Adventures of Tom Bombadil – Tolkien

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Jack reads selected passages 
from his favorite books 

Unscripted. Unrehearsed. Unedited.



The Tolkien Reader
“The Adventures of Tom Bombadil”

J.R.R. Tolkien, 1966. 



While many are familiar with Tolkien’s involvement with the literary group The Inklings, it wasn’t the only literary group of which he was a member. Tolkien himself started the Coalbiters (meaning those who lounge so close to the fire in winter that they ‘bite the coal’), to persuade his friends that Icelandic literature was worth reading in the original language. The influence of the rhyme scheme of Icelandic mythology is evident in today’s reading.

There was a merry passenger,
A messenger, a mariner;
He built a gilded gondola
To wander in, and had in her
A load of yellow oranges
And porridge for his provender;
He perfumed her with marjoram
And cardamom and lavender.

He called the winds of argosies
With cargoes in to carry him
Across the rivers seventeen
And lay between to tarry him,
He landed all in loneliness
Where stonily the pebbles on
The running river Derrilyn
Goes merrily for ever on.
He journeyed then through meadow-lands
To Shadow-land that dreary lay,
And under hill and over hill
Went roving still a weary way.

He sat and sang a melody,
His errantry a-tarrying;
He begged a pretty butterfly
That fluttered by to marry him.
She scorned him and she scoffed at him,
She laughed at him unpitying;
So long he studied wizardry
And sigaldry and smithying.

He wove a tissue airy-thin
To snare her in; to follow her
He made him beetle-leather wing
And feather wing of swallow-hair
He caught her in bewilderment
With filament of spider-thread;
He made her soft pavilions
Of lilies, and a bridal bed
Of flowers and of thistle-down
To nestle down and rest her in;
And silken webs of filmy white
And silver light he dressed her in.

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