Posts Tagged ‘Tolkien’

Of Balin and Thrór’s Ring (J.R.R Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings)

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

I read Tolkien’s canon (The Silmarillion, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings) every year about christmas. This year’s pondering is over Balin and Gandalf and Thrór’s ring.

Thrór possessed one of the seven rings that the dwarves got from Sauron of old. Inherited from father to son through generations, it was an heirloom of immense value for the Durin line. It passed to Thrain, who was Thrór’s son, and Thorin Oakenshield’s father. When Sauron woke again during the Third Age, Thrain was taken captive in Dol Guldur, and the ring taken from him. He perished there before Gandalf could resuce him. All this Gandalf told in the council of Elrond.

Now, by the same council, Glóin reveals that one of Balin’s main reasons for attempting to recolonize Moria, was to find Thrór’s ring. But Gandalf knew that it was not in Moria, as it was taken from Thrain in Dol Guldur. When Gandalf knew this, it is quite obvious that Thorin knew too. Gandalf would not keep information hidden about Thrain’s condition and death from his only son. So both Gandalf and Thorin must have known that Thrór’s ring was taken. Still, Balin, did not know, even though he was a close friend and companion of both Thorin and Gandalf. Consider the last scene in the Hobbit, where Gandalf and Balin, on a journey all the way from The Lonely Mountain, visit Bilbo. It is a meeting between close friends. Yet, Balin knew not. So he went with his followers to seek for the ring, and the whole colony was killed cruelly, fighting a last stand against the orcs of Moria.

In retrospect, a bit more openess about the ring would perhaps have been advisable. But the keeping and the keeper of the ring was constantly kept a tight secret in the Durin line. No one knew for sure who had the ring, until it was given to its next keeper. The appendices tell us that the dwarven rings were treacherous. Though not making the dwarves into shadows and slaves of Sauron, the ring keepers of the dwarves became jealous, and a constant hunger for more gold was set in them. Thus, the ring was often the base for a large hoard of treasure, which in turn could cause grieves like wars and dragon plunder.

Perhaps Gandalf considered this, when he kept his knowledge about Thrór’s ring hidden. It is still a bit of a mystery to me though.

Nanna Lindefjeld-Hauge: Antikkens guder og helter

Friday, September 25th, 2015

Innføring i antikkens guder og helter. Tittelen sier stort sett alt som er nødendig. Hva var Argus-øyne egentlig for noe? Hvem var den første havguden i gresk mytologi? Hvordan var det med Orfeus og Eurydike igjen? Hva var greia med Jason og det gylne skinnet hans? Her er det bare å slå opp og finne ut, eller man kan lese boka fra perm til perm med godt utbytte. Formen derimot er litt underlig. Dette er skrevet som en mellomting mellom en lærebok og et prosaverk. Stilen er enkel og muntlig, som noe skrevet for sjette trinn i grunnskolen, med små kommentarer fra forfatteren underveis. Dette gjør boka lett å lese, men jeg synes personlig at dette ikke kler stoffet særlig bra. Det virker litt … respektløst, på en måte, men det er mulig jeg bare har lest Silmarillion for mange ganger.

PS: I Tolkien-kontekst (selvsagt, dette er jo mytologi) er dette for øvrig svært interessant lesning. Tolkien hadde svært god kjenskap til Antikkens mytologi, og har hentet mangt et motiv derfra. Gudeskikkelser som tar en vann-nymfe til ekte, f.eks. Noen som har hørt det før?

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, September 19th, 2015

How did we communicate before email? Before SMS? Before faxes? While using a telephone was an expensive luxury? People wrote letters. Writing a personal letter is a great exercise for the mind, giving the opportunity to think and focus, and make visible the train of your thought. Those who loved their language probably wrote more than others. And for many it was customary to keep letters, for reference, or for cherishing. So while looking for clues about someone’s life over the first 70 years of the 20th century, one should look for their letters.

