The Road Goes Ever On (book)

From Tolkien Gateway
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
Publication Information
authorJ.R.R. Tolkien, Donald Swann
IllustratorJ.R.R. Tolkien
PublisherGeorge Allen and Unwin (UK)
Houghton Mifflin (US)
Released31 October 1967 (US)
28 March 1968 (UK)
FormatHardcover; paperback

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

The first edition was published in 1967, containing six poems from The Lord of the Rings and one from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Within the book are included Tolkien's own notes and translations on two Elvish text: "Namárië" and "A Elbereth Gilthoniel", thus it is also an important document of the glossary and lore of Elvish.

The second edition was released in 1978, adding the "Bilbo's Last Song", in the foreword Swann recounts his collaborations with J.R.R. Tolkien; and the third edition in 2002, adding the poem "Lúthien Tinúviel" from The Silmarillion.

The book is reprinted, along with the CD, in September 2023.


A decorative tailpiece in 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.[1]


  • Introduction
  • Foreword by Donald Swann
  • Foreword to the Third edition
  • Notes and Translations

A CD is issued with the third edition, containing the song cycle performed by Donald Swann, William Elvin, and Clive McCrombie.

Publication history and gallery

UK editions
1968 first edition
1968 first edition  
1978 second edition
1978 second edition  
2002 third edition
2002 third edition  
US editions
1968 hardcover
1968 hardcover  
1975 paperback
1975 paperback  

External links


  1. Robert Foster, A Guide to Middle-earth
A J.R.R. Tolkien book guide
Books by or mainly by Tolkien
On Arda Authored 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 on Arda Short stories
and others
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)
Fictional 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 · The Old English Exodus · Finn and Hengest ·
The Monsters and the Critics, and Other Essays · Beowulf and the Critics · Tolkien On Fairy-stories ·
Beowulf: A Translation and Commentary · A Secret Vice · The Battle of Maldon
Letters & poems The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien · The Collected Poems of J.R.R. Tolkien
academic works
A Middle English Vocabulary · Sir Gawain and the Green Knight · Ancrene Wisse
Books by other authors
Books on Arda The Complete Guide to Middle-earth · The Lord of the Rings: A Reader's Companion ·
The Maps of Middle-earth
Tolkien biographies J.R.R. Tolkien: A Biography · The Inklings · Tolkien and the Great War
Scholarly books The Road to Middle-earth · The Keys of Middle-earth · The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide ·
The Ring of Words · A Companion to J.R.R. Tolkien · Tolkien's Lost Chaucer · Tolkien's Library · Tolkien on Chaucer, 1913-1959
Scholarly journals Tolkien Studies · (The Chronology)
Other works by Tolkien
Linguistic journals Vinyar Tengwar various issues · Parma Eldalamberon issue 11-22
Collections of artwork
and manuscripts
Pictures by J.R.R. Tolkien · J.R.R. 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 is only a selection, for a fuller bibliography of Tolkien see here or here. See also a timeline and an index.