The Second Version Of The Children Of Húrin : I. The Children Of Húrin

by J. R. R. Tolkien

J. R. R. Tolkien

Ye Gods who girtyour guarded realms
with moveless pinnacles, mountains pathless,
o'er shrouded shoressheer uprising
of the Bay of Faëryon the borders of the World!
Ye Men unmindfulof the mirth of yore,
wars and weepingin the worlds of old,
of Morgoth's mightremembering nought!
Lo! Hear what Elveswith ancient harps,
lingering forlornin lands untrodden,
fading faintlydown forest pathways,
in shadowy isles on the Shadowy Seas,
sing still in sorrow of the son of Húrin,
how his webs of doomwere woven dark
with Niniel's sorrow:names most mournful.
A! Húrin Thalionin the hosts of battle
was whelmed in war,when the white banners
of the ruined king were rent with spears,
in blood beaten;when the blazing helm
of Finweg fellin flame of swords,
and his gleaming armies'gold and silver
shields were shaken,shining emblems
in darkling tideof dire hatred,
the cruel Glamroth'scountless legions,
were lost and foundered --their light was quenched!
That field yet nowthe folk name it
Nirnaith Ornoth,Unnumbered Tears:
the seven chieftansof the sons of Men
fled there and fought not,the folk of the Elves
betrayed with treason.Their troth alone
unmoved unrememberedin the mouths of Hell
Thalion Erithámrodand his thanes renowned.
Torn and trampledthe triple standard
of the house of Hithlumwas heaped with slain.
In host upon host from the hills swarming
with hideous arms the hungry Orcs
enmeshed his might,and marred with wounds
pulled down the proudPrince of Mithrim.
At Bauglir's biddingthey bound him living;
to the halls of Hellneath the hills builded,
to the Mountains of Iron,mournful, gloomy,
they led the lordof the Lands of Mist,
Húrin Thalion,to the throne of hate
in halls upheldwith huge pillars
of black basalt.There bats wandered,
worms and serpentsenwound the columns;
there Bauglir's breastwas burned within
with blazing rage,baulked of purpose:
from his trap had brokenTurgon the mighty,
Fingolfin's son; Fëanor's children,
the makers of the magic and immortal gems.
For Húrin standingstorm unheeding
unbent in battle,with bitter laughter
his axe wielded --as eagle's wings
the sound of its sweep, swinging deadly;
as livid lightning it leaped and fell,
as toppling trunksof trees riven
his foes had fallen.Thus fought he on,
where blades were bluntedand in blood foundered
the Men of Mithrim;thus a moment stemmed
with sad remnantthe raging surge
of ruthless Orcs,and the rear guarded,
that Turgon the terrible towering in anger
a pathway clovewith pale falchion
from swirling slaughter.Yea! his swath was plain
through the hosts of Hell,as hay that is laid
on the lea in lines, where long and keen
goes sweeping scythe.Thus seven kindreds,
a countless company,that king guided
through darkened dalesand drear mountains
out of the ken of his foes -he comes no more
in the tale of Túrin.Triumph of Morgoth
thus to doubt was turned,dreams of vengeance,
tus his mind was movedwith malice fathomless,
thoughts of darkness,when the Thalion stood
bound unbending,in his black dungeon.
Said the dread Lord of Hell:'Dauntless Húrin,
Stout, steel-handed,stands before me
Yet quick a captive,as a coward might be!
Then he knows my name,or needs be told
What hope he hasin the halls of iron?
The bale most bitter,Balrogs' torment!'
Then Húrin answered,Hithlum's chieftain --
his shining eyeswith sheen of fire
in wrath were reddened:'O ruinous one,
by fear unfetteredI have fought thee long,
nor dread thee now, not thy demon slaves,
fiends and phantoms,thou foe of Gods!'
His dark tresses,drenched and tangled,
that fell o'er his facehe flung backward,
in the eye he lookedof the evil Lord -
since that day of dreadto dare his glance
has no mortal Manhad might of soul.
There the mind of Húrinin a mist of dark
neath gaze unfathomed groped and foundered,
yet his heart yielded not nor his haughty pride.
But LungorthinLord of Balrogs
on the mouth smote him,and Morgoth smiled:
'Nay, fear when thou feelest,and when the flames lick thee
and the whistling whipsthy white body
and wilting fleshweal and torture!'
Then hung they helplessHurin dauntless
in chains by fellenchantments forged
that with fiery anguishhis flesh devoured,
yet loosed not lipslocked in silence
to pray for pity.Thus prisoned saw he
on the sable wallsthe sultry glare
of far-off firesfiercely burning
down deep corridors and dark archways
in the blind abyssesof those bottomless halls;
the throb and thunderof the thudding forges'
brazen clangour;belched and spouted
flaming furnaces;their faces sad
through the glooms glidedas the gloating Orcs
their captives herdedunder cruel lashes.
Many a hopeless glanceon Húrin fell,
for his fearless tormentmany tears were spilled.
Lo! Morgoth remembered the mighty doom,
the weird of old,that the Elves in woe,
in ruin and wrackby the reckless hearts
of mortal Menshould be enmeshed at last;
that treason aloneof trusted friend
should master the magicwhose mazes wrapped