J.R.R. Tolkien had during his lifetime a massive correspondence. He constantly wrote to his family, employers, friends, and publishers. Some of them are collected in this book. Through his letters, we follow his life, as seen with Tolkien’s own eyes, from the small everyday events when writing to his friends and family, through the drafts of The Lord of the Rings while writing to his publishers, and even to religious musings or pure philosophy, when writing to his children in his elder days.

Many of the letters were found in draft form, or collected from their receivers. The collection is comprehensive, but of course not complete. Lots of letters are missing, and no one knows how many Tolkien ever wrote. From the known letters, this is of course also an edition, and the editors have focused on Tolkien’s life, and especially the occations that touched the legendarium, from which his most famous works arose.

For those interested in Tolkien’s life and the story of his books, this is pure silver, and specked with golden treasures, like these:

Got my head-harvest reaped: a big crop: still fertile soil, evidently (#63)

The vast sum om human courage is stupendous (#64)

Finnish nearly ruined my Hon. Mods, and was the original gem of the Silmarillion (#75)

I coined the word ‘eucatastrophe’: the sudden happy turn in a story which pierces you with a joy that brings tears (which I argue is the highest function of fairy-stories to produce) (#89)

This university business of earning one’s living by teaching, delivering philological lectures, and daily attendance at ‘boards’ and other talk-meetings, interferes sadly with serious work. (#117)

The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien is highly recommended reading. And if you get nothing else from this, at least I have learned, that taking time to write personal letters, is something I should do more often.

J.R.R Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings (BBC dramatization)

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

Inspired by a tweet I’m unable to find at the moment, I listened to BBC’s excellent full-cast dramatization of The Lord of the Rings again, for the first time in 15 years or so. While there are some choices I find strange, like Aragorn’s voice and style for instance, this is still a mighty interpretation of Tolkien’s masterpiece. And it includes quite a bit of song and music too. The intro theme still fills me with anticipation for a new episode, and almost gives me goosebumps.

If you think the complete audiobook too massive, this variant of The Lord of the Rings is a highly recommended abridged variant.

J.R.R. Tolkien: Unfinished Tales of Númenor and Middle-earth

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

I read Unfinished Tales again. I should do so more often. It is a fantastic collection of writings, some in more finished form, some less, from J.R.R. Tolkien’s hand, collected, edited and commented by his son Christopher.

Here are the longest “raw” cuts of the story of Turin Túrambar, later fine edited and released as a separat work. Here is the touching story of Erendis, the unhappy wife of Aldarion, one of the mariner kings of Númenor, in almost Brontëan style. Here are essays on the wizards, the Istari, and of the seeing stones, the Palantíri. Here is the long version of the story that led Gandalf, Thorin Oakenshield and his 12 companions to Bilbo’s door, and the story of the hunt of the ring before Frodo set out from the Shire. In a footnote, we get the explanation of why it is said that Imrahil of Dol Amroth has some elven blood in his veins. In a moving part, we get the story of the oath of Eorl and Cirion. And we even get facts (though a bit confusing and partly contradicting) concerning Galadriel and Celeborn.

If you are a true fan of Tolkien’s works and legendarium, you probably have read Unfinished Tales already. If not, it’s high time.

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Silmarillion

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

I read Tolkien’s “canon” every christmas, and while posting late, I managed to read through The Silmarillion this December too.

While reading The Silmarillion yearly, there are some passages that touches me more than others. Luthien’s rescue of Beren on Tol-in-Gaurhoth. Hurin’s last stand – Aure Entuluva! The killing of Beleg Cúthalion. Fingon finding Maedhros by song. But I am deepest moved by the Ainulindalë, the Song of the Ainur, that is, the creation of the World, simply because it is so beautiful.

