Tolkien Gateway

The Bidding of the Minstrel

The Bidding of the Minstrel, from the Lay of Eärendel is a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien. It is one of several early poems concerning Eärendil published in The Book of Lost Tales Part Two[1].

The short (36 lines in its final version) poem consists of an exhortation to recount the tale of "Eärendel the wandering", perhaps referring to Éalá Éarendel Engla Beorhtast composed earlier that year, and a reply from the eponymous minstrel. He laments:

But the music is broken, the words half-forgotten,
The song I can sing is but shreds one remembers
Of golden imaginings fashioned in sleep,
A whispered tale told by the withering embers
Of old things far off that but few hearts keep.

In total four drafts were written at St. John's Street, Oxford in the winter of 1914. Earlier titles were The Minstrel renounces the song and The Lay of Eärendel.


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien (ed.), The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, "The Tale of Eärendel"