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Lay of Leithian Canto II

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This Canto of the Lay of Leithian tells how Barahir lived as an outlaw. It tells of the snaring of Gorlim the unhappy by a phantom of his lost wife, and how he revealed the secret hiding of Barahir. Then how Thû slew him, and his ghost appeared to Beren, Barahir's son, who happened to be away, and told him of his treachery. Beren upon returning found his father and all his outlaw companions dead. He recaptured the Ring of Barahir from an orc who ironically was speaking of lying to Thû and keeping the ring. There the Canto ends. This Canto includes one of the most praised paragraphs of the Lay, describing Morgoth, recounted below.

Far in the North neath hills of stone
in caverns black there was a throne
by fires illuminated underground,
that winds of ice with moaning sound
made flare and flicker in dark smoke;
the wavering bitter coils did choke
the sunless airs of dungeons deep
where evil things did crouch and creep.
There sat a king: no Elfin race
nor mortal blood, nor kindly grace
of earth or heaven might he own,
far older, stronger than the stone
the world is built of, than the fire
that burns within more fierce and dire;
and thoughts profound were in his heart:
a gloomy power that dwelt apart
Unconquerable spears of steel
were at his nod. No ruth did feel
the legions of his marshalled hate,
on whom did wolf and raven wait;
and black the ravens sat and cried
upon their banners black, and wide
was heard their hideous chanting dread
above the reek and trampled dead.
With fire and sword his ruin red
on all that would not bow the head
like lightning fell. The northern land
lay groaning neath his ghastly hand.
Lines 99-126