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Kortirion Among the Trees

Kortirion Among the Trees

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Published by NattWorthing
An early poem by JRR Tolkien, written as part of the mythologies which would eventually become "The Silmarillion." This beautifully and achingly describes the slow fading of a glorious Elven city, as time inevitably erodes all things and living splendours pass into lingering memories.
An early poem by JRR Tolkien, written as part of the mythologies which would eventually become "The Silmarillion." This beautifully and achingly describes the slow fading of a glorious Elven city, as time inevitably erodes all things and living splendours pass into lingering memories.

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Published by: NattWorthing on Jan 31, 2010
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01/31/2010

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KORTIRION AMONG THE TREES
by J.R.R. Tolkien (1915)
O fading town upon an inland hill,Old shadows linger in thine ancient gate,Thy robe is grey thine old heart now is still,Thy towers silent in the mist awaitTheir crumbling end while through the storeyed elms,The Gliding Water leaves these inland realmsAnd slips between long meadows to the SeaStill bearing downward over murmurous fallsOne day and then another to the Sea;And slowly thither many years have goneSince first the Elves here built Kortirion.
 
O climbing town upon thy windy hill,With winding streets and alleys shady-walledWhere now untamed the peacocks pace in drillMajestic sapphirine and emerald;Amid the girdle of this sleeping land,Where silver falls the rain and gleaming standThe whispering host of old deep-rooted treesThat cast long shadows in many a bygone noon,And murmured many centuries in the breeze;Thou art the city of the Land of ElmsAlalminórë in the Fairy Realms.Sing of thy trees Kortirion again,The beech on hill the willow in the fen,The rainy poplars and the frowning yewsWithin thine agéd courts that museIn sombre splendour all the day,Until the twinkle of the early starsComes glinting through their sable bars;And the white moon climbing up the skyLooks down upon the ghosts of trees that die,Slowly and silently from day to day.O Lonely Isle here was thy citadel,Ere bannered summer from his fortress fellThen full of music were thine elms,
 
Green was their armour green their helmsThe Lords and Kings of all thy trees;Sing then of elms renowned Kortirion,That under summer crowds their full sail onAnd shrouded stand like masts of verdurous ships,A fleet of galleons that proudly slipsAcross long sunlit seas.Thou art the inmost province of the fading isleWhere linger yet the Lonely Companies,Still undespairing here they slowly fileAlong thy paths with solemn harmonies:The holy people of an elder day,Immortal Elves that singing fair and feyOf vanished things that were and could be yet,Pass like a wind among the rustling trees;A wave of bowing grass and we forgetTheir tender voices like wind-shaken bells,Of flowers their gleaming hair like golden asphodels. Once Spring was here with joy and all was fair,Among the trees but Summer drowsing by the streamHeard trembling in her heart the secret player,Pipe out beyond the tangle of her forest dream:The long-drawn tune that elvish voices madeForeseeing Winter through the leafy glade

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