The Sorrowful City

From Tolkien Gateway

The Sorrowful City is a poem written by J.R.R. Tolkien in March of 1916. It was originally called The Wanderer's Allegiance. The first section of the poem is also included in The Song of Eriol.

The poem was published within The Book of Lost Tales Part Two, although there is no evident association of any kind with Eriol or the Lost Tales.[1]


In unknown days my fathers' sires
came, and from son to son took root
among the orchards and the river-meads
and the long grasses of the fragant plain:
many a summer saw they kindle yellow fires
of iris in the bowing reeds,
and many a sea of blossom turn to golden fruit
in walléd gardens of the great champain.

There daffodils among the ordered trees
did nod in spring, and men laughed deep and long
singing as they laboured happy days
and lighting even with a drinking-song.
There sleep came easy for the drone of bees
thronging about cottage gardens heaped with flowers;
in love of sunlit goodliness of days
there richly flowed their lives in settled hours -
but that was long ago,
and now no more they sing, nor reap, nor sow
and I perforce in many a town about this isle
unsettled wanderer have dwelt awhile.

See also