Tolkien Site > Poetry > Firiel-(T) > The Isle of Thû

The Isle of Thû

by Firiel-(T)
May 12, 2011

If any source has influenced this telling, it would be the "Lay of Leithian, Canto IX".
Thû is an early name for Sauron.

‘Twas seeking Beren wandering
The daughter of the Woodland King
Had passed, when Nargothrond’s lords fair
Caught sight of her, and knew, and bent
Their wills upon her to ensnare
Lúthien maid of Tinwelint
So thought they to bind Elves with Elves
Securing aid of Ilkorins
Against the foe, and for themselves
With folk of bows, swords, javelins
As Golfin’s, Delin’s, Lúthien’s 1

So Thingol Tinwelint’s dear maid
Was prisoned there; but undismayed
She roused herself, and hoped of hope.
At length the hound of Celegorm
One of the lords, brought her the cloak
She wove upon a misty morn
And trapped th’uncertain haze within
To hide her from all hostile eyes
For she had told him of Beren
He spoke to her with counsel wise
For he in life-time might speak thrice

So in Lúthien’s hour of need
Huan consented to be steed
And through the winding ways her bore
Upon the labyrinth-ways of Fate
Until they came to a dark tow’r
Where on the bridge below the gate
She sang a song to challenge those
Who dwelt within with ruthless hate
Who were and art the Eldar’s foes
To whom she sang in grip of Fate
 A song of pow’r before the gate

There in the hollow dark he lay
The man Beren amidst decay
All fainting in a deadly swoon
When song he heard; to him it seemed
Above him shone again the moon
And gentle radiance it beamed
He heard the song of joyful birds
And hearing it, he answered strong
Responded with bold stirring words–
As lays he sang, and sang it long.
Hearing she sang a greater song

From the tow’r Thû laughed as he stood–
“Think ye what this meeting shall bode!”
With lofty hand he beckoned forth
A red-eye’d shadow, mantled black
The gleaming fangs, a chainéd wrath
All slavering for unleashed wrath
And maddened hate in blazing eyes
A wraith of dark dread impending
That loose is held and hungry flies
And teeth that life were now rending
Beast of dark, One dark was sending

It stalked into the night; its pelt
Blent into shadows, and it smelt
For life that was its bane and hate
Its eyes had with a desire flamed
It slunk along; its maw housed Fate
Its eyes a hungering untamed
And Night a whisp’ring death concealed
As on the bridge the beast of Hell
Leaped to her side; then blood congealed
With waters mixed; and down its fell
Slipped silently, its hatred still

Again a shadow from the throne
Slipped off into the night alone
Again a death-blow Huan dealt
Its spirit howling silently
As into waters slipped its pelt
Upon some nameless errantry
Again the black-crowned dark lord bade
Therefore slunk to the bridge his might
Where she was standing unafraid:
They slipped into the endless night
Then wearied of the trifling play
The dark lord sent one more adept
A shadow darker, sent to prey
That slowly filled the bridge, and crept
E’en closer, then the black shade leapt

‘Twas with a desp’rate valour she
Awaited it, serenity
All fallen from her in the dread
Of this one, Draugluin himself
The old pale lord that Thû had bred
Who gnawed on bones of Man and Elf
The wolf-lord’s gleaming fangs and eyes
Were glinting with a light of Hell
But even as he leaped, there rose
To meet him Huan fierce loyal,
They twisted in the air and fell.

Upon the bridge they upward rose
In  mortal combat locked; the foes
Were twisting, snapping, rending fur
Then Huan in a burst of might
In battle’s strength and mad ardour
Lashed out and caught the beast of might
A blow to throat; his biting jaws
Ripped out the fur and flesh; and wide
It was; Draugluin fainting rose
And hastened to his lord, and cried
“’Tis Huan come!” and then he died.

Now Thû upon his black throne stood
And pacing past his werewolf-brood
He to the window strode, looked out
With gaze of malice, darkly thrown.
“Behold! O Huan, have no doubt
Thy doom is come. To me is known
As well as is it known to thee,
The prophecy of Elder Days.
The greatest Werewolf Earth shall see
Alone the life of Huan slays.”
So saying did the dark lord pace.

