at its gentlest and most human

We all long for Eden, and we are constantly glimpsing it: our whole nature at its best and least corrupted, its gentlest and most human, is still soaked with the sense of exile.

From The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien.

wise and learned in the scrolls of lore and song

He is bold, more bold than many deem; for in these days men are slow to believe a captain can be wise and learned in the scrolls of lore and song, as he is, and yet a man of hardihood and swift judgement in the field.

Beregond on Faramir from Tolkien’s Return of the King.

names of all the stars

“‘Mercy,’ cried Gandalf. ‘If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend ther rest of my days in answering you. What more do you want to know?'”
“‘The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sounding Seas,’ laughed Pippin.”

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

we cared little for what lay beyond

Long have we tended our beasts and our fields, built our houses, wrought our tools, or ridden away to help in the wars of Minas Tirith. And that we called the life of Men, the way of the world. We cared little for what lay beyond the borders of our land. Songs we have to tell of these things, but we are forgetting them, teaching them only to children as a careless custom. And now the songs have come down to us out of strange places, and walk visible under the Sun.

J.R.R. Tolkien in The Two Towers.

worth taking a long time to say

Great passage on naming and language from The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien:

“Who calls you hobbits, though? That does not sound elvish to me. Elves made all the old words: they began it.”
“Nobody else calls us hobbits; we call ourselves that,” said Pippin.
“Hoom, humm! Come now! Not so hasty! You call yourselves hobbits? But you should not go telling just anybody. You’ll be letting out own own right names if you’re not careful.”
“We aren’t careful about that,” said Merry.
“…Hm, but you are hasty folk, I see,” said Treebeard. “…For I am not going to tell you my name, not yet at any rate.” A queer half-knowing, half-humorous look came with a green flicker into his eyes. “For one thing it would take a long while: my name is growing all the time, and I’ve lived a very long, long time; so my name is like a story. Real names tell you the story of things they belong to in my language, in the Old Entish as you might say. It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.”

better to begin

There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

a man may do both

“Halflings! But they are only a little people in old songs and children’s tales out of the North. Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in daylight?”

“A man may do both,” said Aragorn. “For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time. The green earth, say you? That is a mighty matter of legend, though you tread it under the light of day!”

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.

wise but unlearned

“They are proud and wilful, but they are true-hearted, generous in thought and deed; bold but not cruel; wise but unlearned, writing no books but singing many songs, after the manner of the children of Men before the Dark Years.”

From The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien.