In honor of next month's "Hobbit" premiere, J.R.R. Tolkien's "Bilbo's Last Song
" has been reissued this fall. The poem was first published in 1966, and in 1992 was printed as a book with illustrations by one of Tolkien's favorite artists, Pauline Baynes. "Last Song" is considered by many to be an epilogue to Tolkien's epic "Lord of the Rings."
Salon has received exclusive rights to publish the poem in full:
Day is ended, dim my eyes,
but journey long before me lies.
Farewell, friends! I hear the call.
The ship’s beside the stony wall.
Foam is white and waves are grey;
beyond the sunset leads my way.
Foam is salt, the wind is free;
I hear the rising of the Sea.
Farewell, friends! The sails are set,
the wind is east, the moorings fret.
Shadows long before me lie,
beneath the ever-bending sky,
but islands lie behind the Sun
that I shall raise ere all is done;
lands there are to west of West,
where night is quiet and sleep is rest.
Guided by the Lonely Star,
beyond the utmost harbour-bar,
I’ll find the heavens fair and free,
and beaches of the Starlit Sea.
Ship, my ship! I seek the West,
and fields and mountains ever blest.
Farewell to Middle-earth at last.
I see the Star above your mast!
“Bilbo’s Last Song” was published with permission from Alfred A. Knopf. Text copyright © 1974 by The Order of the Holy Paraclete. Illustrations copyright © 1990 by Pauline Baynes.