Tom B: Peeling the Onion (Collegium 1)

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halfir 20/Sep/2005 at 12:08 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

’Do not laugh! But once upon a time (my crest has long since fallen) I had in mind to make a body of more or less connected analysis on the subject of Tom Bombadil, which I could dedicate to all Plaza enthusiasts. With that aim in mind I started The Great Work, with aid of some 30 +supportive loremasters. With that great aim in mind I spent almost a year searching on and offsite for anything connected to Tom, and my colleagues did likewise. An editorial committee was set up, a comprehensive topic list agreed, and projects assigned. But RL, loss of supporting project managers, and the sheer weight of coordinating such a large project and number of people finally brought my work to a halt. I had no need to leave scope for other minds, for they were already busy at work and have continued to offer their views in a multitude of threads from the inception of The Great Work, until today’ {With apologies to J R R Tolkien and Letter  # 131}

However, the material acquired during that process still remains, and since then, even more views on Tom have seen the light of day- each one usually more absurd than the last.

So, rather than let all that research go to waste I have decided to use it to peel the layers of the onion that is Tom B and his fair Lady Goldberry ,and provide a resource base for others who might wish to take up the torch where I laid it down.

This will be a very lengthy process and I will start it by simply listing some of the many views as to who or what Tom is. It is not intended to be comprehensive. Some of them might surprise you!

The Many Headed Hydra- Interpretations of Tom

Tom is:

Adam (and Goldberry is Eve- both are in their unfallen state)
Aule(And Goldberry is Yavanna)
A being thrown-up at the beginning of time
The Brown Man
The Chieftain of Birds
One of the oldest inhabitants of King Bonehig’s kingdom
The Christian concept of stewardship
Christ (almost)
A daimonic being who lived before history
A Dutch Doll
The spirit of Ea itself
Earth’s Gaia
Eru
Eru’s representative in ME
An Enigma
The FIsher KIng
The Green Man
The Jungian concept of the ’Original Man’
The last Moorish King of Granada
A Maia ’gone native’
A Maia of Yavanna
The last Maia to enter Ea
A Merlin type figure
The spirit of ME
A nature spirit
A nature sprite
The embodiment of nature’s moral neutrality or ambiguity
Embodies Nature’s pattern
The Spirit of Nature
A spirit of the vanishing Oxford and Berkshire Countryside
A pre-existing spiritual being who became embodied as the spirit of nature
The One
Orome
Pan
Puck
The Reader
The opposite of Shelob but amoral
A spontaneous generation from the land
JRR Tolkien
Tulkas
Ulmo
Uncle Tim’s nephew in The Root of the Boot in The Advenures of Tom Bombadil
Based on Vainamoinen from the Kalevala
Wayland Young

The list goes on!

N.B. I am indebted to Charles Noad’s compilation of  the various interpretations of Tom in Leaves from the Tree for much of this list.

 


 

 

 

Geirve 20/Sep/2005 at 04:26 AM
Guard of Erebor Points: 4985 Posts: 6056 Joined: 11/Jul/2003
Comprehensive, whether intended or not &rsquo (I miss only ’Wayland Smith’ and, of course, Enigma). Does it mean the outcome of the TB-project will be revealed to the waiting population sometime soon?
Gwilwileth 20/Sep/2005 at 04:49 AM
Defender of Imladris Points: 683 Posts: 137 Joined: 04/May/2003
Ah indeed! MANY of them surprised me! Good job halfir  I particularly liked the "maia gone native" one
Ruoutorin 20/Sep/2005 at 08:30 AM
Stablemaster of the Mark Points: 1001 Posts: 468 Joined: 23/Feb/2005
That’s so interesting.  I was intreagued by the answer "The Reader".  Interesting thought.  Wish I would have known about this project, I would have liked to have been part of it. 
Phil_d_one 20/Sep/2005 at 01:38 PM
Shipwright of Umbar Points: 13181 Posts: 12667 Joined: 14/Jan/2004
Ruotorin: Unless someone else actually agreed with my lunacy, (which I’d be delighted to hear) then the Reader thought is my own, since I believe that all unknown quantities in the works (namely TB, Ungoliant, The Watcher and the Nameless Things) are somehow representative of modern day humans, with TB as representative of us as readers. While you may find it interesting, if memory serves halfir denounced it as heresy  
quessa 20/Sep/2005 at 06:43 PM
Winemaker of Lothlorien Points: 651 Posts: 142 Joined: 26/Nov/2004

