The Road Goes Ever On (book)

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The name The Road Goes Ever On refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see The Road Goes Ever On (disambiguation).
The Road Goes Ever On:
A Song Cycle
The Road Goes Ever On (1968).jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien, Donald Swann (music)
IllustratorJ.R.R. Tolkien, Samuel Hanks Bryant
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released31 October 1967 (US)
1968 (UK)
FormatHardcover; paperback

The Road Goes Ever On: A Song Cycle is a book of sheet music, poems by J.R.R. Tolkien, music by Donald Swann.

The first edition was published in 1967, which contains six poems from The Lord of the Rings and one from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It also contains notes on and translations of two Elvish text: "Namárië" and "A Elbereth Gilthoniel", for which reason it is an important document concerning the "glossary and lore of Elvish".[1]

A recording of the music, with William Elvin as vocalist, appeared under the title Poems and Songs of Middle Earth (1967). This record also contains readings from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil by J.R.R. Tolkien.


One of Tolkien's decorative tailpieces created for the book

This book has been valued even by those uninterested in music, since it helps Tolkien's readers to better understand the cultures of the various mythological beings presented in Middle-earth, and helps linguists analyse Tolkien's poetry. As well as the poems, notes, and translations, Tolkien contributed decorations in the form of Elvish script for the top and bottom of every page of sheet music, and tailpieces for the spaces at the ends of the poems.

The book contains one of the longest samples of the language Quenya, in the shape of the song "Namárië" (which appears on the cover in Tengwar), as well as the Sindarin prayer "A Elbereth Gilthoniel" with grammatical explanations. Tolkien's notes in the book provide information about the First Age of Middle-earth that was not otherwise publicly available until the publication of The Silmarillion.[2]


List of Songs
Included in the First Edition of the book (1967)
Added in the Second Edition (1978)
Added in the Third Edition (2002)

A CD record is included with this edition. It contains the musical recordings from Poems and Songs of Middle Earth as well as recordings of the songs added to the second and third editions.

Notes and Translations

Publication history and gallery

1967 first edition  
1978 second edition  
2002 third edition  

The Road Goes Ever On had also been published by Ballantine Books. A jacketless hardcover edition in October 1968, and a paperback edition in August 1975.[3]

Ballantine 1968 hardcover  
Ballantine 1975 paperback  

See also


  1. Quote from the cover of the Third Edition.
  2. Robert Foster, A Guide to Middle-earth
  3. Douglas A. Anderson, "Ballantine's Road Goes Ever On: Bibliographers Off by a Year!" dated 31 May 2021, (accessed 2 June 2021)
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by Tolkien or based on his writings
Of Arda Authorized by
J.R.R. Tolkien
The Hobbit · The Lord of the Rings
(i.The Fellowship of the Ring · ii.The Two Towers · iii.The Return of the King) ·
The Adventures of Tom Bombadil · The Road Goes Ever On · Bilbo's Last Song
Edited by Christopher Tolkien The Silmarillion · Unfinished Tales · The History of Middle-earth series
(i.The Book of Lost Tales: Part One · ii.The Book of Lost Tales: Part Two · iii.The Lays of Beleriand ·
iv.The Shaping of Middle-earth · v.The Lost Road and Other Writings · vi.The Return of the Shadow ·
vii.The Treason of Isengard · viii.The War of the Ring · ix.Sauron Defeated · x.Morgoth's Ring ·
xi.The War of the Jewels · xii.The Peoples of Middle-earth · Index) ·
The Children of Húrin · Beren and Lúthien · The Fall of Gondolin
Edited by others The Annotated Hobbit · The History of The Hobbit · The Nature of Middle-earth · The Fall of Númenor
Not of Arda Short stories
and poems
Leaf by Niggle · Farmer Giles of Ham · Smith of Wootton Major ·
Letters from Father Christmas · Mr. Bliss · Roverandom ·
Tree and Leaf (compilation) · Tales from the Perilous Realm (compilation)
Fiction works The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrún · The Fall of Arthur · The Story of Kullervo · The Lay of Aotrou and Itroun
Translations and academic works Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Pearl, and Sir Orfeo · Finn and Hengest ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays ·
Tolkien On Fairy-stories · A Secret Vice: Tolkien on Invented Languages · The Battle of Maldon
Other The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien
Books by other authors
Reference books The Complete Guide to Middle-earth
Scholarly books with Tolkien's writings J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · The Road to Middle-earth ·
A Question of Time · Tolkien and the Great War ·
The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide
Scholarly journals with Tolkien's writings Tolkien Studies various issues
Other published works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar issue 1-50 · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien: Life and Legend · J.R.R. Tolkien: Artist and Illustrator ·
The Art of The Hobbit · The Art of The Lord of the Rings · Tolkien: Maker of Middle-earth ·
Tolkien: Treasures · J.R.R. Tolkien: The Art of the Manuscript
This list only includes the major published works, for the full bibliography of Tolkien, see here or here