He took upon himself a form
As black as starless dusk and storm
With eyes of leaping coals and dread
That blazed with fires and shone with hate
And housed within an evil red.
His jaws were as the jaws of Fate
That closing never grip lets go
A stinking maw, all crowned with teeth
And shadows dark; the jaws of woe
With curving fangs, and stench of breath
While in its eyes it harboured death

A twilight shadow wreathed in hate
He padded out before the gate
And slow the werewolf's dread visage
Was seen to fill the shiv'ring bridge
And snarling on Lúthien came
While stopped, and died, her halting song.
Yet on he paced, in eyes a flame
Huan leapt back; then springing long
Unto her side Thû leapt; she flung

Before his dreadful eyes her cloak
With murmured word; and stumbling back
He snarled in answer, then he felt
Upon his side a stinging blow
That leaping Huan boldly dealt
And rang his bay against the foe
Who growling turned, and grappled there
The hound; slashing claw, teeth ripping–
The boldest did a hound to dare
Until he dread foe grasped, gripping
Thû, from him his power stripping

Huan was his foe slow twisting
From the wolf his powers wresting
In the grasp of death Thû desp'rate
Changed his form, then he twisting growled
All to no avail, it was Fate
Who grasped him with Huan; Thû howled
And succumbed 'neath Huan's dread grip.
Then she spoke: "Yield me the mast'ry
Or should Huan thy dark soul strip
And send howling on errantry
To thy ruthless lord, no vict'ry?"

"Nay," he groaned in dread, dark torment
"Yield I now my powers dormant
Unto thee; bend closer to me
And I whisper its secret law."
"Aye," she  said, "I bending hear thee"–
Whispering to her hidden flaw
In the stones; he writhed in anguish–
"Maid of Thingol, now release me,
Must I in his jaws e'er languish?
Do as thou said, and thy duty
To the vanquished; now have pity!"

Howling his spirit fled away
Down the labyrinthine way
None of Men, of Elven blood–
Even one of Elfinesse–
Has the strength of soul to tread
Nor can it be known by flesh
Darker ways than Man should know
Blacker than the Elves should see
So loosed he fleeing filled with woe
Was howling therein dismally
To labyrinths lonely must he flee

Before the gates she stood alone
And broke the spell to bind the stone
The forts and towers tumbling fell
Revealing to the light, beneath
Them all the dungeons of Hell
And crawling from the pits of death
Came captives pitiful and wan
Their thanks Lúthien did not hear
Her gaze searching the ranks for one
Who did not come; she flinching bore
Despairing weight, as night drew near

Unfailing she and Huan searched
Amidst the ruins as night touched
With spreading tongues of black the land
And in the hours of fading light
They sought unwaning for the man
And on they looked throughout the night
Upon the broken stones the pair
Were mounting up; then 'fore them lay
A pit that housed a wav'ring fear
Split open to the coming day.
They descended a broken way

Before them in the yawning pit
That breaking day had faintly lit
Were three forms– one a snarling wolf
Its red eyes dimmed; another fair
She guessed that form to be an Elf
And then one that she knew, lay there–
"O Beren, Beren!" cried in woe
Lúthien, seeing faint the blood
"Now art thou fallen to the foe?
And am I come to see thee tread
The ancient paths where walk the dead?"

'Twas for the Elven-prince he grieved
Beren the man, the twice-bereaved
Within a stupor self-imposed
In darker than where he was thrust
Weighed down with griefs, burthened by woes
So why to care what now he must?
The Noldor-prince had won his life
For him against the wolf of hate
Yet he had perished in the strife
For even Life shall soon abate
This is the rule and law of Fate

But in the depths of woe he heard
The song of Life, its joyous word
And midst the refrain seemed there sought
For him a clear and lovely cry:
"O Beren, for whom I have fought
Must I find thee to see thee die?"
"Not Fate, not yet," he said, and rose
"Remember thou what I did say
By the enchanted river-flows?"
She found his arms and swooned away
At just the dawning of the day

[1] A text from The Shaping of Middle-earth (Prose Fragments Following the Lost Tales, ii) says: ‘Golfin’s might was in swordsmen, and Delin had more of those who bore the long…elfin spears, but Lúthien’s ‘ (not Lúthien daughter of Thingol) ‘joy was in the number and…of his bowmen.’