Phil_d_one I like your theory and agree with it in essence, the whole representative of some aspect of modern humans and all, but not as it applies to LOTR. It is a good one, though not as funny as many on the list, but I can’t agree with it, it does seem a bit heritical haha.
Although we were there from the beginning... and do know a lot about much that is going on in ME... and we cannot (authentically) venture beyond the parameters that JRR’s imagination established... and the ring has no sway over us...

quessa 20/Sep/2005 at 06:43 PM
Winemaker of Lothlorien Points: 651 Posts: 142 Joined: 26/Nov/2004

Phil_d_one I like your theory and agree with it in essence, the whole representative of some aspect of modern humans and all, but not as it applies to LOTR. It is a good one, though not as funny as many on the list, but I can’t agree with it, it does seem a bit heritical haha.
Although we were there from the beginning... and do know a lot about much that is going on in ME... and we cannot (authentically) venture beyond the parameters that JRR’s imagination established... and the ring has no sway over us...

halfir 20/Sep/2005 at 07:07 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Geir: Yes, you are quite right, I have amended the original list to include Tolkien’s statement that Tom was an ’Enigma’ and Dr. Ohlmarks Wayland Smith - which Tolkien so angrily denied as ’rubbish’ (cf. Letter # 229}

I have also added the character from the unfinished tale of King Bonhedig where Tom is described as one of the oldest inhabitatnts of that kingdom.

What will be exposed is not, I am afraid, the actual ’essence of Tom’ - I still have not determined satisfactorily what that is, although, as you know because of the redolent atmosphere of nature about Tom, that is certainly one of his aspects- but Tolkien made him more than that too.

What will be provided is a commentary on the many theories, plus some new ones, an analysis of the words and colors surrounding Tom- all too frequently left aside in standard analyses, and some pointers to aspects of the ’real Tom’ insofar as one can make any.

I essentially wish to provide a discussion and resource base for others to carry on The Great Work- as I do not have the time to do so- being behind on virtually every Tolkien project I am embarked on!X(

halfir 20/Sep/2005 at 07:07 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Geir: Yes, you are quite right, I have amended the original list to include Tolkien’s statement that Tom was an ’Enigma’ and Dr. Ohlmarks Wayland Smith - which Tolkien so angrily denied as ’rubbish’ (cf. Letter # 229}

I have also added the character from the unfinished tale of King Bonhedig where Tom is described as one of the oldest inhabitatnts of that kingdom.

What will be exposed is not, I am afraid, the actual ’essence of Tom’ - I still have not determined satisfactorily what that is, although, as you know because of the redolent atmosphere of nature about Tom, that is certainly one of his aspects- but Tolkien made him more than that too.

What will be provided is a commentary on the many theories, plus some new ones, an analysis of the words and colors surrounding Tom- all too frequently left aside in standard analyses, and some pointers to aspects of the ’real Tom’ insofar as one can make any.

I essentially wish to provide a discussion and resource base for others to carry on The Great Work- as I do not have the time to do so- being behind on virtually every Tolkien project I am embarked on!X(

Goety 21/Sep/2005 at 08:27 AM
Apprentice of Minas Tirith Points: 180 Posts: 13 Joined: 19/Sep/2005

I think you are wright when you say that it is JRR Tolkien himself. He knew he wrote a very good book and his vanity was so large he wanted to be immortal. He was very christian so he like to be here on earth and the very last one to leave. I would have done that

 

Goety 21/Sep/2005 at 08:27 AM
Apprentice of Minas Tirith Points: 180 Posts: 13 Joined: 19/Sep/2005

