in the dark was the danger that I feared, and it did not hold me back.
But I would not have come, had I known the danger of light and joy."


http://www.marbretherese.com
http://marbretherese.blogspot.com/

Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Sun Nov 25, 2007 2:49 pm

I'm thrilled that you've found more evidence that Tolkien was a Gilbert and Sullivan fan :D . I was both astonished and delighted when Priscilla said that both he and Edith were G&S lovers at the Tolkien Conference last year. She said that they went to everything they could whenever it was on. It's great to find these little forgotten snippets to back it up!
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:07 am

You know what's really freaky? I was listening to my extended FoTR recordings the other day and came upon the drinking song Merry and Pippin did in the movie. While looking into some poetry from Tolkien I did chance upon this poem ... and instantly, the same tune applied to this poem is used in the movie recordings. You know the one I mean

Farewell Song of Merry and Pippin

Farewell we call to hearth and hall!
Though wind may blow and rain may fall,
We must away ere break of day
Far over wood and mountain tall.

To Rivendell, where Elves yet dwell
In glades beneath the misty fell,
Through moor and waste we ride in haste,
And whither then we cannot tell.

With foes ahead, behind us dread,
Beneath the sky shall be our bed,
Until at last our toil be passed,
Our journey done, our errand sped.

We must away! We must away!
We ride before the break of day!


Am I going nut??
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Wed Feb 18, 2009 11:07 am

No - it does fit the tune :lol: .

I can't remember what words they use in the film. You mean the scene where they are dancing on the table in Rohan? Was that also a setting of Tolkien?
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Wed Feb 18, 2009 9:00 pm

You'd better listen to the recording again Iolanthe. It fits I swear. And if remember right the song is sung at the Green Dragon. Unfortunately, the recording is at the end of another musical interlude on FoTR.

The exact words exscapes me but it ends in '...save this Took.' Oh I'm hopeless. :roll: :lol:
You mean the scene where they are dancing on the table in Rohan? Was that also a setting of Tolkien?
I don't recall any scene in Rohan where Merry and Pippen are dancing on the tables in the books. :?
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Merry
Varda
Posts: 3263
Joined: Wed Aug 17, 2005 7:01 am
Location: Middle-west

Post by Merry » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:11 am

No, Mippin are too well-bred for that!

Some of the lyrics to that song were taken from the bath song at Crickhollow, if I remember correctly: sweet is the sound of the falling rain, etc.
Sing and be glad, all ye children of the West,
for your King shall come again,
and he shall dwell among you
all the days of your life.

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Thu Feb 19, 2009 2:02 pm

Merry wrote:
Some of the lyrics to that song were taken from the bath song at Crickhollow, if I remember correctly: sweet is the sound of the falling rain, etc.
Yes Merry I remember that is one of the lines. I guess I must dig out the CD's so I can have a listen. 8)

ETA:

It's part The Drinking Song too. :?

The Drinking Song

Ho! Ho! Ho! to the bottle I go
To heal my heart and drown my woe.
Rain may fall and wind may blow,
And many miles be still to go,
But under a tall tree I will lie,
And let the clouds go sailing by.


Damn those movie people.
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Fri Feb 20, 2009 12:53 pm

Philipa wrote:You'd better listen to the recording again Iolanthe. It fits I swear. And if remember right the song is sung at the Green Dragon. Unfortunately, the recording is at the end of another musical interlude on FoTR.

The exact words exscapes me but it ends in '...save this Took.' Oh I'm hopeless. :roll: :lol:
We're at complete cross-purposes :lol: - I meant 'no' - in reply to am I nuts and '- it does fit the tune' as in, yes, I agree the music fits it!
Philipa wrote:
iolanthe wrote:You mean the scene where they are dancing on the table in Rohan? Was that also a setting of Tolkien?
I don't recall any scene in Rohan where Merry and Pippen are dancing on the tables in the books. :?
I meant, is the drinking song Merry and Pippin did in the movie that you're referring to in your post the one where they are dancing on the tables in Rohan? It's not in the books, just the film.
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Fri Feb 20, 2009 8:35 pm

Iolanthe wrote:
Philipa wrote:
iolanthe wrote:You mean the scene where they are dancing on the table in Rohan? Was that also a setting of Tolkien?
I don't recall any scene in Rohan where Merry and Pippen are dancing on the tables in the books. :?
I meant, is the drinking song Merry and Pippin did in the movie that you're referring to in your post the one where they are dancing on the tables in Rohan? It's not in the books, just the film.
I know on the full soundtrack the song is found on the FoTR set. So I'd assume it's not sung in Rohan. I'll eventually listen to the damned thing and report back with findings. It was just thought as I read the initial poem.
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Iolanthe
Uinen
Posts: 2339
Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2005 2:21 pm
Location: Washing my hair in the Sundering Sea

Post by Iolanthe » Sat Feb 21, 2009 8:34 pm

Doh #-o , of course, no Rohan in FotR . I would have realised that if I'd been paying attention :lol: . All I could see was those Hobbits leaping about on that table! You're right, it's probably in all that Hobbity stuff at the beginning where they're in the Green Dragon.
Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather...

Philipa
Ulmo
Posts: 1866
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2005 8:03 pm
Location: Surfing on the OO or hanging with the Teleri
Contact:

Post by Philipa » Sun Feb 22, 2009 1:36 am

Funny I finally found it on the disc. It at the very end of track 7...it's the scene just before Frodo goes home to find Bilbo has left and Gandalf is waiting for him I believe. I was driving so I never did put the words to memory. :lol:
Aiya Earendil Elenion Ancalima!

Thoughts from Eryn Lasgalen An online guide to all things Tolkien

Post Reply