the children of Côr,cheating his purpose,
from defeat fendingFingolfin's son,
Turgon the terrible,and the troth brethren
The sons of Fëanor,and secret, far,
Homes hid darklyin the hoar forest
Where Thingol was thronedin the Thousand Caves.
Then the Lord of Helllying-hearted
to where Hurin hunghastened swiftly,
and the Balrogs about himbrazen-handed
with flails of flameand forged iron
there laughed as they lookedon his lonely woe;
but Bauglir said:'O bravest of Men,
'tis fate unfittingfor thus fellhanded
warrier warfainthat to worthless friends
his sword he should sell,who seek no more
to free him from fettersor his fall avenge.
While shrinking in the shadowsthey shake fearful
in the hungry hills hiding outcast
their league belying,lurking faithless,
he by evil lotin everlasting
dungeons droopethdoomed to torment
and anguish endless.That thy arms unchained
I had fainer farshould a falchion keen
or axe with edgeeager flaming
wield in warfarewhere the wind bloweth
the banners of battle -- such a brand as might
in my sounding smithieson the smitten anvil
of glowing steelto glad thy soul
be forged and fashioned,yea, and fair harness
and mail unmatched --than that marred with flails
my mercy waivingthou shouldst moan enchained
neath the brazen Balrogs'burning scourges:
who art worthy to winreward and honour
as a captain of arms when cloven is mail
and shields are shorn,when they shake the hosts
of their foes like firein fell onset.
Lo! receive my service;forswear hatred,
ancient enmitythus ill-counselled --
I am a mild master who remembers well
his servants' deeds. A sword of terror
thy hand should hold,and a high lordship
as Bauglir's champion, chief of Balrogs,
to lead o'er the landsmy loud armies,
whose royal arrayI already furnish;
on Turgon the troll(who turned to flight
and left thee alone,now leaguered fast
in waterless wastesand weary mountains)
my wrath to wreak,and on redhanded
robber-Gnomes, rebels,and roaming Elves,
that forlorn witnessthe Lord of the World
defy in their folly --they shall feel my might.
I will bid men unbind thee,and thy body comfort!
Go follow their footstepswith fire and steel,
with thy sword go searchtheir secret dwellings;
when in triumph victoriousthou returnest hither,
I have hoards unthought ofbut Hurin Thalion
suffered no longer silent wordless;
through clenched teeth in clinging pain,
'O accursed king',cried unwavering,
'thy hopes build not so high Bauglir;
no tool am Ifor thy treasons vile,
who tryst not trothever true holdest --
seek traitors elsewhere.'
Then returned answer
Morgoth amazedhis mood hiding:
'Nay, madness holds thee;thy mind wanders;
my measureless hoardsare mountains high
in places secret piled uncounted
agelong unopened;Elfin silver
and gold in the gloomthere glister pale;
the gems and jewelsonce jealous warded
in the mansions of the Gods,who mourn them yet,
are mine, and a meedI will mete thee thence
of wealth to glutthe Worm of Greed.'
Then Hurin, hanging,in hate answered:
'Canst not learn of thy lorewhen thou look'st on a foe,
O Bauglir unblest?Bray no longer
of the things thou hast thievedfrom the Three Kindreds!
In hate I hold thee.Thou art humbled indeed
and thy might is minished if thy murderous hope
and cruel counsels on a captive sad
must wait, on a weak and weary man.'
To the hosts of Hell his head then he turned:
'Let thy foul bannersgo forth to battle,
ye Balrogs and Orcs;let your black legions
go seek the sweepingsword of Turgon.
Through the dismal dalesyou shall be driven wailing
like startled starlingsfrom the stooks of wheat.
Minions miserableof master base,
your doom dread ye,dire disaster!
The tide shall turn;your triumph brief
and victory shall vanish. I view afar
the wrath of the Godsroused in anger.'
Then tumult awoke, a tempest wild
in rage roaringthat rocked the walls;
consuming madnessseized on Morgoth,
yet with lowered voiceand leering mouth
thus Thalion Erithámrodhe threatened darkly:
'Thou hast said it! Seehow my swift purpose
shall march to its markunmarred of thee,
nor thy aid be asked,overweening
mortal mightless.I command thee gaze
on my deeds of powerdreadly proven.
helpless to hinderor thy hand to raise,
and thy lidless eyeslit with anguish
shall not shut for ever,shorn of slumber
like the Gods shall gazethere grim, tearless,
on the might of Morgothand the meed he deals
to fools who refusefealty gracious.'
To Thangorodrimwas the Thalion borne,
that mountain that meetsthe misty skies
on high over the hillsthat Hithlum sees
blackly broodingon the borders of the North.
There stretched on the stoneof steepest peak
in bonds unbreakablethey bound him living;
there the lord of woein laughter stood,
there cursed him for everand his kindred all
that should walk and wanderin woe's shadow
to a doom of death and dreadful end.
There the mighty manunmoved sat,
but unveiled was his vision that he viewed afar
with eyes enchantedall earthly things,
and the weird of woewoven darkly
that fell on his folk --a fiend's torment.

Last updated January 14, 2019