God, Eru Ilúvatar, creates the The World, and not the Earth only, but the whole Universe. And how is this done? It is shaped by song. But he does not sing himself. He suggests a theme, and lets his Ainur sing in before him. He’s not even conducting. He sits back, and lets the Ainur sing, improvising in beautiful harmony, inspired by his thought. And when the song is finished, he says Ëa! – Let this be! And the World is created from the void, and the Ainur watches their song unfold in time and matter and space. This is probably the finest image of Tolkien’s idea of sub-creation, and of course, integrated in his own legendarium.

But wait, there is more. The mightiest and proudest of all the Ainur was Melkor, and he tries to turn his song to another theme, where his song stands out. The result is disharmony. But Illúvatar tells him that there is nothing Melkor can do, that has not its uttermost source from him. So when the World is created, there are valleys where there were sung mountains, cold winter where there were sung mild summer, and fires and heat where there were sung water and cool breezes. But thus, there were snowflakes and ice crystals, and there were clouds and rain. Ever more beauty is revealed from Melkor’s attempt to draw the song to himself.

Both Melkor and rest of the Ainur improvise with free will, and as real beauty comes from all the Ainur’s song, Evil also comes from Melkor’s fall from harmony. God did not want evil to be, but while it is often hard and cruel to the children of Ilúvatar – elves and men, afterwards it will have been good to have been, as God will make amends, and from it create more beauty in a better world.

While Tolkien seldom preaches the Christian gospel in his books, the problem of evil and the span between free will and God’s omnipotence, is seldom better discussed than in this text.

The heroes of The Lord of the Rings

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

Every year around christmas, I read Tolkiens “canon”, that is The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion. As earlier years, I’ve also this time tried to find a new angle or figure to watch closer. This year, let’s talk about heroes.

Who is the true hero of The Lord of the Rings. Frodo everybody yells at once, of course. Or Gandalf! Gandalf for president! – an american slogan from the sixties. Or even Aragorn, the high king returned.

I tend to disagree.

Of course, Frodo is the main character, the Ringbearer, our beloved protagonist, and the hero of the story, as he goes forward, constantly dodging dangers and all the time trying to avoid the lure of the Ring itself. But what does he do? (more…)

J.R.R. Tolkien: The Hobbit (or The Battle of Five Armies)

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

I read The Hobbit again, and this time aloud to the youngest of the kids. So now, I have to wait for grandchildren. The target for this reading was of course to complete it before watching final chapter of the Hobbit movie series, so they can proudly tell, when they grow older, of course I read the book before I saw the film.

So instead of adding a deeper analysis of this cozy children’s book, I’ll share some thoughts about the film.

First: I enjoyed the film. A lot. There are always many things that you would like to include, but I think on the whole, they kept as much of the real story as to keep at least some of the Tolkien purists content. Including myself. This is still quite a different story than The Hobbit, but the movie makers did what they had to do, I suspect.

The good:
I loved the dragon. Smaug, the Chiefest and Greatest of Calamities, and his downfall was magnificent. The destruction of Lake Town and Bard’s shot was just great. Bard standing out as the real leader of the people of Esgaroth, and the heir of Dale, was heart-warming. I was again impressed by the immenseness of the halls of the Lonely Mountain. I actually enjoyed the fight of the White Council in Dol Guldur. I can even stomach the fight of Thorin and Azog. I of course loved the details of the costumes, the surroundings, the filming, all superb. I also enjoyed a lot of the action scenes, though Legolas doing a Mickey Mouse style run-up-falling-stones, was perhaps a bit too much. And the homecoming to Hobbiton, and building up the frame story was brilliant, though I missed the final visit from Gandalf and Balin.

The bad:
As in the previous movies, I hated the attempts to make comic relief based on plat jokes. The added figure Alfrid was on the whole unnecessary. There are enough comic points to fetch from the original story. Making up some coward dressing in drag to avoid battle, that’s not even funny.

Giant monster-worms eating rock? What? What?

