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Lay of Leithian Canto IV

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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 Canto first speaks of Beren and his bliss. Then it tells of Lúthien’s return and their dance, and how Dairon espied them, and as he loved Lúthien he betrayed them to Thingol. Then how Lúthien led Beren into Menegroth after Thingol promised her that his life would be spared. There he requested the hand of Lúthien, and Thingol, as he was bound to his oath not to harm Beren, in his wrath gave the bride-price as a Silmaril. Then Beren laughed as if it were a small thing, and left the hall with the promise to bring one back. This fourth canto can be considered the true beginning of the quest.

Concerning the Canto

This Canto begins with an elaborate description of Beren's happiness.

He lay upon the leafy mould
his face upon the earth’s bosom cold
aswoon in overwhelming bliss
enchanted of an elvish kiss

Then they dance in joy together.

there flitting just before his feet
she gently chid with laughter sweet;
‘Come! dance now, Beren, dance with me!
For fain thy dancing I would see.

Then Dairon, who is said to have loved Lúthien, espies them.

Thus fleeting fast their short hour flies,
while Dairon watches with fiery eyes,
haunting the gloom of tangled trees
all day, until at night he sees
in the fickle moon their moving feet,
two lovers linked in dancing sweet

And he first casts a spell of silence on the wood, and gives hints to Thingol about the meeting.

but kings see not—though queens, maybe,
may guess, and maidens, maybe, know.
Where one went lonely two now go!’