The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor. From “The Lays of Beleriand”

A! the Trees of Light, tall and shapely,
gold and silver, more glorious than the sun,
than the moon more magical, o’er the meads of the Gods
their fragrant frith and flowerladen
gardens gleaming, once gladly shone.
In death they are darkened, they drop their leaves
from blackened branches bled by Morgoth
and Ungoliant the grim the Gloomweaver.
In spider’s form despair and shadow
a shuddering fear and shapeless night
she weaves in a web of winding venom
that is black and breathless. Their braches fail,
the light and laughter of their leaves are quenched.
Mirk goes marching, mists of blackness,
through the halls of the Mighty hushed and empty,
the gates of the Gods are in gloom mantled.

Lo! the Elves murmur mourning in anguish,
but no more shall be kindled the mirth of Côr
in the winding ways of their walled city,
towercrowned Tûn, whose twinkling lamps
are drowned in darkness. The dim fingers
of fog come floating from the formless waste
and sunless seas. The sound of horns,
of horses’ hooves hastening wildly
in hopeless hunt, they hear afar,
where the Gods in wrath those guilty ones
through mournful shadow, now mounting as a tide
o’er the Blissful Realm, in blind dismay
pursue unceasing. The city of the Elves
is thickly thronged. On threadlike stairs
carven of crystal countless torches
stare and twinkle, stain the twilight
and gleaming balusters of green beryl.
A vague rumour of rushing voices,
as myriads mount the marble paths,
there fills and troubles those fair places
wide ways of Tûn and walls of pearl.

Of the Three Kindreds to that clamorous throng
are none but the Gnomes in numbers drawn.
The Elves of Ing to the ancient halls
and starry gardens that stand and gleam
upon Timbrenting towering mountain
and the day had climbed to the cloudy-domed
mansions of Manwë for mirth and song.
There Bredhil the Blessed the bluemantled,
the lady of the heights as lovely as the snow
in lights gleaming of the legions of the stars,
the cold immortal Queen of mountains,
too fair and terrible too far and high
for mortal eyes, in Manwë’s court
sat silently as they sang to her.

The Foam-riders, folk of waters,
Elves of the endless echoing beaches,
of the bays and grottoes and the blue lagoons,
and silver sands sown with moonlight,
starlit, sunlit, stones of crystal,
paleburning gems pearls and opals,
on their shining shingle, where now shadows groping
clutched their laughter, quenched their mourning
their mirth and wonder, in amaze wandered
under cliffs grown cold calling dimly,
or in shrouded ships shuddering waited
for the light no more should be lit for ever.

But the Gnomes were numbered by name and in,
marshalled and ordered in the mighty square
Upon the crown of Côr. There cried aloud
the fierce son of Finn. Flaming torches
he held and whirled in his hands aloft,
those hands whose craft in hidden secret
knew, that no Gnome or mortal
hath matched or mastered in magic or in skill.
“Lo! slain is my sire by the swords of fiends,
his death he has drunk at the doors of his hall
and deep fastness, where darkly hidden
the Three were guarded, the things unmatched
that Gnome and Elf and the Nine Valar
can never remake nor renew on earth,
recarve or rekindle by craft or magic,
not Fëanor Finn’s son who fashioned them of yore-
the light is lost whence he lit them first,
the fate of Faërie hath found its hour.

Thus the witless wisdom its reward hath earned
of the God’s jealousy, who guard us here
to serve them, sing to them in our sweet cages
to contrive them gems and jewelled trinkets,
their leisure to please with our loveliness,
while they waste and squander work of ages,
nor can Morgoth master in their mansions sitting
at countless councils. Now come ye all
who have courage and hope! My call harken
to flight, to freedom in far places!
The woods of the world whose wide mansions
yet in darkness dream drowned in slumber,
the pathless plains and perilous shores
no moon yet shines on nor mounting dawn
in dew and daylight hath drenched for ever,
far better were those for bold footsteps
than gardens of the Gods gloom-encircled
with idleness filled and empty days.
Yea! though the light lit them and the loveliness
beyond hearts desire that hath held us slaves
here long and long. But that light is dead.
Our gems are gone, our jewels ravished;
and the Three, my Three, thrice-enchanted
globes of crystal by gleam undying
illumined, lit by living splendour
and all hues’ essence, their eager flame-
Morgoth hath them in his monstrous hold,
my Silmarils. I swear here oaths,
unbreakable bonds to bind me ever,
by Timbrenting and the timeless halls
of Bredhil the blessed that abides thereon-
may she hear and heed- to hunt endlessly
unwearying, unwavering through world and sea,
through leaguered lands, lonely mountains,
over fens and forest and the fearful snows,
till I find those fair ones, where the fate is hid
of the folk of Elfland and their fortune locked,
where alone now lies the light divine.”

Then his sons beside him, the seven kinsmen,
crafty Curufin, Celegorm the fair,
Damrod and Díriel and dark Cranthir,
Maglor the mighty, and Maidros tall
(the eldest, whose ardour yet more eager burnt
than his father’s flame, than Fëanor’s wrath;
him fate awaited with fell purpose),
These leapt with laughter their lord beside,
With linked hands there lightly took
the oath unbreakable; blood thereafter
it spilled like a sea and spent the swords
of endless armies, nor hath ended yet:

“Be he friend or foe of foul offspring
of Morgoth Bauglir, be he mortal dark
that in after days on earth shall dwell,
shall no law nor love nor league of Gods,
no might nor mercy, not moveless fate,
defend him for ever from the fierce vengeance
of the sons of Fëanor, whoso seize or steal
or finding keep the fair enchanted
globes of crystal whoso glory dies not,
the Silmarils. We have sworn for ever!”

Then a mighty murmuring was moved abroad
and the harkening host hailed them roaring:
“Let us go! yea go from the Gods for ever
on Morgoth’s trail o’er the mountains of the world
to vengeance and victory! our vows are ours!”

Submitted by Fionwe

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