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Lay of Leithian Canto I

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This first [[Cantos of the Lay of the Leithian|Canto]] of the [[Lay of Leithian]] tells of [[Elu Thingol]], and [[Lúthien Tinúviel]] and [[Doriath]]. It runs to 98 lines, the shortest canto save the last, unfinished one.
 
This first [[Cantos of the Lay of the Leithian|Canto]] of the [[Lay of Leithian]] tells of [[Elu Thingol]], and [[Lúthien Tinúviel]] and [[Doriath]]. It runs to 98 lines, the shortest canto save the last, unfinished one.
 
== The Canto ==
 
<blockquote>A [[Elu Thingol|king]] there was in days of old;<br>
 
ere [[Men]] yet walked upon the mould<br>
 
his power was reared in [[Menegroth|cavern]]’s shad,<br>
 
his hand was over glen and glade.<br>
 
His shields were shining as the [[moon]]<br>
 
his lances keen of steel were hewn,<br>
 
of silver grey his crown was wrought<br>
 
the starlight in his banners caught;<br>
 
and silver thrilled his trumpets long<br>
 
beneath the [[Menelmacar|stars in challenge]] strong;<br>
 
enchantment did his real enfold,<br>
 
where might and glory, wealth untold,<br>
 
he wielded from his ivory throne<br>
 
in many-pillared halls of stone.<br>
 
There beryl, pearl, and opal pale,<br>
 
and metal wrought like fishes’ mail<br>
 
buckler and corselet, ade and sword<br>
 
and gleaming spears were laid in hoard–<br>
 
all these he had and loved them less<br>
 
than a maiden once in [[Doriath|Elfinesse]];<br>
 
for fairer than are born to [[Men]]<br>
 
a daughter had he, [[Lúthien]]</blockquote>
 
 
<blockquote>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;such lissom limbs no more shall run<br>
 
on the green earth beneath the [[sun]];<br>
 
so fair a maid no more shall be<br>
 
from dawn to dusk, from sun to sea.<br>
 
Her robe was blue as summer skies<br>
 
but gray as evening were here eyes;<br>
 
‘twas sewn with golden lilies fair<br>
 
but dark as shadow was her hair.<br>
 
Her feet were light as bird on wing<br>
 
her laughter lighter than the spring;<br>
 
the slender willow, the bowing reed<br>
 
the fragrance of a flowering mead<br>
 
the light upon the leaves of trees<br>
 
the voice of water, more than these<br>
 
her beauty was and blissfulness<br>
 
her glory and her loveliness;<br>
 
and her the king more dear did prize<br>
 
than hand or heart or light of eyes.</blockquote>
 
 
<blockquote>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;They dwelt amid [[Beleriand]]<br>
 
while [[Elves|Elfin]] power yet held the land<br>
 
in the woven woods of [[Doriath]];<br>
 
few ever thither found the path;<br>
 
few ever dared the forest-eaves<br>
 
to pass, or stir the listening leaves<br>
 
with tongue of hounds a-hunting fleet<br>
 
with horse, or horn, or mortal feet.<br>
 
To North there lay the [[Dor Daedeloth|Land of Dread]]<br>
 
whence only evil pathways led<br>
 
o’er hills of shadow bleak and cold<br>
 
or [[Taur-nu-Fuin (Dorthonion)|Taur-nu-Fuin]]’s haunted hold<br>
 
where Deadly [[Great Darkness|Nightshade]] lurked and lay<br>
 
and never came or moon or day<br>
 
to South the wide earth unexplored;<br>
 
to [[West]] the ancient [[Belegaer|Ocean]] roared<br>
 
unsailed and shoreless, wide and wild;<br>
 
to East in [[Blue Mountains|peaks of blue]] were piled<br>
 
in silence folded, mist-enfurled,<br>
 
the [[Walls of Night|mountains of the Outer World]],<br>
 
beyond the tangled woodland shade<br>
 
thorn and thicket, grove and glade<br>
 
whose brooding boughs with magic hung<br>
 
were ancient when the world was young.</blockquote>
 
 
<blockquote>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There [[Thingol]] in the [[Menegroth|Thousand Caves]]<br>
 
whose portals pale that river laves<br>
 
[[Esgalduin]] that fairies call<br>
 
in many a tall and torchlit hall<br>
 
a dark and hidden king did dwell<br>
 
lord of the forest and the fell;<br>
 
and sharp his [[Aranrúth|sword]] and high his helm<br>
 
the king of beech and oak and elm.</blockquote>
 
 
<blockquote>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There Lúthien the lissom maid<br>
 
would dance in dell and grassy glade<br>
 
and music merrily, thin and clear,<br>
 
went down the ways, more fair than ear<br>
 
of [[Gift of Men|mortal Men]] at feast hath heard<br>
 
and fairer than the song of bird.<br>
 
When leaves were long and grass was green<br>
 
then [[Dairon]] with fingers lean<br>
 
as daylight melted into shade<br>
 
a wandering music sweetly bade<br>
 
enchanted fluting, warbling wild<br>
 
for love of Thingol’s elfin child.</blockquote>
 
 
<blockquote>&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;There bow was bent and shaft was sped<br>
 
the fallow deer as phantoms fled<br>
 
and horses proud with branded mane<br>
 
with shining bit and silver rein<br>
 
went fleeting by on moonlit night<br>
 
as swallows arrow-swift in flight;<br>
 
a blowing and a sound of bells<br>
 
a hidden hunt in hollow dells.<br>
 
There songs were made and things of gold<br>
 
and silver cups and jewels untold<br>
 
and the endless years of Faëry land<br>
 
rolled over far [[Beleriand]]<br>
 
until a day beneath the sun<br>
 
when many marvels were begun.</blockquote>
 
  
 
== Concerning the Canto ==
 
== Concerning the Canto ==

Revision as of 14:57, 15 July 2006

Lay of Leithian cantos
  1. Canto I
  2. Canto II
  3. Canto III
  4. Canto IV
  5. Canto V
  6. Canto VI
  7. Canto VII
  8. Canto VIII
  9. Canto IX
  10. Canto X
  11. Canto XI
  12. Canto XII
  13. Canto XIII
  14. Canto XIV

This first Canto of the Lay of Leithian tells of Elu Thingol, and Lúthien Tinúviel and Doriath. It runs to 98 lines, the shortest canto save the last, unfinished one.

Concerning the Canto

This canto starts out with one of the more popular paragraphs, concerning Thingol. The descriptions of jewels is contrasted with the love of his daughter, whose description soon follows. Then it introduces Endor and orients the reader.

Esgalduin that fairies call / in many a tall and torchlit hall

Note the reference to fairies, not uncommon in older works. One thing about the Lay is that it commonly connects Beleriand and Faërie.

Note also that the name of Dairon is spelt here with an "i", as opposed to Daeron of later works.