Lay of Leithian Canto II
|Lay of Leithian cantos|
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.
Concerning the Canto
This canto may be considered one of the darkest and most morbid cantos, with first a vivid description of the horrors of Morgoth, one of the most famous paragraphs in the Lay.
- There sat a king: no Elfin race
- nor mortal blood, nor kindly grace
Then comes the hope of Barahir, and the stumbling of Gorlim the Unhappy.
- But still there lived in hiding cold
- undaunted, Barahir the bold
- of land bereaved, of lordship shorn
- who once a prince of Men was born
The carrion-crows add to the effect of horror, and the sense of panic and hatred is full. Then comes the curse and despair of Beren, and when in the last he leaves the grave of his father, and heads south. Finally, the famous lines:
- Beleriand, Beleriand
- the borders of the faëry land
end the Canto and leave its tragic spell hanging.