Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Lay of Eärendil and Elwing

One of the greatest moments in the Story of Eärendil is when Elwing, his wife, flies to him out of sacrifice and love for him and accompanies him on his perilous journey to Valinor.  One of the best lines in the whole story: "For Ulmo bore up Elwing out of the waves, and he gave her the likeness of a great white bird, and upon her breast there shone as a star the Silmaril, as she flew over the water to seek Eärendil her beloved.  On a time of night Eärendil at the helm of his ship saw her come towards him, as a white flame on wings of storm.  And it is sung that she fell from the air upon he timbers of Vingilot, in a swoon, nigh unto death for the urgency of her speed, and Eärendil took her to his bosom; but in the morning with marveling eyes he beheld his wife in her own form beside him with her hair upon his face, and she slept." (Of Eärendil and the War of Wrath).  Below is a short adaptation of the above line I wrote as a lay.  Enjoy!

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Eärendil was a mariner strong
who sailed and journeyed far and long;
until at last a silver wave
bore him to the West to save
the Men and Elves of Middle-earth
whose horde of light was one of dearth;
a distant memory from across the Sea
which none now recall save the Caliquendi.

Eärendil rode, a jewel upon his brow,
as bud upon a slender bough.
His dark hair blew into the wind,
its radiant light as yet undimmed.
The salty air about him swirled
as he bade goodbye to the fallen world.

"Farewell," quoth he, his eyes were bright,
"I shall return and bring thee light--
or so I hope--to end our ne'er-ending strife.
I shall miss my people; my beloved wife,
who art dearer to me than mine own life:
whose eyes are deep and face is fair,
I will miss her golden hair."

And even as he spoke these words
he looked up to see that towards
his ship approached a bird on wing,
the sea air upon it glimmering;
whose feathers were pure and white,
as clear as Silmarillion light.

Eärendil watched; the bird it swooned,
as if from exhaustion or a grievous wound.
The mariner looked on in thought,
and to his side the bird he brought.
He closed his eyes and fell asleep
and dreamt of oceans and the deep.

The moon was silver, 
the stars were white,
the Sun arose and hid their light,
and as Eärendil bright looked down
not a bird asleep, but there he found
his wife, pearl-fair, and there
he held her, sleeping, with her hair
across his face, more free than words can declare.

Eärendil, mariner of the deep
and his wife, arose from sleep
and looked to isles off afar
which evil had yet failed to mar 
And Eärendil, mariner, joy undefiled,
looked upon his wife and smiled.

 

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