I think you are wright when you say that it is JRR Tolkien himself. He knew he wrote a very good book and his vanity was so large he wanted to be immortal. He was very christian so he like to be here on earth and the very last one to leave. I would have done that

 

Tuna 21/Sep/2005 at 11:19 AM
Assassin of Mordor Points: 5570 Posts: 6645 Joined: 11/Mar/2004
But if Tom Bombadil is Tolkien’s vanity, then he wasn’t very vain at all. Why not choose a major, an important, character. If he was trying to prop himself up on a pedestal, then why did he continually say that Tom Bombadil isn’t important to the plot and the story?
Tuna 21/Sep/2005 at 11:19 AM
Assassin of Mordor Points: 5570 Posts: 6645 Joined: 11/Mar/2004
But if Tom Bombadil is Tolkien’s vanity, then he wasn’t very vain at all. Why not choose a major, an important, character. If he was trying to prop himself up on a pedestal, then why did he continually say that Tom Bombadil isn’t important to the plot and the story?
Ann-thannath 21/Sep/2005 at 12:28 PM
Librarian of Imladris Points: 2126 Posts: 1609 Joined: 16/May/2005
I can’t wait to see more of this - some of those references are unknown to me and I’d love to learn more.
halfir 21/Sep/2005 at 03:12 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Goety: I don’t  say that Tom is Tolkien, I list options that others have offered.Tom is many things as well as being one, which is why the thread is entitles Peeling the Onion!

And Phil_d_one: Your memory indeed serves you well- all you have offered is an exercise in Reader Applicability- not textual exegesis- but that’s no different to be fair from  most other interpretations of Tom!X(

Ann-thannath: There’s tons more to come!

Nieliqui Vaneyar 21/Sep/2005 at 07:26 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

<sigh>  halfir, um, just so’s ya know.  I’m about maybe a week away on presenting something similar on Goldberry.  An analysis as it were of the many thoughts and considerations of Goldberry, through the various media (though there seem to be just a tad less than on Tom!).

Phil, when I present the analysis, I will provide a link to some support for your ’lunacy’ that I came across.

I do like the henseed appellation (or application as you may prefer) regarding birds.

I don’t see Orome on the list, and I found that one too!

Regarding being Tolkien, well he could be halfir too!  They are all Master!!! and old men to boot!!!!

VardaElbereth 21/Sep/2005 at 07:30 PM
Counsellor of Imladris Points: 3313 Posts: 3602 Joined: 24/Jan/2004
Oh, look, Tom as Eru! I argued that one once!   But I have come across a startling discovery. I have uncovered the long lost letter #355, addressed to someone named TB by Tolkien. Tom is in fact none of those things on the list. Tom is:

Of course many people have written me about Tom Bombadil. He is an interesting character, but no one yet has guessed the true secret. Tom in fact is a prank. I created an entirely incomprehensible character to befuddle my readers and stir them into long winded debates about who this "man" really was. Sorry to burst your bubble ( name is indecipherable) but I am afraid Tom is nothing more than my idea of a fun joke. The long lost letter #355 of J.R.R. Tolkien, addressed to someone named TB

NB: And if anyone takes this seriously, and no doubt someone will, I am going to sit here and laugh and laugh...
halfir 21/Sep/2005 at 07:50 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Before we embark on our analytical Odyssey of whom or what Tom might or might not be, I though it helpful to give a bibliography of sources.

This is not meant to be exhaustive, although it was exhausting to compile and took about one years hard labor-on and off!

However, in the spirit of scholarship if I have failed to complete my endeavor, by passing on the information I have gathered I can perhaps enable  and encourage others to take up the torch or seize the baton, where I left off.

Refernces are to texts I have seen and used, not necessarilly to the first publication of such texts.

1.0 Tom in Tolkien’s Letters

Letters #’s : 19, 47, 91, 144, 153, 163,175,207,210,229, 231, 233, 237, 240, 242

2.0 Tom in HOME

BOLT1*, BOLT 2 * ,The Shaping of ME*,The Return of the Shadow, The Treason of Isengard,The War of the Ring, Sauron Defeated

* Tingfang Warbler as a possible precursor image of Tom

3.0 Tom in LOTR

FOTR- Chapters 6-10; TT - Chapter 4; ROTK - Chapter 7

4.0 Other published works by Tolkien on or including Tom:

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil -Oxford Magazine 1934; The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Bombadil Goes Boating - in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil Allen and Unwin 1961; Once Upon a Day inThe Young Magicians, edt Lin Carter -Ballantine Paperbacks 1969

5.0 Secondary sources including Tom-Books

Basham and Bronson edts The Lord of the Rings and Philosophy

Burton, Raffell The Lord of the Rings as Literature

Caldecott, Stratford Secret Fire {Ok if you like ’nuts’ !Suggests ’the secret fire’ is a reference to Glamdring!} 

Carpenter, Humphrey The Inklings

Carpenter, Humphrey JRR Tolkien -A Biography

Carter, Lin A Look Behind The LOTR

Challis, Erica, edt. The People’s Guide to ME

Chance, Jane A Mythology for England Tolkien’s Art

Chance, Jane, The Mythology of Power -Lord of the Rings

Curry, Patrick Defending Middle Earth

Duriez, Colin Tolkien and the LOTR

Flieger, Verlyn A Question of Time

Flieger, Verlyn Splintered Light

Flieger, Verlyn Interrupted Music

Flieger & Hostetter edts. Tolkien’s Legendarium

Fonstad, Karen Wyn The Atlas of Tolkien’s ME

Helms, Randall Myth, Magic, and Meaning in Tolkien’s World

Jones, Leslie Ellen  Myth and ME

Kocher, Paul Master of Middle Earth

Krabbe, Kathryn The quest as Legend: LOTR in Modern Critical Interpretations: LOTR edt. by Harold Bloom

Lewis and Currie The Uncharted Realms of Tolkien

Lobdel, Jared The World of the Rings

Noad, Charles The Natures of Tom Bombadil in Leaves From the Tree 4th Tolkien Society Workshop 1991

Pirson, Ron Who Are You, Master? in Lembas Extra 1996

Reynolds, Patricia The Real Tom Bombadil in Leaves From the Tree 4th Tolkien Society Workshop 1991

Rosebury, Brian Tolkien A Cultural Phenomenon

Scull, Christina Tom Bombadil and LOTR in Leaves From the Tree 4th Tolkien Society Workshop 1991

Shippey, TA The Road to ME

Shippey, T A JRR Tolkien: Author of the Century

White, Michael Tolkien {not recomended}

Zimbardo and Isaacs edts. Understanding LOTR

5.0 Website references

Albert, Edoardo – Who is Tom Bombadil? http://greenbooks.theonering.net/guest/files/060101.html

ARDA, Encyclopaedia of – Entry under Tom Bombadil/Bombadil,Tom http://www.glyphweb.com/arda/index.html

Beier, Barb – Bombadil Discovered http://tolkien.cro.net/else/bbeier.html

Black, Asher – The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and Other Verses http://www.greenmanreview.com/bombadil.htm

Bouvin - Who or what was Tom Bombadil? http://www.daimi.aau.dk/-bouvin/tolkien/tombombadil.html

Bromwell School – The True Story of Tom Bombadil http://bromwell.dpsk12.org/stories/storyReader$179

Eru – Tom Bombadil http://www.flex/~layton2/encyc/maiar.html

Hargove, Gene - Who is Tom Bombadil (analyzes several of the theories regarding Bombadil and proposes the idea that TB is Aule. Essential reading. http://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/tombomb.html

Jensen, Steuard – What is Tom Bombadil (analyzes severeal of the theories regarding Tom Bombadil and proposes the idea of TB as a Nature Spirit. Essential reading. http://tolkien.slimy.com/essays/Bombadil.html

Kalevala: advances the possibility that Tom B was based on the ‘singing wizards’ in the Finnish epic http://www.scandga.org/Insights/2001-02%20Winter/Tolkien.htm

