The Geste of Beren and Lúthien

For our second excerpt from ‘The Geste’ we find Beren and Lúthien in Doriath before the King Thingol and his consort Melian. (Lines 1,012 to 1,055)

Then Beren looked upon the king
and stood amazed; and swift a ring
of elvish weapons hemmed him round.
Then Beren looked upon the ground,
or Melian's gaze had sought his face,
and dazed there drooped he in the place,
and when the king spake deep and slow;
'Who are thou stumblest hither? Know
that none unbidden seek this throne
and ever leave these halls of stone!'
no word he answered, filled with dread.
But Lúthien answered in his stead;
'Behold, my father, one who came
pursued by hatred like a flame!
Lo! Beren son of Barahir!
What need hath he thy wrath to fear,
foe of our foes, without a friend,
whose knees to Morgoth do not bend?'
'Let Beren answer!' Thingol said.
'What wouldst thou here? What hither led
thy wandering feet, O mortal wild?
How hast thou Lúthien beguiled
or darest thus to walk this wood
unmasked, in secret? Reason good
'twere best declare now if thou may,
or never again see the light of day!

Then Beren looked in Lúthien's eyes
and saw a light of starry skies,
and thence was slowly drawn his gaze
to Melian's face. As from a maze
of wonder dumb he woke; his heart
the bonds of awe there burst apart
and filled with the fearless pride of old;
in his glance now gleamed and anger cold.
'My feet hath fate, O king,' he said,
'here over the mountains bleeding led,
and what I sought not I have found,
and love it is hath here me bound.
Thy dearest treasure I desire;
nor rocks nor steel nor Morgoth's fire
nor all the power of Elfinesse
shall keep that gem I would possess.
For fairer than are born to Men
A daughter hast thou, Lúthien.'

Elu, more commonly known as Thingol, was the King of Doriath and High King of the Sindar. Born Elwë during the first years of the Eldar, he was the older brother of Olwë and Elmo. He was also a good friend of Finwë, High King of the Noldor. Thingol would become a central figure of The Silmarillion, instigating the Quest for the Silmaril, the greatest victory of the First Age, but ultimately the cause of his own doom.

No comments: