World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

List of Tolkien's alliterative verse

Article Id: WHEBN0045115533
Reproduction Date:

Title: List of Tolkien's alliterative verse  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Tolkien lists, J. R. R. Tolkien, Ancrene Wisse and Hali Meiðhad, Roverandom, Beowulf and the Critics
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

List of Tolkien's alliterative verse

J. R. R. Tolkien (1892–1973), a scholar of Old English, Middle English and Old Norse, used alliterative verse extensively in both translations and his own poetry. Most of his alliterative verse is in modern English, in a variety of styles, but he also composed Old English alliterative verses.


  • Middle-earth mythos 1
  • Related to other legends and histories 2
  • In Gothic 3
  • In Old English 4
  • Translations 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • Sources 8

Middle-earth mythos

  • The Lay of the Children of Húrin (c. 1918-1925), an unfinished poetic version of the story of Túrin, going as far as Túrin's sojourn in Nargothrond. It exists in two versions, both incomplete; the first being 2276 lines long, the second containing only 745 alliterating lines, corresponding to the first 435 lines of the first version. Short parts of the Lay were remodelled into self-standing alliterative poems, Winter Comes to Nargothrond (27 lines) and an untitled poem on the waters of Sirion (26 lines). All are published in The Lays of Beleriand (1985).[1]
  • The Flight of the Noldoli (146 lines), an unfinished poem (c. 1925?) describing Fëanor's speech urging the Noldor to return to Middle-earth, and another unfinished poem (37 lines) describing the aftermath of the Fall of Gondolin. Both are published in The Lays of Beleriand.[1]
  • The Nameless Land (60 lines), a poem in the meter of Pearl, first published 1927; subsequent revisions (dropping one 12-line stanza) were given the title The Song of Ælfwine on Seeing the Uprising of Earendil. Three versions are published in The Lost Road and Other Writings (1987).[2]
  • Numerous short verses in The Lord of the Rings (1954-1955): At Théoden's Death (3 lines), Burial Song of Théoden (5 lines), Call-to-Arms of the Rohirrim (3 lines), Éomer's Song (4 lines), Lament for Théoden (21 lines), The Long List of the Ents (17 lines), Malbeth the Seer's Words (12 lines), Song of the Mounds of Mundburg (27 lines), Théoden's Battle Cry (5 lines). Most of these are attributed to the Rohirrim, a nation in The Lord of the Rings whose language and nomenclature are portrayed as Old English, though all of these verses are in Modern English.[3]
  • A verse version of the oath of Fëanor and his sons (16 lines), incorporated into the text of the Annals of Aman for the year 1495, published in [4]
  • A poem about the Istari (16 lines) published in Unfinished Tales (1980).[5]

Related to other legends and histories

  • Völsungakviða en nýja (1360 lines) and Guðrúnarkviða en nýja (668 lines). These two Modern English narrative poems of the 1930s, in the Old Norse fornyrðislag stanza, are based largely on the Völsungasaga and Atlakviða, retelling the Norse legend of Sigurd and the fall of the Niflungs. These poems are published together under the title The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun (2009), edited by Christopher Tolkien.[1]
  • King Sheave, a poem describing the arrival of Sheave (Sceaf), a postulated Germanic culture hero, in 154 lines. It was originally an incomplete portion of a longer projected poem written in the late 1930s, but was treated as a complete poem for its insertion into Tolkien's unfinished novel The Notion Club Papers, published in Sauron Defeated (1992).[7] Nearly identical versions appear in The Lost Road and Other Writings and in Sauron Defeated. It was loosely integrated into Tolkien's writings on Númenor, but contains no material specific to Tolkien's mythos.
  • The Fall of Arthur, an unfinished poem on the betrayal of Mordred and Arthur's last battles, 954 lines, published 2013.
  • The Homecoming of Beorhtnoth Beorhthelm's Son, 354 lines, an alliterative verse drama describing the aftermath of the Battle of Maldon, first published in 1953.

In Gothic

In Old English

  • Enigmata Saxonica Nuper Inventa Duo ("Two Recently Discovered Saxon Riddles"), two riddles written in Old English, describing an egg and a candle respectively. The first (of 10 lines) is written in normal alliterative metre, while the second (6 lines) includes internal rhyme in each line. First published in a poetry collection called A Northern Venture (1923).
  • An unfinished Old English poem based on the Atlakviða (68 lines in two separate sections), published in The Legend of Sigurd and Gudrun.
  • Four lines in Old English describing the repulse of the dragon Glómund (later renamed Glaurung) by the Elf-king Fingon, appearing in The Shaping of Middle-earth (1986).[10]
  • Five lines in Old English attributed to the mariner Ælfwine, the fictional translator of various Elvish works. These appear in the story of The Lost Road, attached to a poem called The Song of Ælfwine, and as part of a preamble to the text called Quenta Silmarillion, all published in The Lost Road and Other Writings; and again in The Notion Club Papers.[7]
  • Seven lines in Old English that are part of an Anglo-Saxon episode written for the story of The Lost Road; these are an alteration and expansion of ll. 36-38 and 44-46 of The Seafarer. A revision of the same, together with a Modern English translation in 7 verse lines, appears in The Notion Club Papers.
  • Six Old English lines translating the first four lines of King Sheave, appearing in The Notion Club Papers.[7]
  • Four lines of Old English heroic verse, celebrating King Edward the Elder's victory over a Viking army at Archenfield; these are a parody of lines 1-4 of The Battle of Brunanburh. They appear in The Notion Club Papers.[7]


  • A verse translation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight in 2532 lines, of which 2027 are alliterative.[11]
  • A verse translation of Pearl in 1212 lines of rhymed verse. Both were published posthumously in 1975.
  • A verse translation of some nine lines from the Old English Battle of Brunanburh, forming part of an essay on "Anglo-Saxon verse" and published together with The Fall of Arthur.
  • Remaining unpublished is an incomplete verse translation of Beowulf of about 600 lines.


  1. ^ In a 1967 letter to Elder Edda, written in the old eight-line fornyrðislag stanza."[6]


  1. ^ a b Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lays of Beleriand, George Allen & Unwin, 1985.
  2. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lost Road and Other Writings, George Allen & Unwin, 1987.
  3. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R. The Lord of the Rings, George Allen & Unwin, 1954–1955.
  4. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R. Tolkien, J.R.R. Unfinished Tales, George Allen & Unwin, 1980. ^
  5. ^ Carpenter, Humphrey (editor). The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien, George Allen and Unwin, 1981. Letter 295, 29 March 1967.
  6. ^ a b c d Tolkien, J.R.R. The Notion Club Papers, in Sauron Defeated, George Allen & Unwin, 1992.
  7. ^ J.R.R. Tolkien. Songs for the Philologists. Privately printed in the Department of English, University College, London, 1936.
  8. ^ Shippey, 1992. pp 303–304
  9. ^ Tolkien, J.R.R. The Shaping of Middle-earth, George Allen & Unwin, 1986.
  10. ^ Tolkien, J. R. R.; Gordon, E. V. (1925). "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Retrieved 20 January 2015. 


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.