Natura Apis: Morali Ricardi Eremite

From Tolkien Gateway

Natura Apis: Morali Ricardi Eremite is a song written by J.R.R. Tolkien. As with La, Huru, it is to be sung to the tune of Are You the O'Reilly Who Keeps This Hotel?. It was published as the 20th song in Songs for the Philologists in 1936.

The concluding verse is omitted from the original “Leeds Songs” version.[1]

The song[edit | edit source]

Natura Apis: Morali Ricardi Eremite

The night is still young and our drinks are yet long,
The fire's burning bright and here brave is the throng,
So now I will sing you a sooth little song
Of the busy brown bee - with a ding and a dong,
With a fal-lal-lal la and a z z z z
a z z z z z, z z z z z (thrice)

Three virtuous habits hath every brown bee:
Ah, no, never, no, never idle is she;
If drone will not labour, then out bundles he
And the hive and the honey no more will he see!

No wind from her pathway the bee ever bore,
For ballast she beareth, and (yea, what is more)
There's good mother earth on her feet though she soar;
She's no fool of a fly nor a dull dumbledore.

Yet gleaming she cleaneth her well-polished wings
That lift her aloft over lowlier things
(But note also this, the bees have their stings
And leave oft a mark on the lowlier things).

For Aristotle saith (in his quaint sort of Greek)
That Bees will give battle to robbers that seek
To harry their hives or their honey to sneak;
Their own will they hold, for the bees are not meek.


  1. Hammond, W. G., Scull, C. [1993] J.R.R. Tolkien: A Descriptive Bibliography