Tolkien Gateway

The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late

The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late is a Hobbit poem composed by Bilbo Baggins.


[edit] History

In The Prancing Pony at Bree Frodo jumped on a table and recited "a ridiculous song" invented by Bilbo.[1]

[edit] Form

The poem is in thirteen ballad-like five-line stanzas, introducing each element in turn: "the Man in the Moon" himself, the ostler's "tipsy cat that plays a five-stringed fiddle", the little dog, the "hornéd cow".

[edit] Portrayals in adaptations

1978: The Lord of the Rings (1978 film):

Frodo sings an abridged version of the song at the Prancing Pony before falling off the table and accidentally slipping on the Ring for the first time, causing him to disappear and startle the patrons.

1981: The Lord of the Rings (1981 radio series):

Frodo sings the song in Bree. Speeding up at every line, he becomes nigh unintelligible near the end.

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (video game):

Frodo sings an abridged version at the Prancing Pony. The line fragment "And there they brew a beer so brown" was changed to "And there they made a stew so brown", presumably to censor references to alcohol.

2006: The Lord of the Rings (musical):

The hobbits sing a version at the Prancing Pony. The lyrics are quite different.

2012: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey:

In the Extended Edition of the film, Bofur sings an abridged version in Rivendell while the Company dines with the Elves, and the other Dwarves join in.

[edit] Other media

A musical version of this poem was recorded by the Tolkien Ensemble on their album An Evening in Rivendell.

[edit] Inspiration

In the context of the legendarium, this song is the imagined original (by back formation) ditty that is derived to 'our time' in the simplified nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle".[source?]

The title of this version is given in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.[2]


  1. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, "At the Sign of the Prancing Pony"
  2. J.R.R. Tolkien, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, "The Man in the Moon Stayed Up Too Late"