The Road Goes Ever On – A Song Cycle by Donald Swann
Words by J. R. R. Tolkien (from "The Lord of the Rings")

Carleton College Concert Hall
Northfield, Minnesota, February 6, 1972, 8:00 pm

Stewart Hendrickson, baritone; Theo Wee, piano
Recorded Live by WCAL - St. Olaf College Radio Station

Video with photographs

Play all tracks 1-7   
Play separate tracks below:
1. The Road Goes Ever On    (lyrics)
2. Upon the Hearth the Fire is Red    (lyrics)
3. In the Willow-Meads of Tasarinan    (lyrics)
4. In Western Lands    (lyrics)
5. Namarie    (lyrics)
6. I Sit Beside the Fire    (lyrics)
7. Errantry    (lyrics)

The Road Goes Ever On
(Bilbo:  from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1,
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 1 - "A Long-expected Party")

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then?
The road goes ever on and on
And whither then? I cannot say.

Upon the Hearth the Fire is Red
(Bilbo: from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1,
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 1, Chapter 3 - "Three is Company")

Upon the hearth the fire is red,
Beneath the roof there is a bed,
But not yet weary are our feet,
Still round the corner we may meet:
A sudden tree or standing stone
That none have seen but we alone.

Tree and flower and leaf and grass,
Let them pass! Let them pass!
Hill and water under sky,
Pass them by! Pass them by!

Still round the corner there may wait
A new road or a secret gate
And though we pass them by today
Tomorrow we may come this way
And take the hidden paths that run
Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,
Let them go! Let them go!
Sand and stone and pool and dell,
Fare you well! Fare you well!

Home is behind, the world ahead
And there are many paths to tread
Through shadows to the edge of night
Until the stars are all alight.
Then world behind and home ahead
We'll wander back to home and bed.

Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,
Away shall fade! Away shall fade!
Fire and lamp, and meat and bread,
And then to bed! And then to bed!

In the Willow-Meads of Tasarinan
(Treebeard: from The Lord of the Rings vol. 2, The Two Towers,
Book 3, Chapter 4 - "Treebeard")

In the willow-meads of Tasarinan
I walked in the Spring.
Ah! the sight and the smell of the spring in Nantasarion!
And I said that was good.
I wandered in the Summer in the elm-woods of Ossiriand.
Ah! the light and the music in the summer
Of the Seven rivers of Ossir!
And I thought that was best.
To the beaches of Neldoreth I came in the Autumn,
Ah! the gold and the red and the sighing leaves in the
Autumn in Taur-na-neldor!
It was more than my desire.
To the pine-trees upon the highland of Dorthonion
I climbed in the Winter.
Ah! the wind and the whiteness
And the black branches of winter upon Orod-na-Thûn!
My voice went up and sang in the sky.
And now all those lands lie under the wave,
And I walk in Ambaróna, in Tauremorna, in Aldalómë,
In my own land, in the country of Fangorn,
Where the roots are long, and the years lie thicker than the leaves
In Tauremornalómë.

In Western Lands
(Sam: from The Lord of the Rings vol. 3,
The Return of the King, Book 6, Chapter 1 - "The Tower of Cirith Ungol")

In western lands beneath the sun
The flowers may rise in Spring,
The trees may bud, the waters run,
The merry finches sing.
Or there may be ‘tis cloudless night
And swaying beeches bear
The Elven stars as jewels white
Amid their branching hair.

Though here at journey's end I lie
In darkness buried deep,
Beyond all towers strong and high,
Beyond all mountains steep,
Above all shadows rides the Sun
And Stars for ever dwell.
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.
I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

I will not say the Day is done,
Nor bid the Stars farewell.

(Farewell) (Galadriel: from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1,
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 8 - "Farewell to Lórien". 
In “Quenya”, one of the many languages spoken by the Elves)

Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
(Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind,)
Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
(long years numberless as the wings of trees!)
Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
(The long years have passed like swift draughts)
mi oromardi lissë-miruvóreva
(of the sweet mead in lofty halls)
Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar
(beyond the West, beneath the blue vaults of Varda)
nu luini yassen tintilar i eleni
(wherein the stars tremble)
ómaryo airetári-lírinen.
(in the voice of her song, holy and queenly.)

