Tolkien Reading Day

Is on Thursday!

The theme for this year is Tolkien's Seafarers, including the "Numenorean romance the Tale of Aldarion and Erendis from Unfinished Tales, the journeys and ships of the Teleri, the flight of the Noldor, and the voyages of Tuor and Earendil in The Silmarillion. In LotR the topic might include Bilbo's poem about Earendil, the story of Amroth and Nimrodel and even the journeys and adventures that take place at the mouths of the Anduin. Among the shorter poems there are Errantry, The Sea-Bell, The Happy Mariners, and The Last Ship and at a pinch Bombadil Goes Boating."

Errantry is one my favourite poems, and I once spent a few happy weeks trying to translate it into Turkish, looking up words and rereading the poem over and over. Here is one version of the poem:

There was a merry passenger,a messenger a mariner:
he built a gilded gondola
to wander in and had in her
a load of yellow oranges
and porridge for his provender;
he perfumed her with marjoram,
and cardamom and lavender.
He called the winds of Argosies,
with cargoes in to carry him,
across the rivers seventeen,
that lay between to tarry him.
He landed all in loneliness,
where stonily the pebbles on
the running river Derrilyn,
goes merrily for ever on.
He journeyed then through meadow-lands,
to shadow-land that dreary lay,
and under hill and over hill,
went roving still a weary way.
He sat and sang a melody,
his errantry a tarrying,
he begged a pretty butterfly,
that fluttered by to marry him.
She scorned him and she scoffed at him,
she laughed at him unpitying,
so long he studied wizardry,
and sigaldry and smithying.
He wove a tissue airy thin,
to snare her in; to follow her,
he made him beetle-leatherwing,
and feather wing of swallow hair.
He caught her in bewilderment,
with filament of spider-thread.
He made her soft pavilions,
of lilies and a bridal bed,
of flowers and of thistle-down,
to nestle down and rest her in,
and silken webs of filmy white,
and silver light he dressed her in.
He threaded gems and necklaces,
but recklessly she squandered them,
and fell to bitter quarrelling,
then sorrowing he wandered on,
and there he left her withering
as shivering he fled away;
with windy weather following,
on swallow-wing he sped away.
He passed the achipelagoes,
where yellow grows the marigold,
with countless silver fountains are,
and mountains are of fairy-gold.
He took to war and foraying,
a-harrying beyond the sea,
and roaming over Belmary,
and Thellamie and Fantasie.
He made a shield and morion,
of coral and of ivory.
A sword he made of emerald,
and terrible his rivalry,
with elven knights of Aerie
and Faerie, with paladins
that golden-haired, and shining-eyed
came riding by, and challenged him.
Of crystal was his habergeon,
his scabbard of chalcedony,
with silver tipped and plenilune,
his spear was hewn of ebony.
His javelins were of malachite
and stalactite - he brandished them,
and went and fought the dragon flies,
of Paradise, and vanquished them.
He battled with the Dumbledors,
the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,
and won the Golden Honeycomb,
and running home on sunny seas,
in ship of leaves and gossamer,
with blossom for a canopy,
he sat and sang, and furbished up,
and burnished up his panoply.
He tarried for a little while,
in little isles that lonely lay,
and found their naught but blowing grass.
And so at last, the only way he took, and turned,
and coming home with honeycomb,
to memory his message came,
and errand too!
In derring-do and glamoury,
he had forgot them,
journeying and tourneying, a wanderer.
So now he must depart again,
and start again bis gondola,
for ever still a messenger a passenger, a tarrier,
a roving as a feather does,
a weather-driven mariner.

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