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The Dragon's Visit

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The Dragon's Visit is a humorous poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien which was first published on February 4th, 1937 within The Oxford Magazine, Vol. 55. No. 11. It was reprinted in David A. Anderson's The Annotated Hobbit in 1988 and a revised form can be found in Winter's Tales for Children I (1965).

The Poem

The dragon lay on the cherry trees
a-simmering and a-dreaming,
Green was he, and the blosson white,
and the yellow sun gleaming.
He came from the land of Finis-Terre,
from over the Blue Mountains,
Where dragons live, and the moon shines,
on high white fountains.

"Please Mister Higgins, do you know
What's a-laying in your garden?
There a dragon in your cherry trees!"
"Eh, what? I beg your pardon?"
Mister Higgins fetched the garden hose,
and the dragon awoke from dreaming;
He blinked, and cocked his long green ears
when he felt the water streaming.

"How cool!" he said, "delightfully cool
are Mister Higgins' fountains!
I'll sit and sing till the moon comes,
as they sing beyond the mountains;
And Higgins, and his neighbors, Box,
Miss Biggins and old Tupper,
Will be enchanted by my voice:
they will enjoy their supper!"

Mister Higgins sent for the fire brigade
with a long red ladder.
And men with golden helmets on.
The dragon's heart grew sadder:
"It reminds me of the bad old days
when warriors unfeeling
Used to hunt dragons in their dens,
their bright gold stealing.

Captain George, he up the ladder came,
The dragon said: "Good people,
Why all this fuss? Please go away!
Or your church-steeple
I shall throw down, and blast your trees,
and kill and eat for supper
You, Cap'n George, and Higgins, Box,
and Biggins and old Tupper."

"Turn on the hose!" said Captain George,
and down the ladder tumbled.
The dragon's eyes from green went red,
and his belly rumbled.
He steamed, he smoked, he threshed his tail,
and down the blossom fluttered;
Like snow upon the lawn it lay,
and the dragon growled and muttered.

They poked with poles from underneath
(where he was rather tender):
The dragon gave a dreadful cry
and rose like thunder.
He smashed the town to smithereens,
and over the Bay of Bimble
Sailors could see the burning red
from Bumpus Head to Trimble.

Mister Higgins was tough, and as for Box
just like his name he tasted.
The dragon munching his supper said:
"So all my trouble's wasted!"
And he buried Tupper, and Captain George,
and what was left of old Mrs. Higgins,
On a cliff above the long white shore;
and he sang a dirge for Higgins.

A sad song, while the moon rose,
with the sea below sighing
On the grey rocks of Bimble Bay,
and the red blaze dying.
Far over the sea he saw the peaks
round his own land ranging;
And he mused on the folk of Bimble Bay
and the old order changing:

"None of them now have the wit to admire
a dragon's song or colour,
Now the nere with steel to meet his fire -
the world is getting duller!"
He spread his wings to depart;
but just as he was rising
Miss Biggins stabbed him to the heart,
and that he found surprising.

"I regret this very much," she said.
"You're a very splendid creature,
And your voice is quite remarkable
for one who has no teacher;
But wanton damage I will not have,
I really had to end it."
The dragon sighed before he died:
"At least she called me splendid."