Posted 2003-02-11 11:04 AM (#2078) Subject: The Forgotten Song
Location: Prairie Village, Kansas
I thought you might enjoy the juxtaposition of these two passages. May your day be filled with joy and, if it is not, consider listening in stillness for the Song within your own Heart.
Listen, - perhaps you catch a hint of an ancient state not quite forgotten; dim, perhaps, and yet not altogether unfamiliar, like a song whose name is long forgotten, and the circumstances in which you heard completely unrememberedNot the whole song has stayed with you, but just a little wisp of melody, attached not to a person or a place or anything particular. But you remember, from just this little part, how lovely was the song, how wonderful the setting where you heard it, and how you loved those who were there and listened with you.
The notes are nothingYet you have kept them with you, not for themselves, but as a soft reminder of what would make you weep if you remembered how dear it was to you You could remember, yet you are afraid, believing you would lose the world you learned since then. And yet you know that nothing in the world you learned is half so dear as this. Listen, and see if you remember an ancient song you knew so long ago and heldmore dear than any melody you taught yourself to cherish since.
From J.R.R. Tolkien’s Book of Lost Tales (I wished to have the passage from Tolkien’s later, posthumous, work, The Silmarilion, where it appears in its "final" version, but that volume was not to hand)
The Music of the Ainur (Ainur--Angelic Powers; Iluvatar--the Creator)
Hear now things that have not been heard among Men, and the Elves speak seldom of them; yet did Manwe Sulimo, Lord of Elves and Men, whisper them to the fathers of my father in the deeps of time. Behold, Iluvatar dwelt alone. Before all things he sang into being the Ainur first, and greatest is their power and glory of all his creatures within the world and without. Thereafter he fashioned them dwellings in the void, and dwelt among them, teaching them all manner of things, and the greatest of these was music.
Now he would speak propounding to them themes of song and joyous hymn, revealing many of the great and wonderful things that he devised ever in his mind and heart, and now they would make music unto him, and the voices of their instruments rise in splendour about his throne.
Upon a time Iluvatar propounded a mights design of his heart to the Ainur, unfolding a history whose vastness and majesty had never been equalled by aught that he had related before, and the glory of its beginning and the splendour of its end amazed the Ainur, so that they bowed before Iluvatar and were speechless.
Then said Iluvatar……It is my desire now that ye make a great and glorious music and a singing of this theme; and (seeing that I have taught you much and set brightly the Secret Fire within you) that ye exercise your minds and powers in adorning the theme to your own thoughts and devising. But I will sit and hearken and be glad that through you I have made much beauty to come to Song.
Then the harpists, and the lutanists, the flautists and pipers, the organs and the countless choirs of the Ainur began to fashion the theme of Iluvatar into great music; and a sound arose of mighty melodies changing and interchanging, mingling and dissolving amid the thunder of harmonies greater than the roar of the great seas, till the places of the dwelling of Iluvatar and the regions of the Ainur were filled to overflowing with music, and the echo of music, and the echo of the echoes of music which flowed even into the dark and empty spaces far off. Never was there before, nor has there been since, such a music of immeasurable vastness of splendor; though it is said that a mightier far shall be woven before the seat of Iluvatar by the choirs of both Ainur and the sons of Men after the Great End. Then shall Iluvatar’s mightiest themes be played aright; for then Ainur and Men will know his mind and heart as well as may be, and all his intent.