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Songs for the Philologists

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Songs for the Philologists
Songs for the Philologists.jpg
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien, E.V. Gordon
PublisherLondon: English Department, University College
Released1936
FormatBooklet
ISBNN/A

Songs for the Philologists is a collection of thirty poems and songs, some of which were written by E.V. Gordon and J.R.R. Tolkien. The booklet was printed (privately) in 1936, and it hasn't been reprinted ever since.

Contents

[edit] Background

It is perhaps the rarest and most difficult to find Tolkien-related publication. Originally it is a set of typescripts compiled by E.V. Gordon in 19221926 for the amusement of English students at Leeds University. These typescripts included verses by Gordon and Tolkien, as well as other traditional songs in Old and Modern English and a variety of other languages.

In 1935 or 1936, Dr. A.H. Smith of University College London, formerly a student at Leeds, gave a copy of one of the typescripts to a group of students to print at their private press (with the impressuum: "Printed by G.T. Ilotson, A.H. Smith, B. Pattison, and other members of the English Department, University College, London"). The group included, amongst others, G.T. Ilotson, B. Pattison, and H. Winifred Husbands. The booklet was printed in hand-set type as an exercise on a reconstructed wooden hand-press.

Dr. Smith later realised that he had not asked for permission from Tolkien or Gordon, so the completed booklets were not distributed. University College was bombed during the Second World War and the press, and most of the stock of printed items, were lost in the ensuing fire. Evidently some copies of Songs for the Philologists survived — those retained by Smith and the students who printed them. The number that survived the fire is unknown, but is undoubtedly very small — according to one report "more than thirteen".

[edit] Poems by Tolkien

Table of content

Of the 30 poems and songs in the collection, 13 were contributed by Tolkien:

  1. From One to Five
    • (A counting rhyme to be sung to the tune of Three Wise Men of Gotham. Tolkien's words were altered to suit University College rather than Leeds University.)
  2. Syx Mynet
    • (In Old English, to be sung to the tune of I Love Sixpence.)
  3. Ruddoc Hana
    • (In Old English, to be sung to the tune of Who Killed Cock Robin.)
  4. Ides Ælfscýne
    • (In Old English, to be sung to the tune of Daddy Neptune. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation (Elf-fair Lady) in The Road to Middle-earth.)
  5. Bagmē Blōma
    • (In Gothic, to be sung to the tune of O Lazy Sheep!. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation (Flower of the Trees) in The Road to Middle-earth.)
  6. Éadig Béo þu!
    • (In Old English, to be sung to the tune of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation (Good Luck to You) in The Road to Middle-earth.)
  7. Ofer Wídne Gársecg
    • (In Old English, to be sung to the tune of The Mermaid. Reprinted, together with a Modern English translation (Across the Broad Ocean) in The Road to Middle-earth.)
  8. Lá Húru
    • (In Old English, to be sung to the tune of O' Reilly.)
  9. I Sat Upon a Bench
    • (A drinking song to be sung to the tune of The Carrion Crow.)
  10. Natura Apis: Morali Ricardi Eremite
    • (Also to be sung to the tune of O' Reilly.)
  11. The Root of the Boot
  12. Frenchmen Froth
    • (To be sung to the tune of The Vicar of Bray.)
  13. Two Little Schemes - Lit' and Lang'
    • (To be sung to the tune of Polly Put the Kettle On.)

Four of these poems: Bagmē Blōma, Éadig Béo þu!, Ides Ælfscýne, and Ofer Wídne Gársecg have been reprinted, with translations, in Tom Shippey's book The Road to Middle-earth.

[edit] Other poems

  1. Grace — (To be sung to the tune of The King of France.)
  2. Fara Með Vikingum — (Icelandic)
  3. Já, Láttu Gamminn — (Icelandic)
  4. Bring Us In Good Ale
  5. Björt Mey Og Hrein — (Icelandic)
  6. Rokkvísa — (Icelandic)
  7. Ólafur Liljurós — (Icelandic)
  8. Gaudeamus — (Latin)
  9. Icelandic Song — (Icelandic, to be sung to the tune of O' Reilly.)
  10. Su Klukka Heljar — (Icelandic, to be sung to the tune of The Bells of Hell, by E.V. Gordon.)
  11. Gubben Noach — (Swedish and Icelandic)
  12. Bí, Bí Og Blaka — (Icelandic)
  13. Guþ Let Vínper Vaxa — (Icelandic, to be sung to the tune of Laus Deo.)
  14. Salve!
  15. Hwan Ic Béo Déad [When I'm Dead] — (Old English, Scots, and Gothic, by E.V. Gordon.)
  16. Vísur Íslendinga — (Icelandic)
  17. Gömul Kynni — (Icelandic)

[edit] See also

[edit] External links