Tolkien Tribute: The Bells of Dale

’Twas spring again in the Northern Lands
and larks sang bright and clear,
yet sorrow lay on the folk of Dale
and little they knew of cheer.

The daughter of Girion, Lord of Dale,
lay sad under winter’s gloom–
Like enough, all said, ere long,
she’d lie winter-cold in her tomb.

In deep despond young Giriel  lay
and nothing could stir her will
for winter storms had frozen her heart:
the winds howled in her hearing, still.

The spring song of larks rose over the world
but for Giriel winter still stormed;
Dark was her heart in the springtime sun
and her cold limbs could not be warmed.

The Lord of Dale Girion, in his distress,
sent far and wide through the lands
for anyone who might break the spell,
and bring warmth to his daughter’s hands.

Many came and their offerings made
to coax the lass back to joy–
Bright flowering trees and instruments sweet
and many an intricate toy…

Fanciful foods in fantastical shapes,
and acrobats dancing on air!
Exotic creatures from countries afar
did nothing to ease her despair.

Dweekin the Dwarf, one of Durin’s Kin,
was a shy and diligent lad
who spent his days in a long night of his own
and being blind, many thought him sad.

But Dweekin smiled to hear hammers ring
and the sound of it in his ears
soothed all care and sorrow from him
and lightened his heaviest fears.

So Dweekin delved in the Mountain’s heart
for a rich red, blood-scented ore
and founded and forged and worked what he dug
then carried his gift to her door.

A bell it was, and so wondrous wrought
at its first tone, it raised a sigh
from all who heard, yes, even the lass–
The next note brought a tear to her eye…

The third time rung, the bell sang so sweet
that hearts throughout Dale lifted high…
The fourth note sang out so pure and true,
Giriel rose with a gladsome cry!

The fifth note pealed through village and vale
and shattered the winter’s ice-bands
from Giriel’s heart, and she laughed for joy,
and the spring’s warmth flowed into her hands…

The sound of her laughter joined with the notes
that from Dweekin’s bell rang forth!
Then Girion summoned all healers and wise
to come with their craft to the North.

And at the fest of next Midsummer’s Eve
Dweekin stood under clear blue skies
and for the first time in all of his days
gazed at it with clear-seeing eyes.

Girion lord of Dale in that time
And the King Under Erebor
made vows of union between Men and Dwarves
to join them forever more.

Bells still ring out sweetly upon the air
between Dale and the Mountain, a-sealing
that bond of loyalty, trust and faith,
in every knell they are pealing.

Neither war nor foe nor cause nor plaint
may divide these friends, nor confound
as long as the Dwarf-wrought Bells of Dale
ring out their joyful sound!

This tale fits in with the lore of Dale, which include mention of their wonderful bells, and the Dwarves of Erebor, their naighbors. But the story this tells, and Giriel and Dweekin, are my own, created for a poetry contest on the theme of the friendship between the Men of Dale and the Dwarves Under the Mountain.

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  1. A wonderful story, that I was privileged to read some time ago. What wonderful tribute and addition to middle Earth’s lore!


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