The Geste part 4
A very different kind of Book Spoiler....
From the Geste of Beren and Luthien:
Imagine the scene... a ragged, forlorn, weary Beren chances upon a maid, dancing on a hillock... and is lost.
Of finding, (lines 687 to 700):
"The wind dies; the starry choirs
leap in the silent sky to fires,
whose light comes bitter-cold and sheer
through domes of frozen crystal clear.
A sparkle through the darkling trees,
a piercing glint of light he sees,
and there she dances all alone
upon a treeless knoll of stone!
Her mantle blue with jewels white
caught all the rays of frosted light,
She shone with cold and wintry flame,
as dancing down the hill she came,
and passed his watchful silent gaze,
a glimmer as of stars ablaze."
... and then in lines 1210 to 1223 after Beren is banished from Doriath;
"The murmurs soft awake once more
about the woods, the water roar
past the great gates of Thingol's halls;
but no dancing step of Lúthien falls
on turf or leaf. For she forlorn,
where stumbled once, where bruised and torn,
with longing on him like a dream
had Beren sat by the shrouded stream
Esgalduin the dark and strong,
she sat and mourned in a low song:
'Endless roll the waters past!
To this my love hath come at last,
enchanted waters pitiless,
a heartache and a loneliness.'"
What are your thoughts on the passages? Any comments are welcome.
A couple of thoughts about Beren falling in love with Luthien. (these mostly come from a friend of mine who's walking me through his favourite passages bit by bit - it's really thanks to him that you get these posts at all, I haven't got a copy of the Lays of Beleriand yet.. *hangs head in shame*)
on falling in love:
And now his heart was healed and slain
with a new life and with new pain.
I like that interpretation of Love.. exquisite pain, that brings life and slays
at the same time.
He gazed, and as he gazed her hair
within its cloudy web did snare
the silver moonbeams sifting white
between the leaves, and glinting bright
the tremulous starlight of the skies
was caught and mirrored in her eyes. 557-562
It's good to remember, at this point, that Tolkien chose to have the names Beren and Luthien engraved upon his tombstone, beneath his own name and the name of his wife.
I am reminded of a comment made by Thomas Hardy of Tess Durbyfield...
"She influenced me..."
And yet, she was his own creation!
It testifies to the amazing power that words have, and how majorly a created world can affect its creator.
JRRT said (like many authors) that his characters
just took over. Remember his comment about Strider?
"But I met a lot of things on the way that astonished me. Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree. Strider sitting in the corner at the inn was a shock, and I had no more idea who he was than had Frodo. The Mines of Moria had been a mere name; and of Lothlórien no word had reached my mortal ears till I came there. Far away I knew there were the Horse-lords on the confines of an ancient Kingdom of Men, but Fangorn Forest was an unforeseen adventure." ~ Letters 163 #216-7
it's almost as if he was the one on the adventure...