The Lay of the Children of Húrin
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|The Lays of Beleriand chapters|
The Lay of the Children of Húrin is a lay written by J.R.R. Tolkien, and the first chapter of The Lays of Beleriand.
The Lays of Beleriand, published in 1985 (the third volume of Christopher Tolkien's 12-volume series, The History of Middle-earth), contains the long "lays" or poems Tolkien wrote: these are the Lay of the Children of Húrin about the saga of Túrin Turambar, and The Lay of Leithian (also called Release from Bondage) about Beren and Lúthien. Although Tolkien abandoned both of these before their respective ends, they are both long enough to occupy many stanzas, each of which can last for over 10 pages.
The first tale is in alliterative verse, and the second is in rhyming couplets. Both exist in two versions. In addition to these two poems, the book also gives some shorter, soon abandoned poems.
The first versions of the long lays fit chronologically in with Tolkien's earliest writings, as recounted in The Book of Lost Tales Part One, but the later versions are contemporary with the writing of The Lord of the Rings.