I love the stories of Middle-earth with all my heart and soul and I love that song and verse plays such a large role in these stories. Here are my favorite songs and poems from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.
1. Far Over the Misty Mountains Cold
Far over the misty mountains cold
To dungeons deep and caverns old
We must away ere break of day
To seek the pale enchanted gold.
The dwarves of yore made mighty spells,
While hammers fell like ringing bells
In places deep, where dark things sleep,
In hollow halls beneath the fells.
Here is the gorgeous abbreviated rendition by the dwarf cast of The Hobbit.
2. The Wind Was on the Withered Heath
The wind was on the withered heath,
but in the forest stirred no leaf:
there shadows lay by night and day,
and dark things silent crept beneath.
The wind came down from mountains cold,
and like a tide it roared and rolled;
the branches groaned, the forest moaned,
and leaves were laid upon the mould.
This poem was set to music by Adele McAllister in this beautiful rendition.
3. The King Beneath the Mountains
The King beneath the mountains,
The King of carven stone,
The lord of silver fountains
Shall come into his own!
His crown shall be upholden,
His harp shall be restrung,
His halls shall echo golden
To songs of yore re-sung.
A snippet of this poem is recited in The Desolation of Smaug.
4. The Road Goes Ever On
Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.
Here is the version from The Lord of the Rings musical.
5. Ring Verse
Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
This verse is recited by Gandalf in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Fellowship of the Ring.
6. The Riddle of Strider
All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
The second stanza of this verse is recited by Arwen in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Return of the King.
7. I Sit Beside the Fire and Think
I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen
of meadow-flowers and butterflies
in summers that have been;
Of yellow leaves and gossamer
in autumns that there were,
with morning mist and silver sun
and wind upon my hair.
Adele McAllister also set this one to music.
8. Song of Nimrodel
An Elven-maid there was of old,
A shining star by day:
Her mantle white was hemmed with gold,
Her shoes of silver-grey.
A star was bound upon her brows,
A light was on her hair
As sun upon the golden boughs
In Lórien the fair.
The Tolkien Ensemble performed this song in their Complete Songs and Poems album.
9. The Evening in the Shire was Grey
When evening in the Shire was grey
his footsteps on the Hill were heard;
before the dawn he went away
on journey long without a word.
From Wilderland to Western shore,
from northern waste to southern hill,
through dragon-lair and hidden door
and darkling woods he walked at will.
This poem was recited by Ian Holm, who played Bilbo in The Lord of the Rings, in a BBC radio dramatization of The Lord of the Rings. Fun fact: Ian Holm played Frodo!
10. Galadriel’s Song of Eldamar
I sang of leaves, of leaves of gold, and leaves of gold there grew:
Of wind I sang, a wind there came, and in the branches blew.
Beyond the Sun, beyond the Moon, the foam was on the Sea,
And by the strand of Ilmarin there grew a golden Tree.
Beneath the stars of Ever-eve in Eldamar it shone,
In Eldamar beside the walls of Elven Tirion.
Here is the Tolkien Ensemble’s take on this verse.
11. The Ent and the Entwife
When spring unfolds the beechen-leaf and sap is in the bough,
When light is on the wild-wood stream, and wind is on the brow,
When stride is long, and breath is deep, and keen the mountain air,
Come back to me! Come back to me, and say my land is fair!
When Spring is come to garth and field, and corn is in the blade,
When blossom like a shining snow is on the orchard laid,
When sun and shower upon the earth with fragrance fill the air,
I’ll linger here, and will not come, because my land is fair!
Here is the Tolkien Ensemble version.
12. Lament for Rohirrim
Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
Part of this poem is recited by Théoden in The Two Towers.
13. Upon the Hearth the Fire Is Red
Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed;
But not yet weary are out feet,
Still round the corner we may meet
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.
Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!
Pippin sings part of this song for Denethor in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The Return of the King.
14. Song of Beren and Lúthien
The leaves were long, the grass was green,
The hemlock-umbels tall and fair,
And in the glade a light was seen
Of stars in shadow shimmering.
Tinúviel was dancing there
To music of a pipe unseen,
And light of stars was in her hair,
And in her raiment glimmering.
Fun fact: Beren and Lúthien are based on Tolkien and his wife, Edith. Here is the Tolkien Ensemble’s rendition.
15. In Western Lands Beneath the Sun
In western lands beneath the Sun
the flowers may rise in Spring,
the trees may bud, the waters run,
the merry finches sing.
Or there maybe ’tis cloudless night
and swaying beeches bear
the Elven-stars as jewels white
amid their branching hair.
This song was sung by Bill Nighy, who played Samwise, in the 1981 BBC radio production.