Lalaith – Bombadil in the Shire http://rover.wiesbaden.netsurf.de/~lalaith/Tolkien/Bombadil_in_the_Shire.html

Loos, William – Who or what was Tom Bombadil? http://tolkien.cro.net/else/tombom.html

Martinez, Michael – If I only had a Bombadil.. http://www.suite101.com/print_article.cfm/4786/52486

Night Gem – The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, Bombadil Goes Baoting ( a side- by-side English/French version of the two powms, exactly as the original in the English) http://users.skynet.be/NightGem/translation1.htm

Tracy, Erik – Why didn’t the One Ring have any Control Over Tom Bombadil? http://tolkien.cro.net/rings/tombom.htmlVarda – Goldberry http://www.flex.net/~layton2/encyc/maiar.html

Plaza {A small selection chosen for certain posts in each}

Disproving the disproofs: Tom Might be an Ainu

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=144892&PagePosition=6

Tom Bombadil – Tolkien’s Gaia

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive3/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=65539&PagePosition=1

Goldberry in the Golden Key

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=66369&PagePosition=2

Morpheus and Tom Bombadil

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=7605&PagePosition=2

Frodo- Traitor or Tragic Hero?

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=28426&PagePosition=9

N.B. The Paza url’s are correct but sometimes you need to try two or three times as a’timeout’ ์์

The web urls are correct as and from my time of use- but I cannot guarentee that all of them are still available.

 

 

 

 

halfir 24/Sep/2005 at 11:58 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
NE: thanks for the addition of OromeX(- which I will add to the opening list, although, as you know, I think the Maia theory of Tom totally erroneous.
halfir 24/Sep/2005 at 11:58 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
NE: thanks for the addition of OromeX(- which I will add to the opening list, although, as you know, I think the Maia theory of Tom totally erroneous.
halfir 26/Sep/2005 at 12:57 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Earlier Tom Bombadil

In Letter # 163 written to W. H. Auden in June 1955, Tolkien wrote:

‘Tom Bombadil I knew already; but I had never been to Bree.’

And know him he did- but not – in his earliest incarnation - as a character in LOTR.

Tom Bombadil was the name of a Dutch Doll owned by Michael Tolkien, that had the ignominy of being shoved down a toilet by his brother John, and provided the colors and clothing that Tolkien used in his later developed poems and stories regarding Tom Bombadil.

In her essay on Tom Bombadil  and LOTR in Leaves From The Tree -JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction - 4th Tolkien Society Workshop, Christina Scull tells us:

’...in a conversation reported in Mallorn 5, Father John {John Tolkien, JRR’s eldest son became a Roman Catholic Priest} said he {the Dutch Doll} really did wear the same bizarre clothing mentioned in The Lord of the Rings.’

The first ‘literary’ Tom, the earliest written reference to Tom is as the central character in an unfinished - indeed hardly started- story about the days of King Bonhedig, where Tom Bombadil was clearly to be the hero of the tale:

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

Although some changes were made to the description of the feather in later tales –the template of a small, merry, stout man, with blue jacket and yellow boots, was to remain constant in every successive incarnation of Tom.

No date is given for this unfinished scrap of a tale but we know it postdates Roverandom which was written, though not published, in 1925. {In fact it was not published until 1998}. However, we do not know how long it postdates that work, although from Carpenter’s comments it does not appear to be a significant period of time.

In 1934 more fully fleshed- Tom appeared in a poem –The Adventures of Tom Bombadil – which was published in The Oxford Magazine – February 1934.

In Letter # 153 Tolkien wrote that Tom Bombadil – first appeared in the Oxford Magazine’ {My bold emphasis}.

In my view this puts paid to any speculation that Tingfang Warble in BOLT1 & 2 is in any way a ‘precursor’ image of Tom – but I will return to that error in a later post.

