"A Tolkien Miscellany"

A Tolkien Miscellany by J.R.R. Tolkien

Is there anything more enjoyable than reading Tolkien and wandering around Middle Earth for a while? If there is I haven't found it. The Lord of the Rings books, and then The Hobbit, are some of the best reading experiences I've ever had. I didn't know what to expect with "A Tolkien Miscellany" and I can't say I loved it all, but overall it was pretty good.

Included in this book are: "Smith of Wootton Major", "Farmer Giles of Ham", "Tree and Leaf", "The Adventures of Tom Bombadil" and Tolkien's translations of "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight", "Pearl" and "Sir Orfeo". The first three are stories, but the chapters of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil are written in rhyming verse.

My favourite of the rhymes is "The Last Ship" which is about the last Elven ship leaving the Grey Havens of Middle Earth for Elvenhome. The ship has room for one more and Firiel, an earth-maiden, is invited to join them and must decide whether to go or to stay where she was born.

I found "The Pearl" more difficult to read than the rest of it. I kept tripping over the order of the words. It begins:

"Pearl of delight that a prince doth please
To grace in gold enclosed so clear,
I vow that from over orient seas
Never proved I any in price her peer." 

Then there's:

"Courtesy, I said, I do believe
And charity great dwells you among,
But may my words no wise you grieve."

A bit like talking to Yoda, isn't it? It's not bad for a page or two but this was 101 twelve-line verses. It took some patience. Yoda aside, I'm glad I found this collection. There's some wonderful reading in it for Tolkien fans and I am definitely one of those.  


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