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The Song of Eärendil was a song written primarily by Bilbo Baggins, though his friend Aragorn helped with a few lines.

Bilbo performed the song in Rivendell's Hall of Fire after the feast celebrating Frodo Baggins's recovery from his wound suffered at Weathertop. Apparently, Bilbo had asked his listeners to guess which parts he wrote and which were Aragorn's work, as the Elves gathered around requested a second recital of the song in order to make their guess, much to Bilbo's dismay. As Lindir commented, speaking on behalf of his people, "It is not easy for us to tell the difference between two mortals."

Bilbo later told Frodo that Aragorn merely insisted on putting in a green stone and that the rest was his own work. Aragorn also commented that "if I (Bilbo) had the cheek to make verses about Eärendil in the house of Elrond, it was my (Bilbo's) affair."[1]

The Song

Eärendil was a mariner that tarried in Arvernien;

He built a boat of timber felled 

In Nimbrethil to journey in;

Her sails he wove of silver fair, 

Of silver were her lanterns made, 

Her prow was fashioned like a swan, 

And light upon her banners laid.


In panoply of ancient kings,

in chainéd rings he armoured him;

his shining shield was scored with runes

to ward all wounds and harm from him;

his bow was made of dragon-horn,

his arrows shorn of ebony,

of silver was his habergeon,

his scabbard of chalcedony;

his sword of steel was valiant,

of adamant his helmet tall,

an eagle-plume upon his crest,

upon his breast an emerald.


Beneath the Moon and under star

he wandered far from northern strands,

bewildered on enchanted ways

beyond the days of mortal lands.

From gnashing of the Narrow Ice

where shadow lies on frozen hills,

from nether heats and burning waste

he turned in haste, and roving still

on starless waters far astray

at last he came to Night of Naught,

and passed, and never sight he saw

of shining shore nor light he sought.

The winds of wrath came driving him,

and blindly in the foam he fled

from west to east and errandless,

unheralded he homeward sped.


There flying Elwing came to him,

and flame was in the darkness lit;

more bright than light of diamond the fire upon her carcanet.

The Silmaril she bound on him

and crowned him with the living light

and dauntless then with burning brow

he turned his prow; and in the night

from Otherworld beyond the Sea

there strong and free a storm arose,

a wind of power in Tarmenel;

by paths that seldom mortal goes

his boat it bore with biting breath

as might of death across the grey

and long-forsaken seas distressed:

from east to west he passed away.


Through Evernight he back was borne

on black and roaring waves that ran

o'er leagues unlit and foundered shores

that drowned before the Days began,

until he heard on strands of pearl

where ends the world the music long,

where ever-foaming billows roll

the yellow gold and jewels wan.


He saw the Mountain silent rise

where twilight lies upon the knees

of Valinor, and Eldamar

beheld afar beyond the seas.

A wanderer escaped from night

to haven white he came at last,

to Elvenhome the green and fair

where keen the air, where pale as glass

beneath the Hill of Ilmarin

a-glimmer in a valley sheer

the lamplit towers of Tirion

are mirrored on the Shadowmere.


He tarried there from errantry,

and melodies they taught to him,

and sages old him marvels told,

and harps of gold they brought to him.

They clothed him then in elven-white,

and seven lights before him sent,

as through the Calacirian

to hidden land forlorn he went.

He came unto the timeless halls

where shining fall the countless year,

and endless reigns the Elder King

in Ilmarin on Mountain sheer;

and words unheard were spoken then

of folk of Men and Elven-kin,

beyond the world were visions showed

forbid to those that dwell therein.


A ship then new they built for him

of mithril and of elven-glass

with shining prow; no shaven oar

nor sail she bore on silver mas:

the Silmaril as lantern light

and banner bright with living flame

to gleam thereon by Elbereth

herself was set, who thither came

and wings immortal made for him,

and laid on him undying doom,

to sail the shoreless skies and come

behind the Sun and light of Moon.


From Evereven's lofty hills

where softly silver fountains fall

his wings him bore, a wandering light,

beyond the mighty Mountain Wall.

From World's End then he turned away,

and yearned again to find afar

his home through shadow journeying,

and burning as an island star

on high above the mists he came,

a distant flame before the Sun,

a wonder ere the waking dawn

where grey the Norland waters run.


And over Middle-earth he passed

and heard at last the weeping sore

of women and of elven-maids

in Elder Days, in years of yore.

But on him mighty doom was laid,

till Moon should fade, an orbéd star

to pass, and tarry never more

on Hither Shores where mortals are;

for ever still a herald on

an errand that should never rest

to bear his shining lamp afar,

the Flammifer of Westernesse.

References

  1. The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, Book Two, Chapter I: "Many Meetings"
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