The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor

From Tolkien Gateway

The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor is a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien, included in the chapter "Poems Early Abandoned" in The Lays of Beleriand. It was written and left unfinished during his time at the University of Leeds. Christopher Tolkien explains that it probably comes from the early part of 1925 and was abandoned because his father started other poems. There are three manuscripts of the poem, each with just a few emendations, but different titles: The Flight of the Gnomes as sung in the Halls of Thingol, Flight of the Gnomes and The Flight of the Noldoli from Valinor.[1]:131


The poem starts with the death of the Two Trees of Valinor and the mourning of the Elves in Tûn. A description of the Three Kindreds of Elves is given. When the Gnomes gathered in the Great Square of Côr, Fëanor makes a speech against the Gods, calling for a quest to recover the Silmarils from Morgoth. After naming the seven Sons of Fëanor, the poem closes with the Oath of Fëanor and the Gnomes calling for rebellion.


In the commentary of the poem, Christopher laments that his father abandoned it, as with its few lines it already has much interest for the study of the development of the legend.[1]:136 The Oath of Fëanor is given here actual words for first time, as it only had been mentioned in the Gilfanon's Tale.[2] The main changes with respect to the Lost Tales are the great importance of the Silmarils, the Valar being numbered as Nine and Fëanor being son of Finn (Finwë). Like the Lay of the Children of Húrin, this poem is written in alliterative verse. Christopher includes a metrical analysis made by his father of the first 20 first verses.[1]:140-141

The Oath[edit]

Be he friend or foe   or foul offspring

of Morgoth Bauglir,   be he mortal dark
that in after days   on earth shall dwell,
shall no law nor love   nor league of Gods,
no might nor mercy,   not moveless fate,
defend him for ever   from the fierce vengeance
of the sons of Fëanor,   whoso seize or steal
of finding keep   the fair enchanted
globes of crystal    whose glory dies not,

the Silmarils.   We have sworn for ever!
—Verses 132-141

See also[edit]