That a Voice be True|
- a praise-song
Summary: When, and how, is a
man’s true voice to be found?
Disclaimer: All characters and
places are the property of the Tolkien estate. This is written purely
for entertainment and at no monetary gain
Once your voice flowed with the clear,
high tone of childhood. Crisp, focused and thin like the small silver
flutes of the Dwarves. The voices of the Elves were richer, deeper;
echoing with gold or mithril, or green grass and trees and living things,
but they had lost that brittle sound of boyhood and innocence that can
never be regained.
It was the only thing in your childhood
that the Elves could not match, and you were doomed to lose it.
Still, it was not the years that change
a boy to man that wrought the greatest change in your voice. No, that
change came later, with hardship and blood, and the long, weary years
of waiting and toil. Grief changed your voice, made it deep and filled
it with gravel and sand until it rasped from your throat.
In the South you spoke your words,
and did not lift your voice in song although the men around you sang
with voices like your own. No Elves to fill the nights with tones of
precious metal or living greens; here the dry sand covered more than
tents and clothes, grass and stone. Here the sand covered the heart,
unless, for a moment, it was washed away by the cool, clear waters of
There, in the South, the very brightness
of the sun shadowed the day, and men sought the Shadow in the heat of
day. Their songs and stars were strange, and the lands were harsh. But
good and evil did not change, and their voices matched your own.
You brought with you the warmth of
the sun, and the sweet spices and the golden sand of the desert when
you left, and when again you saw the clear skies, and mountains clad
in snow, and breathed the crisp air of the lands where you were born,
you sang once more. The snowmelt and the spices mixed, but did not blend,
and the sun and sand warred against the sky.
But your heart sang. You looked upon
your empty hand, and joy was in your eye, and joy was in your heart
and joy was on your lips, and with that joy both heart and voice sang.
And all that heard you, heard that joy, voiced in unripe song.
Years still that song would have to
grow. Years of toil and sweat and fear, of grief and blood, of life
and rest, and of the turning year; from green to bloom to gold and to
the bitter fear of white-cold snow and death, until the wheel turned
round another year and grass and flowers grew. And Hope, crisp and clear
in silver reeds, sounded through the spices and the sand, through sun
and snow and sky, and through the grit and grief.
And when the gold of South blended
with the hard mithril of the North, and with the bright Western wind,
and with the shadowed East; deep, deep your fervour voiced your heart
in breath and song.
Your voice rasped with truth, deep
from the centre of the earth. No boy, no youth; a man, with Man’s
voice: gold and silver, yes, but more than that: hard steel and dark
earth. Life and death and joy, joy, joy! of promised land and life lived
That day you sang, the promise of your
life fulfilled, and promise new you made. Your voice would never bear
again that crisp, thin timbre of your boyhood’s silver-flute, but
in your kingship’s glory and the grit of muddy roads your voice was
strong, and borne upon the wind your words grew:
“Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien.
Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta!”
Et Eärello Endorenna utúlien.
Sinome maruvan ar Hildinyar tenn’ Ambar-metta!
Out of the Great Sea to Middle-earth
I am come. In this place will I abide, and my heirs, unto the ending
of the world.
RotK, The Steward and the King.