Where was the good old thrush! As I lamented in the previous movie, it should be Bilbo that finds the weak point in Smaug’s armour, and the thrush retelling this to Bard, so he is able to slay the dragon. This makes Bilbo (again) the real hero of the original story. Why this point was neglected by the movie makers is hard to understand. It was used in The desolation of Smaug to build up the tension between Bard and the leaders of the city in Stephen Fry’s speech to the public, announcing a warm welcome to the dwarves, but still, this could easily be dealt with in other ways.

One of the most important parts of the battle in the original story was the eucatastrophe, when the Eagles and Beorn comes and turns the battle. That Beorn, this wild creature, and not overfond of dwarves, joins in on the dwarves’ side, wrecks havoc to the orc armies, and rescues Thorin from being hacked by the orcs of Bolg, is a major point. He goes from being a wild creature, at no one’s side, to being a chieftain of a woodland folk, joining in on the good side. Showing him for, what was it, 2.5 seconds, was a huge disappointment. Social media said it concisely, hashtag #blinkorbeorn.

Foul British language from a hog riding dwarf? Give me a break. Again, this is not funny (at least, not to my taste). Daín was a great leader of dwarves, and close kin to the kingship of Durin. Give him some credit, please.

The coldness of the king of the elves is strange to me. While it must be hard to him to watch the slaying of his folk by the orcs, suggesting to just give up and go away seems strange. The elves were valiant warriors, and should be in front of the battle, as their hatred for the orcs was cold and bitter. Also, the king’s attitude against Gandalf is strange. Gandalf was a long time friend of the wood-elves of Mirkwood, and surely, the king knew him well.

That thing about Legolas unable to go home after the battle did not give any meaning to me. Why was this so? One reason was of course his sorrow for Tauriel? But what more? For revenge? For lonely mourning? Please, we need more information here. And even much stranger was the comment from Thranduil, go check out this man called Strider. What?? Why? This may be just a silly attempt to bind the movie forward to the Lord of the Rings series but in the context it gave no meaning at all. I guess we will get the full meaning in the directors cut, when it hit the blue ray players in a year or three.

But all this are just details. What disappointed me most was the lack of character building. One of the really strong points in the original Hobbit, is Bilbo’s change. He starts out as a respectable Baggins, but listening to his Took genes, he joins in this wild adventure. In the end, it is his Baggins’ side, wanting to negotiate peace on simple financial Baggins style respectable terms. This joining his Took and Baggins personalities to a whole is almost completely missed. Similar, the only person that actually has a character change during the movie is Thorin, winning over the bewitchment of the treasure, and running to the help of his natural allies.

And finally, when Bilbo leaves the Mountain, what is there? No funerals. No consolidation of the peoples of wood, mountain, and town. No new king under the mountain. No coronation in Dale. Only a very, very few words from Balin, and then just a wave goodbye. I need more closure.

We saw The Battle of Five Armies in 2D. Sitting for several hours with 3D glasses gives me headache, and we also thought the impact would be lessened on the smaller of the kids (the Norwegian age limit was set to 11 years). So we missed all the fancy 3D stuff. When using 3D as much as they used in the previous films, the movie makers tend to loose, at least in my opinion, a lot of other story telling effects. Too close shots of faces because the 3D effect would disturb the dialog with wider shots. Dwelling on effects that turns the stomach of the viewers, instead of larger scenery. But perhaps I’m just old fashioned.

After six movies, I’m content that this was the final chapter of Peter Jackson’s Tolkien adventures. If anyone should bring Tolkien to the big screen again, I hope it will be something completely different.

Tolkien Coffee mug project

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014


A few months ago I set out to get a copy of one of the versions of The Hobbit that has Tolkien’s original illustations. After a bit of searching, I found an available copy of the 1962 swedish translation, Bilbo en hobbits äventyr. Some editions of that translation, at least the one I got, the 10th reprint from 1979, have the illustrations.


So now, I can enjoy my own private printed copy of these nice illustrations.


