I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog

I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog and disguise themselves in the reaf,” an Anglo-Saxon term for clothing and weapons taken from the dead. “I can quite honestly say thatContinue reading “I sat up late last night and have read the Geste as far as to where Beren and his gnomish allies defeat the patrol of orcs above the sources of the Narog”

understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained

Elrond concerting the three rings: They are not idle. But they were not made as weapons of war or conquest: that is not their power. Those who made them did not desire strength or domination or hoarded wealth, but understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained. From The Fellowship of the Ring byContinue reading “understanding, making, and healing, to preserve all things unstained”

you must labour in the sea

Found in the unfinished novel The Notion Club Papers, this is the “The Death of St. Brendan” by J.R.R. Tolkien: At last out of the deep seas he passed, and mist rolled on the shore; under clouded moon the waves were loud, as the laden ship him bore to Ireland, back to wood and mire,Continue reading “you must labour in the sea”

the strength of the hills is not ours

C.S. Lewis in a letter to Arthur Greeves, 22 June 1930: Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they sawContinue reading “the strength of the hills is not ours”

the direction in which their unmarred fulfillment must lie

J.R.R.Tolkien in his notes on “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.” Finrod, however, sees now that, as things were, no created thing or being in Arda, or in all Eä, was powerful enough to counteract or heal Evil: that is to subdue Melkor (in his present person, reduced though that was) and the Evil that he hadContinue reading “the direction in which their unmarred fulfillment must lie”

Where are these other things?

J.R.R.Tolkien in “Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth.” “But do you know that the Eldar say of Men that they look at no thing for itself; that if they study it, it is to discover something else; that if they love it, it is only (so it seems) because it reminds them of some other clearer thing?Continue reading “Where are these other things?”

On the Death and Birth of Aragorn

“The funeral-boat of Boromir.” Anke Katrin Eißmann. 1999. One month ago, my fourteen-year-old daughter told me that I should write a tribute to Aragorn for March 1st, the date of his birth and his death. I was proud that she had March 1st associated with Aragorn in her mind and flattered that she would want me to write aContinue reading “On the Death and Birth of Aragorn”

I knew one who made his pilgrimage to springs

The Springs by Wendell Berry In a country without saints or shrines I knew one who made his pilgrimage to springs, where in his life’s dry years his mind held on. Everlasting, people called them, and gave them names. The water broke into sounds and shinings at the vein mouth, bearing the taste of theContinue reading “I knew one who made his pilgrimage to springs”

the Mountains rang with it

This is the ending to J.R.R. Tolkien’s short story “Leaf by Niggle.” I love this story of how a modest lifetime is made to be of great worth: “for many it is the best introduction to the Mountains.” It is also noteworthy that Tolkien fills the highest heights of heaven with ringing laughter (in anContinue reading “the Mountains rang with it”