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Old 04-10-2004, 12:07 PM   #82
Itinerant Songster
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Tolkien West Emnet: Ădegard - 2nd day out

The day passed quickly, and Ădegard enjoyed Liornung's songs, for the most part. They made him laugh inside with their lightness.

By day's end the mountain ring surrounding the Wizard's Vale could be seen at the western horizon. It was still named the Wizard's Vale by many, though Saruman was gone and the Ents were the new tenants holding Orthanc under the rule of ╔omer, Lord of the Mark. It was a strange world, with Ents and Elves and 'Obbits, as the saying now went in Edoras, for the Eorlingas loved their songs to greet sound to sound. Which, Ădegard considered, Liornung's did in a different way than he knew.

As they made camp that night, on the plains of the West Emnet, still a stiff ride from the eaves of Fangorn, Ădegard spoke his thought as they sat around their campfire under the starry dome, the southwesterly breeze soughing through the tall grasses of the plain.

"Liornung, your songs are fair and light, yet they sound unlike that which I grew up listening to in Edoras. Your songs have the same sounds within the words at the end of a line instead of the way of the Eorlingas, whose songs make most of tongue against tooth or mouth roof or lip. And yours are fair and speak of family and love and sparkle and wit, as on a summer breeze, while those I grew up with are of stone and sword and come on a cold wind out of the north, as did Eorl long years ago. Our minstrels have made the War of the Ring into such songs. One runs like this, in part:

"Hear of the heroes at Helm's Deep
who refused to fall against the greed
of that twist tongued serpent, Saruman.
Hear the names of the heroes that night,
ThÚoden, mighty thewed Mark lord,
his loyal heir, ╔omer son of ╔omund,
Aragorn son of Arathorn, wielder of Anduril,
Legolas of the Elves, fleetfooted orcslayer,
Gimli son of Glˇin and Gamling the Old,
and Gandalf Greyhame, wielder of Glamdring,
courage bringer, counsellor, friend of the free peoples.

"Helm haunted the Hornburg that night,
and the stout Helmingas withstood the siege.

"And so it goes. I have that much by heart, and more, but I would not bore you with it. Under your hand I'd expect somewhat like so:

"Hear of the heroes of Helm's Deep
when Saruman's orcs did creep
to the Hornburg from the Wizard's Vale
to overrun but - um - they did fail....

"or something like it. I speak overlong, wending my way to my point, but where did you learn your verse skill? Tell us the tale of it, if you will."


"The tale of it?" Liornung blushed slightly but it was clear he was more than eager to tell. "What you have said is true... the Bards of Rohan have rarely put rhyme in their verse and their great songs have been sung without. Yet I learned the art of song not from one of Rohan but from a wandering minstrel of Gondor who always sang in rhyme. Indeed, this fiddle is his that he left me, and 'twas he who first named me Liornung. The name my mother and father gave to me is Sarig, but I do forbid anyone to call me thus." And, a twinkle in his eye, he looked at each member of the company in turn.

"Yes, indeed, it is a name to avoid! But as I was saying before, it was that wandering minstrel who brought me to sing in rhyme. He sang for me a lovely song. He was not as I am. You see, he had a lover in Gondor waiting for him, and I have never fallen in love and don't fully intend to. He was fair eight and thirty years when he first passed through my land and stayed at my father's home, when I was but a lad. He spoke to me a little of her, calling her fairest and dearest, her heart the sweetest and kindest, and though I daresay now all say so much of their lover's, as Amroth would surely say of his, I have rarely seen a man love as that minstrel loved his Gondor maid. He would often describe her to me in a verse, saying:

"Dear are her charms to me,
dearer her laughter free,
dearest her constancy.

"She was of Rohan though he had brought her to Gondor to wait for him at his mother's home. He would have married her long before that time but he could not bring himself to lay aside his roaming just yet. He did tell me once, however, that two years forward he would abandon all roads, build a little home, and take her for his wife. I have not heard of him since, but I pray the two of them are happily wed." He paused a moment before continuing, and his voice was quieter when he spoke again. "Once I heard him singing a song he had written to her, though he did not know I was closeby. It was a charming little song, very simple, but full of such love and devotion. I heard it only once yet it has ever been in my mind. It ran thus:

"Do you see yon bonnie minstrels as they go along
a-trippin' and a-skippin' to the lilt of their song?
And, lassie, they sing a song for thee
so jump up, bonnie girl, and come away with me.

A minstrel's fare is poor if his songs do not please
but if hunger faced us I should love you 'fore life ceased
and with my dying breath I would take you on my knee
and I would tell you truly how much I loved thee.

But if my songs should pleased and bring us some food
still I'd love you as ever a man could
and I'd play you a tune 'neath some shady tree.
So jump up, bonnie girl, and come away with me.

And if there came children a home they should not lack.
I'd set aside my songs and take my fiddle from my back
and I should love them however many there may be.
So jump up, bonnie girl, and come away with me.

And when, my darling girl, we are both frail and old
and your hair turned to white and lost its lovely gold,
though youth had with time decayed still I would love thee.
So jump up, bonnie girl, and come along with me.

Last edited by littlemanpoet; 04-13-2004 at 08:47 PM.
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