The Geste of Beren and Lúthien

[Lines 2,064 – 2,088]

Men called him Thû, and as a god
in after days beneath his rod
bewildered bowed to him, and made
his ghastly temples in the shade.
Not yet by Men enthralled adored,
now was he Morgoth's mightiest lord,
Master of Wolves, whose shivering howl
for ever echoed in the hills, and foul
enchantments and dark sigaldry
did weave and wield. In glamoury*
that necromancer held his hosts
of phantoms and of wandering ghosts,
of misbegotten or spell-wronged
monsters that about him thronged,
working his bidding dark and vile:
the werewolves of the Wizard's Isle.
From Thû their coming was not hid;
and though beneath the eaves they slid
of the forest's gloomy-hanging boughs,
he saw them afar, and wolves did rouse:
'Go! fetch me those sneaking Orcs,' he said,
'that fare thus strangely, as if in dread,
and do not come, as all Orcs use
and are commanded, to bring me news
of all their deeds, to me, to Thû.'

[For those who are unaware, Thû = Sauron]

J.R.R. Tolkien

Terror and War

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has a passage which may remind us all of the way recent world events have affected the lives of everyone in the world over the past 8 years:

What awaited them on this island was going to concern Eustace more than anyone else, but it cannot be told in his words because after September 11 he forgot about keeping his diary for a long time.
Voyage of the Dawn Treader ~ Chapter 5

Perhaps an opportune time to read again a passage from a talk which C.S. Lewis gave in Oxford during the 2nd World War. Still applicable to the wars in which we are engaged in the 21st Century:

The war creates no absolutely new situation: it simply aggravates the permanent human situation so that we can no longer ignore it. Human life has always been lived on the edge of a precipice. Human culture has always had to exist under the shadow of something infinitely more important than itself. If men had postponed the search for knowledge and beauty until they were secure, the search would have never begun... we are mistaken when we compare war to 'normal life.' Life has never been normal. Even those periods we think most tranquil, like the nineteenth century, turn out on closer inspection, to be full of crises, alarms, difficulties, emergencies.
Learning in War-Time ~ CS Lewis

Over this grave a star

Under the Mercy:
On the anniversary of Charles' death in 1998, with a friend I sought out his grave in the unspoilt, beautiful and peaceful graveyard of St. Cross Church, in Oxford. We attached the following of Charles' poems to his grave (changing 'house' in the first line of the original for 'grave') and sat a while in the Spring sunshine thinking and speaking together of him and his work.

Over this house* a star
Shines in the heavens high,
Beauty remote and afar,
Beauty that shall not die;

Beauty desired and dreamed,
Followed in storm and sun,
Beauty the gods have schemed
And mortals at last have won.

Beauty arose of old
And dreamed of a perfect thing,
Where none shall be angry or cold
Or armed with an evil sting;

Where the world shall be made anew,
For the gods shall breathe its air,
And Phoebus Apollo there-through
Shall move on a golden stair.

The star that all lives shall seek,
That makers of books desire;
All that in anywise speak
Look to this silver fire:

O'er the toil that is giv'n to do,
O'er the search and the grinding pain
Seen by the holy few,
Perfection glimmers again.

O dreamed in an eager youth,
O known between friend and friend,
Seen by the seekers of truth,
Lo, peace and the perfect end!
(Charles Williams)

It might seem foolish, but that morning lives in my memory.


Master, they say that when I seem
To be in speech with you,
Since you make no replies, it's all a dream
—One talker aping two.

They are half right, but not as they
Imagine; rather, I
Seek in myself the things I meant to say,
And lo! the wells are dry.

Then, seeing me empty, you forsake
The Listener's role, and through
My dead lips breathe and into utterance wake
The thoughts I never knew.

And thus you neither need reply
Nor can; thus, while we seem
Two talking, thou art One forever, and I
No dreamer, but thy dream.

C.S. Lewis - Poems (Bles 1964)

A.N. Wilson

In case you missed the news: A. N. Wilson has come back to faith in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. That's right. The same A. N. Wilson who wrote a biography of C. S. Lewis (much deplored for its factual errors and Freudian twist on Lewis's life) is now a Christian, for the second time.

You can read the full story, in his own words, here: or here

I think Wilson's articles show that no one is beyond the grace of God, the God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, the God who never stops reaching out, in love, in order to bring us back to himself.

Source: Will Vaus Blog –

Janie King Moore

In 1951 Janie King Moore (Mrs. Moore or 'Minto') died at the age of 78. Minto was the mother of C.S. Lewis's friend from the 1st World War, Paddy Moore. She and her daughter Maureen came under Lewis's care after Paddy's death in that conflict.
Warnie wrote: So ends the mysterious self imposed slavery in which J has lived for at least thirty years. How it began, I suppose I shall never know but the dramatic suddenness of the "when" I shall never forget. When I sailed for West Africa in 1921, we were on the terms on which we had always been: during my absence we exchanged letters in which he appeared as eager as I was for a long holiday together, when, for the first time, I was to have a long leave and plenty of money: and when I came home, I found the situation established which ended on Friday...
It is quite idle, but none the less fascinating to muse of what his life might have been if he had never had the crushing misfortune to meet her: when one thinks of what he has accomplished even under that immense handicap. It would be Macaulaysque to say that he took a First in the intervals of washing her dishes, hunting for her spectacles, taking the dog for a run, and performing the unending futile drudgery of a house which was an excruciating mixture of those of Mrs. Price and Mrs. Jellaby*; but it is true to say that he did all these things in the intervals of working for a First. Did them too with unfailing good temper (towards her) at any rate...Most infuriating to the onlooker was the fact that Minto never gave the faintest hint of gratitude: indeed she regarded herself as J's benefactor: presumably on the grounds that she had rescued him from the twin evils of bachelordom and matrimony at one fell swoop! Another handicap of this unnatural life was to keep J miserably poor at a time of life when his creative faculties should have been at full blast, which they couldn't be under the strain of money worry; for his allowance was quite insufficient to keep Minto and Maureen as well as himself in any sort of comfort...
I wonder how much of his time she did waste? It was some years before her breakdown that I calculated that merely in taking her dogs for unneeded "little walks", she had had five months of my life. I don't think J ever felt as much as I did, the weariness of the house's unrestfulness so long as she managed it; even after ten or more years of it.
Warren H. Lewis, Brothers and Friends: The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis, (1982)
*characters from Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby.