"Goblin Feet" was first published in Oxford Poetry 1915. It was later reprinted in The Book of Fairy Poetry (1920), a publication notable for being the first instance of published artwork (by Warwick Goble) based on Tolkien's writing. The poem has since been published in Fifty New Poems for Children (?1922), Wonderful Tales from Fairy Isles (1929), The Open Door to Poetry (1931), J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography (1977), Mallorn 23 (1986), and The Annotated Hobbit (1988; revised edn 2002).
Tolkien's later thoughts
I wish the unhappy little thing, representing all that I came (so soon after) to fervently dislike, could be buried for ever.
I am off down the road
Where the fairy lanterns glowed
And the little pretty flitter-mice are flying
A slender band of gray
It runs creepily away
And the hedges and the grasses are a-sighing.
The air is full of wings,
And of blundery beetle-things
That warn you with their whirring and their humming.
O! I hear the tiny horns
Of enchanged leprechauns
And the padded feet of many gnomes a-coming!
O! the lights! O! the gleams! O! the little twinkly sounds!
O! the rustle of their noiseless little robes!
O! the echo of their feet - of their happy little feet!
O! the swinging lamps in the starlit globes.
I must follow in their train
Down the crooked fairy lane
Where the coney-rabbits long ago have gone.
And where silvery they sing
In a moving moonlit ring
All a twinkle with the jewels they have on.
They are fading round the turn
Where the glow worms palely burn
And the echo of their padding feet is dying!
O! it's knocking at my heart-
Let me go! let me start!
For the little magic hours are all a-flying.
O! the warmth! O! the hum! O! the colors in the dark!
O! the gauzy wings of golden honey-flies!
O! the music of their feet - of their dancing goblin feet!
O! the magic! O! the sorrow when it dies.