T is for Tolkien and Children's Day

T is for Tolkien!

For this year's A to Z I'm featuring books I've read based on the Reading Challenge.



Today's book is a book from an author you love that you haven't read yet. Hard to believe there's any Tolkien book I haven't read (never mind that I haven't yet had time to finish his translation of Beowulf released last year, especially because I'd like to compare it to the last translation I read, which was Seamus Heaney's), but there is one book:

Songs for the Philologists

Here is the Tolkien Library description:

"In Leeds, J.R.R. Tolkien and E.V. Gordon founded a "Viking Club" for undergraduates devoted mainly to reading Old Norse sagas and drinking beer. It was for this club that Tolkien and Gordon originally wrote their Songs for the Philologists, a set of duplicated typescripts, containing a mixture of traditional songs and original verses translated into Old English, Old Norse and Gothic to fit traditional English tunes.

In 1935 or 1936, Dr A.H. Smith of University College London, former student at Leeds, gave a copy of one of the typescripts to a group of students to print at their private press as a printing exercise. There for we can assume there were not many copies printed originally. He later realized that he had not asked for permission from Tolkien or Gordon, so the completed booklets were not distributed. Most of the copies were destroyed in a fire at the college where the press and copies of the book were stored, but evidently some copies survived, perhaps retained by the students who printed them. The number that survive is not known, but is very small, perhaps as few as 14."

"There were 30 songs in the collection, J.R.R. Tolkien contributed 13. Further details can be found here.

'From One to Five'. To be sung to the tune of 'Three Wise Men of Gotham'.
'Syx Mynet'. In Old English, to be sung to the tune of 'I Love Sixpence'.
'Ruddoc Hana'. In Old English, to be sung to the tune of 'Who Killed Cock Robin'.
'Ides Ælfscýne'. In Old English, to be sung to the tune of 'Daddy Neptune'. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation ('Elf-fair Lady') in The Road to Middle-earth.
'Bagm? Blom?'. In Gothic, to be sung to the tune of 'O Lazy Sheep!'. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation ('Flower of the Trees') in The Road to Middle-earth.
'Éadig Béo þu!'. In Old English, to be sung to the tune of 'Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star'. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation ('Good Luck to You') in The Road to Middle-earth.
'Ofer Wídne Gársecg'. In Old English, to be sung to the tune of 'The Mermaid'. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation ('Across the Broad Ocean') in The Road to Middle-earth.
'La Húru'. To be sung to the tune of 'O' Reilly'.
'I Sat upon a Bench'. To be sung to the tune of 'The Carrion Crow'.
'Natura Apis: Morali Ricardi Eremite'. Also to be sung to the tune of 'O'Reilly'.
'The Root of the Boot'. To be sung to the tune of 'The Fox Went Out'. Reprinted in Anderson's Annotated Hobbit, and in a revised form in The Return of the Shadow. Also reprinted in The Tolkien Papers: Mankato Studies in English. Later revised and printed in The Lord of the Rings and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil as 'The Stone Troll'.
'Frenchmen Froth'. To be sung to the tune of 'The Vicar of Bray'.
'Lit' and Lang''. To be sung to the tune of 'Polly Put the Kettle On'.

The above information is a summary of that given in Hammond's Descriptive Bibliography. For full details see pages 293 and 294."

I note that even Wikipedia calls it "the rarest and most difficult to find Tolkien-related book"!

The trouble is not so much that it's not available, but that it's out-of-budget. Look at these prices!





Meanwhile, today is Children's Day in Turkey! I've Storified a few photos off Twitter:



Which priceless book would you like to own?

Comments

I had no idea Tolkien wrote songs!
Hi Deniz - gosh your knowledge of all things literary .. is legendary to me! Love the photos of Emily .. and how fantastic you found that out about Tolkein .. cheers Hilary
Trisha F said…
Tolkien really was a talented man!

I love that NaNo baby. Very cute! hehe
S.P. Bowers said…
So, so cute! Give her a hug from me. I miss baby hugs.
Deniz Bevan said…
Hugs all around! xo

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