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A Tragic Epic
 Canto I
Concerning Finwë and the Noldor
In Aman once and long ago,
before the Sun and Moon we know,
there was a king of might and grace
of no low birth or mortal race
Lord of the Elves on Aman’s shores –
Lord of the Noldor, ere the wars
were fought across the pounding sea,
ere death ruled over victory.
Finwë was he called, one so great,
and yet did not rule Aman’s fate;
twelve powers mighty, Valar called,
who ruled within the city walled
of Valmar, with its golden gates
that shone so bright. Where Manwë waits
and sits on his colossal throne
in Máhanaxar’s ring of stone,
with mighty thirteen great Valar
and Valier under Varda’s star.
Manwë the Wind-lord, Eagle-prince,
upon whose wings the bright sun glints;
greatest of Valar, Lord of Air,
whose seat doth crown the Mountain’s stair.
Varda his wife, the Queen of Stars,
who shines as bright, brighter than ours
that sit and twinkle in the sky
for she made them ere light did die.
Lord of Waters, the great Ulmo,
whose conches loud and clear they blow;
the Ulumuri neath the wave
sounds, causing elves the sea to crave.
Aulë, Master of all crafts,
whose hammer in the forges laughs,
and strikes the anvil, gold and jewels
are shining neath his gleaming tools.
Yavanna, whose bright fruits do gleam
beneath her leaves all lush and green.
Cold Námo, Mandos, guards the dead,
all things remembers, judgements said.
Vairë weaves her web of time;
the past is woven in cloth fine.
Irmo of visions, dreams, and mirth,
whose gardens fair are of cool earth.
Estë who heals from fountains clear
in Lórien, by sparkling mere.
Sad Nienna, whose weeping falls
in Taniquetil’s lofty halls.
Tulkas Astaldo, Doughty Heart,
whose laughter rings in rugged art.
Nessa, fleeter than the deer,
who dances, runs, with flying hair.
Oromë is a mighty lord,
who horses, hounds, and trees doth ward;
and loves the hunt across the plains
that brings down beasts ere summer wanes.
Lastly Vána, the Ever-young,
of whose youth and beauty birds have sung.
These fourteen were called gods by some
though Ilúvatar made them come
and reign on earth. No gods they were
but Western Lords on shore hither.
On Taniquetil they all reigned
o’er bird, o’er beast, o’er freedom gained,
o’er all the things that elves held dear
back in that time, that day and year
when two trees lit the world with light;
silver Telperion, twilight,
a silver lamp that held no grief;
and Laurelin with golden leaf.
Of old Melkor a Vala was
who wished to make his own new laws
and new creation; but he failed
and wrath on Endor’s elves he hailed;
they were wards of Ilúvatar,
and greater than all his works are.
Once long ago the elves did sail
across the ocean, to unveil
the light of Aman in their eyes,
away from hate and Melkor’s lies;
in Endor they abandoned war
and left Cuiviénen’s shore.
So Finwë ruled the Ñoldor’s host,
in Tirion fair did his utmost
to keep the city fair and clean–
that city white on a hill green
green as emeralds it shone,
shone Túna, hill in vale alone.
Upon its heights there Tirion stood
a city white, not made of wood
that mortal hands have felled and grown;
this white city was made of stone.
Its towers tall did pierce the sky
above its staircase wide and high
and walls that towered great and strong;
walls that were made to keep out wrong.
In years gone by, in great Endor,
the elves awoke, in realms of yore
they wandered. Still dear in their souls
they were Cuiviénen’s foals
that shining lake, that shimm’ring pond,
of which they all grew dearly fond;
that place where they awoke to find
the world so wide, the stars so kind.
Yet Oromë the huntsman wise
beheld them with his wond’ring eyes
and met them there, Vala to elf,
then kept the news not to himself
but told the other Valar that
the Sons of Eru were beget.
But Melkor’s hate was as a flame
smoldering, waiting, poised to stain
the beauty of Ilúvatar
in his young children. Like a star
of hope again Oromë came
and them to peace called in the name
of Manwë, Varda, Powers great
who ruled o’er all of Aman’s fate
the elves set out to Endor’s shores
and abandoned dark Melkor’s wars.
A journey dark o’er haunt and lea
at last they came unto the sea,
and waited there for ship to come
to bear them to their new fair home.
Aman’s sweet joys they found at last
and as the years and seasons passed
beneath the light of those two trees
they found a land that no man sees.