Another thought came to me. What about having these pictures on coffee mugs? I could have a complete set! (more…)

Mythopoeia (norsk)

Friday, April 18th, 2014

Tørre fakta om diktet, se Wikipedia-siden

Det er mange, mange ting å si om dette diktet. Tolkien setter mennesket i sin rolle i skaperverket som den som gir navn. Verden ville bare vært stoff, hadde det ikke vært for oss som ser på den, og setter alt i sammenheng til alt. Med klassisk kristen teologi diskuterer han det onde, og han utlegger sin skepsis til tanken om fremskritt og teknologi som positiv kraft i verden. Han argumenterer for at det mange negativt angir som eskapisme gjennom myter og fantasi, faktisk er en bra ting. Men mest sier han kanskje, om menneskets kreative kraft, hvor den kommer fra, og hvordan den dermed blir opphav til de myter vi ser opp gjennom historien. Gud har skapt menneskenes kreativitet, og selv om mennesket har blitt fordervet gjennom synd, vil likevel mytene vi skaper ha rot i sannheten, fordi vår kreativitet kommer fra Ham.

Et av de vakreste bildene Tolkien bruker i dette diktet er for meg den, at mennesket er et prisme som bryter lyset. Gud er det sanne hele hvite klare lyset, og fra ham kommer all skaperkraft. Når vi lar det hvite lyset skinne gjennom oss, altså når vi lager myter, eller med-skapelse (sub-creation), som Tolkien kaller det, er det ikke perfekt. Det blir ikke den hele sannheten. Det blir enkeltfarger, noen røde, noen blå, noen gule, noen fiolette. Men dette fargespekteret er en rikdom. Det har stor verdi i seg selv. Når vi skaper fortellinger, eller, siden vi ikke alle er forfattere eller skalder, bruker de talenter vi har, om det er som musiker eller programmerer eller statistiker eller snekker, er det en oppfyllelse av det potensial som Gud stråler gjennom oss. Med sine mange former og fargetoner bringer vi fram en rikdom som ikke ville fantes uten oss. Og om vår med-skapelse ikke er fullkommen, så kommer den likevel fra det ubrutte, hvite lyset.

Så der snek jeg inn dagens lille andakt. Så til selve diktet.

av J.R.R Tolkien, 1931

Til norsk ved Ingvar Hagelund
April, 2014

Til han [C.S. Lewis] som sa at myter er usanne, og derfor verdiløse, selv om de er ‘åndet med sølv’.

Fra Philomythus til Misomythus

Du ser på trær men navner kun kontekst                           You look at trees and label them just so,
(for trær er 'trær', og vekst er bare 'vekst');                  (for trees are 'trees', and growing is 'to grow');
du tråkker jorden ned med verdig gange                           you walk the earth and tread with solemn pace
denne vesle sfære blandt de mange:                               one of the many minor globes of Space:
en stjerne kun en liten stoppet ball                             a star's a star, some matter in a ball
i evig tvunget matematisk fall                                   compelled to courses mathematical
midt i den strenge, kalde, tomme dans                            amid the regimented, cold, inane,
der dømte atomer drepes uten stans                               where destined atoms are each moment slain.

Vi kneler foran Viljen (som vi må)                               At bidding of a Will, to which we bend
vi kan den svakt, ja bare knapt forstå                           (and must), but only dimly apprehend,
på dens bud stiger veldige prosesser frem,                       great processes march on, as Time unrolls
fra dunkel start til ukjent mål for dem                          from dark beginnings to uncertain goals;
som på en side vettløst overskrevet                              and as on page o'er-written without clue,
en endeløs myriade av former vevet                               with script and limning packed of various hue,
pakket med skrift og risset i ulik drakt                         an endless multitude of forms appear,
en stygg, en vakker, en underlig, en forsagt                     some grim, some frail, some beautiful, some queer,
alle fremmed, ringer kun i vann                                  each alien, except as kin from one
fra fjernt Origo, stein, sol, mygg, og mann.                     remote Origo, gnat, man, stone, and sun.
Gud skapte petroøse steiner og arboreale trær                    God made the petreous rocks, the arboreal trees,
den telluriske jord, stellare stjerner, og der                   tellurian earth, and stellar stars, and these
de ørsmå mennesker som roter jorden i fryd                       homuncular men, who walk upon the ground
med nerver som kribler berørt av lys og lyd                      with nerves that tingle touched by light and sound.
Havets rytme, vind i trær, de ville dyr                          The movements of the sea, the wind in boughs,
det grønne gress, det rare trege som er kyr                      green grass, the large slow oddity of cows,
torden og lyn, fugler sirkler med skrik og skrål                 thunder and lightning, birds that wheel and cry,
slim fra mudderet kravler og dør etter sitt formål               slime crawling up from mud to live and die,
alle behøvrig registrert i godt behold                           these each are duly registered and print
i hjernens furer, i hver sin egen fold                           the brain's contortions with a separate dint.