Sí man i yulma nin enquantuva?
(Who now shall refill the cup for me?)

An sí Tintallë Varda Oiolossëo
(For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of the stars,)
ve fanyar máryat Elentári ortanë
(from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like clouds)
ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë
(and all paths are drowned deep in shadow;)
ar sindanóriello caita mornië
(and out of a grey country darkness lies)
i falmalinnar imbë met,
(on the foaming waves between us,)
ar hísië untúpa Calaciryo míri oialë.
(and mist covers the jewels of Calacirya for ever.)
Sí vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!
(Now lost, lost to those of the East is Valimar!)
Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar!
(Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar!)
Nai elyë hiruva! Namárië!
(Maybe even thou shalt find it! Farewell!)

I Sit Beside the Fire
(Bilbo: from The Lord of the Rings vol. 1,
The Fellowship of the Ring, Book 2, Chapter 3 - "The Ring Goes South")

I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen,
Of meadow flowers and butterflies in summers that have been.
Of yellow leaves and gossamer in autumns that there were,
With morning mist and silver sun and wind upon my hair.

I sit beside the fire and think of how the world will be
When winter comes without a spring that I shall ever see.
For still there are so many things that I have never seen.
In every wood, in every spring there is a different green.

I sit beside the fire and think of people long ago.
And people who will see a world that I shall never know.
But all the while I sit and think of times there were before,
I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.

"Elbereth Gilthoniel, silivren penna miriel
(O Elbereth, star-kindler, (white) glittering slants-down sparkling like jewels)
O menel aglar elenath! Nachaered palandiriel
(from firmament glory [of] the star-host to remote distance after having gazed)
O galadhremmin ennorath, Fanuilos, lelinnathon
(from tree-tangled middle-lands, Fanuilos, to thee I will chant)
Nef aear, si nef aearon! Nef aearon!"
(on this side of ocean here on the side of the Great Ocean)

I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.

(from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil – Tolkien)

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, that lay between to tarry him.
He landed all in loneliness, where stonily the pebbles on
The running river Derrilyn, goes merrily forever 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 merry him.
She scorned him and she scoffed at him, she laughed at him unpitying,
So long he studied wizardry, and segaldry and smithying.

He wove a tissue very thin, to snare her in; to follow her,
He made him beetle-leatherwing, 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.

He threaded gems and necklaces, but recklessly she squandered them,
And fell to bitter quarrelling, then sorrowing he wandered on,
And there he left her withering as shivering he fled away;
With windy weather following, on swallow-wing he sped away.

He passed the achipelagoes, where yellow grows the marigold,
With countless silver fountains are, and mountains are of fairy-gold.
He took to war and foraying, a harrying beyond the sea,
And roaming over Belmary, and Thellamie and Fantasie.

He made a shield and morion, of coral and of ivory.
A sword he made of emerald, and terrible his rivalry,
With elven knights of Aerie and Faerie, with paladins
That golden-haired, and shining-eyed came riding by, and challenged him.

Of crystal was his habergeon, his scabbard of chalcedony,
With silver tipped and plenilune, his spear was hewn of ebony.
His javelins were of malachite and stalactite - he brandished them,
And went and fought the dragon flies, of Paradise, and vanquished them.

He battled with the Dumbledors, the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,
And won the Golden Honeycomb, and running home on sunny seas,
In ship of leaves and gossamer, with blossom for a canopy,
He sat and sang, and furbished up, and burnished up his panoply.

He tarried for a little while, in little isles that lonely lay,
And found their naught but blowing grass.
And so at last, the only way he took, and turned,
And coming home with honeycomb,
To memory his message came, and errand too!
In derring-do and glamoury, he had forgot them,
Journeying and tourneying, a wanderer.

So now he must depart again, and start again his gondola,
For ever still a messenger a passenger, a tarrier,
A roving as a feather does, a weather-driven mariner.

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