Finwë did marry Míriel
of silver hair. But life did fail
after the birth of a young son;
her spirit as the waters run
did leave her body she had died
first of the elves. Poor Finwë sighed
and took his young son by the hand
and raised him in that lasting land.
Alas for Míriel the Fair,
for laughter light and silver hair!
But her young son did grow and grow
faster than most of which we know,
and as the horse his light feet pranced
while in his eyes a fire danced.
They called him Curufinwë, dark
was his black hair, yet as the lark
his spirit danced, like fire shone
his eyes. His eyes, like molten stone
they never stood, but always saw
what few could see; all things were raw
before his bare and piercing glance
as still his fire doth in him dance.
His skill he found in things of craft
gems and metals, and the shaft
of his hammer was never down
but filled the forge with ringing sound.
Bright gems he made that under stars
did bring blue fire, and no great scars
upon his work were found, and still
bright the fire burned, his eyes did fill.
Finwë again did find a wife,
a maiden, Indis great was strife
between her and Curufinwë,
so the old tales and legends say.
Two sons did come from fair Indis
Fingolfin, whose bright joy and bliss
did light the hearts of all elves nigh
save Curufinwë’s heartless eye;
and Finarfin, whose golden locks
did shine when early the thrush knocks.
 Canto II
Concerning the marriage and exile of Fëanor
Fëanor once rode o’er the hills,
across the fields, along the rills,
when spied he then a riding far
an elven-woman like a star:
her face was white, her laughter clear,
her eyes were deep as mountain mere,
her hair was red as Carnil’s fire,
yet quicker even than her ire
her patience was and stubborn will;
her gentleness the seas would fill.
In silence halted Fëanor
and quick the maiden saw he wore
the princely clothes of son of king –
the King Finwë of golden ring.
Then laughter silver trickled forth
from that fair maiden, and henceforth
did Fëanor love Mahtan’s child,
though still he was both young and wild.
“A race, good lad, would suit me well”
enchanted on the elf’s ears fell,
so Finwë’s son met Nerdanel,
and so the ancient lore-books tell
how those two striplings laughed and raced
their horses on that land once graced
by the Two Trees a-shimmering.
While on the white shore glimmering
the elf and elf-maid raced on horse
nothing to Fëanor seemed coarse
or ungentle about the maid –
for so the paths of fate are laid.
Fëanor won, or so ‘tis said,
and Nerdanel with silent tread
did watch the fire burning still,
the fire that did all things thrill:
the fire behind those elven eyes –
so sweet are days ere summer dies.
Young they were wed in days to come
and still the paths of fate they run
before their feet, and never thought
of how that fate their lives had wrought.
Seven to Nerdanel were born
by Fëanor, and he was torn
between his work and family
and so he dwelt not happily.
The master of all craft of gem
he learned of ore-work strong from him
who was the father of his bride:
good Mahtan was Aulë’s pride.
And so the years passed joyously
as the elves danced beneath the tree
of bright gold, and the silver shone
in the sweet nights upon the stone;
while Fëanor his art refined
and shining jewels he wrought so fine
as to gleam blue beneath starlight
and master was he, master wright.
When once there came upon his heart
a thought, a plan, a scheme apart;
his thoughts went fast, his plan did swell,
and thus forgot fair Nerdanel.
With toil, sweat, and many tries,
he worked his piece, while in the skies
the summer nine times waxed and waned
ere he his master work attained:
three gems, three stars, of countless worth,
that held the light that lit the earth;
the light of the Two Trees they brought,
into the form of crystal wrought.
Silmarils he called his gems,
the greatest of the work that stems
from his kindred, the Noldor’s fist
oft round the hammer did it twist.
Hail Fëanor, greatest of wrights!
O thou who brings to earth the lights
blazing in boundless heavens high,
O thou who touches e’en the sky!
Ever in memory we hold
thy name, and sorrows countless fold
would come upon thee like a storm:
for heroes as thee do we mourn.
 Canto III
Concerning Morgoth's revenge
The festivals in Arda’s crown
did bring great joy to field and town
in Aman, on Taniquetil,
bright laughter did the cities fill.
Yet still while joy the Ñoldor keep
vengeance doth in the darkness sleep,
ready to wake from hateful rest:
ready to flow from Melkor’s breast.
In Avathar a blackness hid:
nigh Hyarmentir a light pallid
did gleam in dreadful horrors there—
but no light touched Ungoliant’s lair.
To be continued