Silence then fell upon the hall;
like graven stone there stood they all,
save one who cast her eyes aground,
and one who laughed with bitter sound.
Dairon the piper leant there pale
against a pillar. His fingers frail
there touched a flute that whispered not;
his eyes were dark; his heart was hot.
''Death is the guerdon thou hast earned,
O baseborn mortal, who hast learned
in Morgoth's realm to spy and lurk
like Orcs that do his evil work!''
''Death!'' echoed Dairon fierce and low,
but Lúthien trembling gasped in woe.
''And death,'' said Thingol, ''thou shouldst taste,
had I not sworn an oath in haste
that blade nor chain thy flesh should mar.
Yet captive bound by never a bar,
unchained, unfettered, shalt thou be
in lightless labyrinth endlessly
that coils about my halls profound
by magic bewildered and enwound;
there wandering in hopelessness
thou shalt learn the power of Elfinesse!''
''That may not be!'' Lo! Beren spake,
and through the king's words coldly brake.
''What are thy mazes but a chain
wherein the captive blind is slain?
Twist not thy oaths, O elvish king,
like faithless Morgoth! By this ring -
the token of a lasting bond
that Felagund of Nargothrond
once swore in love to Barahir,
who sheltered him with shield and spear
and saved him from pursuing foe
on Northern battlefields long ago -
death thou canst give unearned to me,
but names I will not take of thee
of baseborn, spy, or Morgoth's thrall!
Are these the ways of Thingol's hall?''
Proud are the words, and all there turned
to see the jewels green that burned
in Beren's ring. These Gnomes had set
as eyes of serpents twined that met
beneath a golden crown of flowers,
that one upholds and one devours:
the badge that Finrod made of yore
and Felagund his son now bore.
His anger was chilled, but little less,
and dark thoughts Thingol did possess,
though Melian the pale leant to his side
and whispered: ''O king, forgo thy pride!
Such is my counsel. Not by thee
shall Beren be slain, for far and free
from these deep halls his fate doth lead,
yet wound with thine. O king, take heed!''
But Thingol looked on Lúthien.
''Fairest of Elves! Unhappy Men,
children of little lords and kings
mortal and frail, these fading things,
shall they then look with love on thee?''
his heart within him thought. ''I see
thy ring,'' he said, ''O mighty man!
But to win the child of Melian
a father's deeds shall not avail,
nor thy proud words at which I quail.
A treasure dear I too desire,
but rocks and steel and Morgoth's fire
from all the powers of Elfinesse
do keep the jewel I would possess.
Yet bonds like these I hear thee say
affright thee not. Now go thy way!
Bring me one shining Silmaril
from Morgoth's crown, then if she will,
may Lúthien set her hand in thine;
then shalt thou have this jewel of mine.''
(The History of Middle-earth, Volume III, The Lays of Beleriand, The Lay of Leithian, Canto IV, Lines 1055-1131).
J.R.R Tolkien wrote the Lay of Leithian between the Summer of 1925 and abandoned it sometime in 1931; as such, much of what appears in the Lay is incongruous with some of the later work. Therefore, I set readers a nice challenge! Can anyone spot a discrepancy between the canto I have just posted and the published Silmarillion? Unfortunately, there is no reward, unless (perhaps) you know me personally...I spotted three...