Men trær er ikke 'trær' før de var til                           Yet trees are not 'trees', until so named and seen
som så dem og gav navn til 'Eik' og 'Pil'                        and never were so named, till those had been
som foldet ut pustens knopp til blad av ord                      who speech's involuted breath unfurled,
svakt ekko, uklart bilde av vår jord                             faint echo and dim picture of the world,
men hverken foto eller et lydopptak,                             but neither record nor a photograph,
er omen, latter, eller dom i sak                                 being divination, judgement, and a laugh
svar fra dem som kjente vekket                                   response of those that felt astir within
i brystet dype følelser i slekt                                  by deep monition movements that were kin
med liv, og trærs, og dyrs, og stjerners død                     to life and death of trees, of beasts, of stars:
frie fanger filer over skygge-gitters nød                        free captives undermining shadowy bars,
miner ut alt det vi vet fra det vi har sett                      digging the foreknown from experience
og vasker gull fra åndens åre med vårt vett                      and panning the vein of spirit out of sense.
Fra seg selv trakk de mektige krefter strake                     Great powers they slowly brought out of themselves
Og alver var der når de så tilbake                               and looking backward they beheld the elves
som har i sinnets dunkle smie spunnet                            that wrought on cunning forges in the mind,
lys og mørke drømmer sammentvunnet                               and light and dark on secret looms entwined.

Den ser ei stjerner, som ei første gang                          He sees no stars who does not see them first
ser det levende sølv som plutselig sprang                        of living silver made that sudden burst
som blomster, ut i flamme, under en eldgammel sang               to flame like flowers beneath an ancient song,
og musikkens ekko er her fremdeles siden den gang                whose very echo after-music long
Det finnes ingen himmelvelving med stjerner som du har telt      has since pursued. There is no firmament,
Tomrom kun, om ikke et juvelbesatt telt                          only a void, unless a jewelled tent
mytevevd, mønstret av alver; det finnes ingen Jord,              myth-woven and elf-patterned; and no earth,
om ikke det liv vi er født fra, som er vår mor                   unless the mother's womb whence all have birth.

Vi husker ennå ham som la visdom i vårt minne                    The heart of Man is not compound of lies,
og vårt hjerte, ingen løgn fra ham, finnes gjemt der inne        but draws some wisdom from the only Wise,
Om vi har blitt fremmedgjort fra han som har oss skapt           and still recalls him. Though now long estranged,
er vi verken endret eller helt fullstendig tapt                  Man is not wholly lost nor wholly changed.
Kanskje falt fra nåden, men ennå ei fra tronen                   Dis-graced he may be, yet is not dethroned,
Vi samler sparsomt restene av makten og av kronen                and keeps the rags of lordship once he owned,
vårt verdensstyre ved vår skaperakt                              his world-dominion by creative act:
men ikke tilbe det som vi har skapt                              not his to worship the great Artefact,
Menneske, medskaper, det hvite lys alene                         Man, Sub-creator, the refracted light
gjennom deg er splintret, brutt i fra det ene                    through whom is splintered from a single White
i fargetoner, vi kan sammenføye                                  to many hues, and endlessly combined
til skikkelser som flyr fra sinn til øye                         in living shapes that move from mind to mind.
Om vi fylte alle verdens sprekker eller berg                     Though all the crannies of the world we filled
med skogalver og fjelltusser, og mang en skjegget dverg          with Elves and Goblins, though we dared to build
om vi våget bygge Guder og tempel ingen har sett                 Gods and their houses out of dark and light,
og sådde vi dragesæd, tenk, så var det vår rett                  and sowed the seed of dragons, 'twas our right
brukt eller misbrukt, den retten har ikke gått tapt              (used or misused). The right has not decayed.
vi skaper ved samme lov som vi ved er skapt                      We make still by the law in which we're made.

