Discovered: Two Tolkien Gems

The Annual

New writings by the Professor heading your way

By now you’ve probably heard the news. Two poems by J.R.R. Tolkien have been brought to life after being concealed in an annual school journal for over 80 years.

The discovery, made by reknowed scholar Wayne G. Hammond, consists of two obscure poems The Shadow Man and Noel, that had been written by Tolkien for the 1936 Annual of Our Lady’s School, Abingdon.

The Shadow Man is an earlier version of the hauntingly beautiful lyric, Shadow-Bride, found in ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’. If you haven’t read this collection of short poems, I strongly urge you to do so. There’s a wealth of beautifully-constructed poems so powerful that they feel as if they have been plucked out of Middle-earth’s historic pages.

This previous draft has been produced in full and I present it here:

The Shadow Man

There a slight variations between this earlier draft and the published one, but there’s something thrilling in the words and the history of its creation.

Noel, meanwhile, is a Christian poem centered around the birth of Christ.

Unfortunately, we haven’t been given the full text, but Hammond & Scull provide us with some tantalising opening verses on their blog:

Grim was the world and grey last night:
The moon and stars were fled,
The hall was dark without song or light,
The fires were fallen dead.

It sounds more like a the beginning of a Middle-earth story than the Nativity scene, but in just four lines, Tolkien demonstrates his mastery of words, rhyme and rhythm. There’s such a dynamic feel to these words and the atmosphere they create. Just reading these handful of verses gets me excited about the rest of the poem.

So far, there have been no details about possible publication but an exhibition is being organised by the school to present them.

For more information visit Too Many Books and Never Enough and Unseen JRR Tolkien poems found in school magazine.

What do you think? Are you excited about this discover?

Share you thoughts here!

2 thoughts on “Discovered: Two Tolkien Gems

  1. Excited? Shaking. I fell in love with those words as soon as I read them. *sends hugs to the Professor* I’m desperate to read the rest of “Noel.” I’m already getting out my calligraphy pens. Thanks for sharing!

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