Lament for the Rohirrim

From Tolkien Gateway
This article describes a concept which is mentioned in J.R.R. Tolkien's works, but was never given a definite name.

The lament for the Rohirrim, also identified by its first line, Where now the Horse and the Rider?, is a song about Eorl.

History[edit | edit source]

The poem was written by a forgotten poet for Eorl, long before the War of the Ring.

On the way to Edoras, Aragorn chants a poem in Rohanese to characterize the Rohirrim. The text is not given. After Legolas comments that the sound of the words resembles the land of Rohan, Aragorn recites his translation of it, which is this poem.[1]

Text[edit | edit source]

Where now the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the hand on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the dead wood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?

Inspiration[edit | edit source]

The first two lines are inspired by "The Wanderer", an Old English poem that also contains the words "mathom-giver" and "theoden".[2]

Hwær cwom mearg? Hwær cwom mago?
Hwær cwom maþþumgyfa?
Hwær cwom symbla gesetu?
Hwær sindon seledreamas?
Eala beorht bune!
Eala byrnwiga!
Eala þeodnes þrym!
Hu seo þrag gewat,
genap under nihthelm,
swa heo no wære.

Where is the horse gone? Where the warrior?
Where is the treasure-giver?
Where are the seats at the feast?
Where are the revels in the hall?
Alas for the bright cup!
Alas for the mailed warrior!
Alas for the splendour of the prince!
How that time has passed away,
dark under the cover of night,
as if it never were.

Portrayal in adaptations[edit | edit source]

2002: The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers:

At the beginning of the Battle of Helm's Deep, Théoden recites some lines of the song, lamenting how alone the Rohirrim stand.

Where is the horse and the rider?
Where is the horn that was blowing?
They have passed like rain on the mountains,
like wind in the meadow.
The days have gone down in the West,
behind the hills... into Shadow.

The remaining lines are sung in Old English on the score in the background in the above and other scenes.

See also[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]