Then Lúthien stepped lightly forth:
''Far in the mountain-leaguered North,
my father,'' said she, ''lies the land
that groans beneath King Morgoth's hand.
Thence came one hither, bent and worn
in wars and travail, who had sworn
undying hatred of that king;
the last of Bëor's sons, they sing,
and even hither far and deep
within thy woods the echoes-creep
through the wild mountain-passes cold,
the last of Bëor's house to hold
a sword unconquered, neck unbowed,
a heart by evil power uncowed.
No evil needst thou think or fear
of Beren son of Barahir!
If aught thou hast not flesh nor limb,
and I will lead him to thy hall,
a son of kings, no mortal thrall.''
Downward with gentle hand she led
through corridors of carven dread
whose turns were lit by lanterns hung
or flames from torches that were flung
on dragons hewn in the cold stone
with jewelled eyes and teeth of bone.
Then sudden, deep beneath the earth
the silences with silver mirth
were shaken and the rocks were ringing,
the birds of Melian were singing;
and wide the ways of shadow spread
as into archéd halls she led
Beren in wonder. There a light
like day immortal and like night
of stars unclouded, shone and gleamed.
A vault of topless trees it seemed,
whose trunks of carven stone there stood
like towers of an enchanted wood
in magic fast for ever bound,
bearing a roof whose branches wound
in endless tracery of green
lit by some leaf-emprisoned sheen
of moon and sun, and wrought of gems,
and each leaf hung on golden stems.
Lo! there amid immortal flowers
the nightingales in shining bowers
sang o'er the head of Melian,
while water for ever dripped and ran
from fountains in the rocky floor.
There Thingol sat. His crown he wore
of green and silver, and round his chair
a host in gleaming armour fair.
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,
for Melian's gaze had sought his face,
and dazed there drooped he in that place,
and when the king spake deep and slow:
''Who art 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
unasked, in secret? Reason good
'twere best declare now if thou may,
or never again see 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 an 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.''
(The History of Middle-earth, Volume III, The Lays of Beleriand, pp 187-190).