Visst spinner vi "ønskedrømmer" for å narre vårt tandre hjerte   Yes! 'wish-fulfilment dreams' we spin to cheat
Luller bort fæle fakta, og fortier Verdens smerte                our timid hearts and ugly Fact defeat!
Men hvor kom det ønsket fra, og kraften til å drømme?            Whence came the wish, and whence the power to dream,
Hvorfor finner vi ting vakre eller fæle ved å dømme?             or some things fair and others ugly deem?
Ikke alle ønskedrømmer trenger vi å sverte                       All wishes are not idle, nor in vain
ei forgjeves oppfylle dem -- for smerte er smerte                fulfilment we devise -- for pain is pain
aldri å begjære, den er bare Ond, ellers var det å streve        not for itself to be desired, but ill;
eller undertrykke viljen, like nådeløst å leve                   or else to strive or to subdue the will
Alene Denne grusomme Sannhet kan vinnes                          alike were graceless; and of Evil this
om Ondskapen: -- At den finnes!                                  alone is deadly certain: Evil is.

Signede bevrende hjerte det onde hater,                          Blessed are the timid hearts that evil hate
skjelver i skyggen, men likevel ondt det forsaker                that quail in its shadow, and yet shut the gate;
vil ikke forhandle, men gjemt i sikrede bôl                      that seek no parley, and in guarded room,
liten og bløt, og på en tander vevstol                           though small and bate, upon a clumsy loom
med tråder av morgensol lar de skyttelen løpe                    weave tissues gilded by the far-off day
vever troen og håpet, under Skyggens svøpe                       hoped and believed in under Shadow's sway.
Signet de byggende menn av Noas art                              Blessed are the men of Noah's race that build
sine små arker, enn skrøpelige, med dekket bart                  their little arks, though frail and poorly filled,
styrer de gjennom skiftende vind mot et skrømt                   and steer through winds contrary towards a wraith,
mot en havn, et rykte, som kun noen i tillit har drømt           a rumour of a harbour guessed by faith.

Signet er de som skrev ned legender med flid                     Blessed are the legend-makers with their rhyme
om de ting som ikke lenger kan festes i tid                      of things not found within recorded time.
Det er ikke dem som har glemt hvilen på Nattens bryst            It is not they that have forgot the Night,
eller bedt oss flykte til organisert vellyst                     or bid us flee to organized delight,
på lotus-øyer veldrevet økonomisk                                in lotus-isles of economic bliss
de selger sjelen for et kyss atomisk                             forswearing souls to gain a Circe-kiss
av en mekanisk nymfe, (og falsk selv den,                         (and counterfeit at that, machine-produced,
samlebåndsforføring igjen og igjen)                              bogus seduction of the twice-seduced).

Slike øyer langt ute, og enda fagrere ble sagt                   Such isles they saw afar, and ones more fair,
og de som ennå hører dem, kan ennå ta seg i akt                  and those that hear them yet may yet beware.
De har sett Døden, og nederlag til slutt                         They have seen Death and ultimate defeat,
og likevel vil ei fortvilet trekke seg ut                        and yet they would not in despair retreat,
har snarere lyren hen til seier stemt                            but oft to victory have tuned the lyre
og med legenders ild har hjerter tent,                           and kindled hearts with legendary fire,
den lyser opp Nået og Fortidens mørke og kalde                   illuminating Now and dark Hath-been,
med lys fra soler fremmed for alle                             with light of suns as yet by no man seen.

