The Geste of Beren and Lúthien

Of Lúthien's escape from Doriath, where Thingol had imprisoned her for her own safety, on a rope made from her own hair. (Lines 1,502 to 1,583)

Then did she lave her head and sing
a theme of sleep and slumbering,
profound and fathomless and dark
as Lúthien's shadowy hair was dark--
each thread was more slender and more fine
than threads of twilight that entwine
in filmy web the fading grass
and closing flowers as day doth pass.
Now long and longer grew her hair,
and fell to her feet, and wandered there
like pools of shadow on the ground.
Then Lúthien in a slumber drowned
was laid upon her bed and slept,
till morning through the windows crept
thinly and faint. And then she woke,
and the room was filled as with a smoke
and with an evening mist, and deep
she lay thereunder drowsed in sleep.
Behold! her hair from windows blew
in morning airs, and darkly grew
waving about the pillars grey
of Hirilorn at break of day.
then groping she found her little shears,
and cut the hair about her ears,
and close she cropped it to her head,
enchanted tresses, thread by thread.
Thereafter grew they slow once more,
yet darker than their wont before.

And now was her labour but begun:
long was she spinning, long she spun;
and though with elvish skill she wrought,
long was her weaving. If men sought
to call her, crying from below,
'Nothing I need,' she answered, 'go!
I would keep my bed, and only sleep
I now desire, who waking weep.'
Then Dairon feared, and in amaze
he called from under; but three days
she answered not. Of cloudy hair
she wove a web like misty air
of moonless night, and thereof made
a robe as fluttering-dark as shade
beneath great trees, a magic dress
that all was drenched with drowsiness,
enchanted with a mightier spell
than Melian's raiment in that dell
wherein of yore did Thingol roam
beneath the dark and starry dome
that hung above the dawning world.
And now this robe she round her furled,
and veiled her garments shimmering white;
her mantle blue with jewels bright
like crystal stars, the lilies gold,
were wrapped and hid; and down there rolled
dim dreams and faint oblivious sleep
falling about her, to softly creep
through all the air. Then swift she takes
the threads unused; of these she makes
a slender rope of twisted strands
yet long and stout, and with her hands
she makes it fast unto the shaft
of Hirilorn. Now, all her craft
and labour ended, looks she forth
from her little window facing North.
Already the sunlight in the trees
is drooping red, and dusk she sees
come softly along the ground below,
and now she murmurs soft and slow.
Now chanting clearer down she cast
her long hair, till it reached at last
from her window to the darkling ground.
Men far beneath her heard the sound;
but the slumbrous strand now swung and swayed
above her guards. their talking stayed,
they listened to her voice and fell
suddenly beneath a binding spell.
Now clad as in a cloud she hung;
now down her ropéd hair she swung
as light as squirrel, and away,
away, she danced, and who could say
what paths she took, whose elvish feet
no impress made a-dancing fleet?


Bo said...

This came in handy when doing an analytical task for my english course. Props!

Roger R. said...

Hi Bo... glad to help... BUT, you can get the whole thing (and well worth reading) as it was published some years agao in "The Lays of Beleriand" obtainable everywhere!