Å gid jeg kunne med skaldene synge så lett                       I would that I might with the minstrels sing
med lyrestreng berøre det vi ikke har sett                       and stir the unseen with a throbbing string.
Jeg ville reist med sjøfarerne over dypet                        I would be with the mariners of the deep
som hogger sitt skipsbord blant fjellbjørk og rype               that cut their slender planks on mountains steep
og blitt med på ferd med skiftende blest,                        and voyage upon a vague and wandering quest,
for noen har reist lenger enn det ytterste Vest.                 for some have passed beyond the fabled West.
Blant beleirede tåper, jeg vil bli fortalt                       I would with the beleaguered fools be told,
de har et indre fort, der lagret de alt                          that keep an inner fastness where their gold,
sitt gull, ikke mye, ikke purt, men gjerne                       impure and scanty, yet they loyally bring
slått til mynt, med svakt riss av sin konge i det fjerne         to mint in image blurred of distant king,
eller vevet i bannere, strålende minner                          or in fantastic banners weave the sheen
sin usynlige Herres skjoldmerker som fantastisk skinner          heraldic emblems of a lord unseen.

Jeg vil ei gå med dine progressive aper                         I will not walk with your progressive apes,
oppreist og tenkende, foran dem gaper                           erect and sapient. Before them gapes
den mørke avgrunn dit fremskritt oss sender                     the dark abyss to which their progress tends
om ved Guds nåde, fremskrittet en dag ender                     if by God's mercy progress ever ends,
og ikke ustanselig roterer, uten savn                           and does not ceaselessly revolve the same
om samme tørre akse med stadig nye navn                         unfruitful course with changing of a name.
Jeg nekter på en støvet sti å måtte gå                       I will not treat your dusty path and flat,
og nevne alting flatt som slikt og så                           denoting this and that by this and that,
den lille skaper med sin skapermakt                             your world immutable wherein no part
jeg deler ei din verdens faste takt                             the little maker has with maker's art.
Jeg bøyer meg ikke ennå for Jernkronen                          I bow not yet before the Iron Crown,
Og kaster ei mitt lille gullsepter fra tronen                   nor cast my own small golden sceptre down.

                 *                                                                  *

I Paradis kanskje blikket vandrer                               In Paradise perchance the eye may stray
fra å stirre på Dagen som aldri forandrer                       from gazing upon everlasting Day
til å se dagen skinnende ny over vannet                         to see the day illumined, and renew
fra gåte i speil til bilde av det Sanne.                        from mirrored truth the likeness of the True.
Ser jeg utover det signede land, fra meg selv:                  Then looking on the Blessed Land 'twill see
Alt er som det er, men fritt likevel                            that all is as it is, and yet made free:
Frelsen endrer ikke, og knuser ei hager                         Salvation changes not, nor yet destroys,
eller gartner, barn eller leketøysdrager                        garden nor gardener, children nor their toys.
Ondt vi ser ei mer, dets dolkestikk                             Evil it will not see, for evil lies
er ikke i Guds sanne bilde, men i de skjeve blikk               not in God's picture but in crooked eyes,
og ikke i Kilden, men i å velge det slemme                      not in the source but in malicious choice,
og ikke i lyden, men i toneløs stemme                           and not in sound but in the tuneless voice.
I Paradis de ser ei mer forkjært                                In Paradise they look no more awry;
og skaper aldri nytt med løgn besnært                           and though they make anew, they make no lie.
De forsetter skape, de er ikke døde                          Be sure they still will make, not being dead,
Med panneflamme dikter poeter opp morgenrødet                   and poets shall have flames upon their head,
spiller på harper dit feilfrie fingre er kalt                   and harps whereon their faultless fingers fall:
og enhver får velge for alltid fra Alt                          there each shall choose for ever from the All.