Interestingly enough The Adventures of Tom Bombadil - which we first see in book form in 1962 along with Tom Goes Boating and fourteen other ‘nonsense’ poems , is different from the ‘germ’ story that Tolkien saw as the originator of the more developed character . {The King Bonhedig episode having merely been a paragraph long}

In HOME 6 The Return of The Shadow V The Old Forest and the Withywindle CT informs us that Tolkien had written on the top of a paper containing the following verses:

‘Date unknown – germ of Tom Bombadil so evidently in mid 1930’s’.{my bold underline. Another refutation of the Tinfang Warble thesis}

Although the following verses do not appear ad idem with either the Oxford Magazine verse or the 1962 publication, although some resonances occur,  they are closer – in small part- to some of the lines in the 1962 Tom Goes Boating- although the names of the characters are very different.

The mid- 1930’s ‘germ’ poem was as follows:

‘(Said I)
’Ho! Tom Bombadil
Whither are you going
With John Pompador
Down the River rowing?’

(Said he)
Through Long Congelby,
Stoke Canonicorum,
Past King’s Singelton
To Bumby Cocalorum

To call Bill Willoughby,
Whatever he be doing,
And ax Harry Larraby
What beer he is a-brewing

(And he sang)
’Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’

So in the 1930’s the actual character of Tom – outside LOTR had started to develop, and by 1937 Tolkien was suggesting that the somewhat comical character could be taking on a far more serious form.

To be continued



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

halfir 26/Sep/2005 at 02:40 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Earlier Tom Bombadil- contd.

‘To feel that bit of country actually and literally in your veins’

Writing to his great friend Arthur Greve in June 1930, C.S.Lewis told the story of a friend of his who, with two other chums, had ‘gone back to nature.’

They had pooled their resources and taken a cottage in the Cotswolds. Here, there aim was:

‘as far as possible, to use nothing which is a product of the factory system or of modern industry in general…..There is certainly something attractive about the idea of living as far as may be on the produce of the land about you: to see in every walk the pastures where your mutton grazed when it was sheep, the gardens where your vegetables grew, the mill where your flour was ground, and the workshop where your chairs were sawn- and to feel that bit of country actually and literally in your veins.{They Stand Together The Letters of C.S. Lewis to Arthur Greve 1914-1963- my bold emphasis)

Lewis goes on to say:

‘ Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

And, adding his own observations, Lewis concludes:

We of course who live on a standardised international diet (you may have had Canadian flour, English meat, Scotch oatmeal, African oranges, & Australian wine to day) are really artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth. We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours. (ibid. my bold emphasis}

Note these words:

1. there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside {Tolkien}

2. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them.{Tolkien}

3. We….. are really artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth{Lewis}

4.We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours.{Lewis}

Now note the words from Letter # 19 written to Stanley Unwin by Tolkien in December 1937, when Unwin’s had asked for further books about hobbits:

Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into a hero of a story?’{My bold emphasis}

Our comic hero is taking on a very different perspective. BUT far too many who quote that line omit the following one, which substantially qualifies it:

‘Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined in the enclosed verses? Still I could enlarge the portrait.

The verses referred to, of course, are The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, which had appeared in The Oxford magazine in 1934.

Tolkien was questioning whether or not he could fuse the comic relief figure of those verses with an altogether more serious figure –representative of part of the vanishing English countryside.

In the event he did not pursue that option, instead he let the matter gestate in his mind until he did do just that, fuse the differing natures, in the character that we all know so well from Lord of the Rings- Tom Bombadil.

The term ’comic relief character’ has been used to describe the figure that Tolkien painted in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil and certainly in the brief mention we get of him in the King Bonhedig story. Yet is this really the case - or is that just another aspect of the many faceted character that Tolkien finally gave to Tom?

To understand what The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, as published in 1934 (and in book form in 1962) really tells us is the next subject that we need to look at.

To be continued

 

 

 

 

 

Mâethor 27/Sep/2005 at 12:36 AM
Craftsman of Minas Tirith Points: 1762 Posts: 1313 Joined: 05/Jan/2008

Halfir: Once again you amaze me, ever since i joined the Plaza you have been presenting thorough and detailed analysis of many different subjects. I would like to say Excellent Job, i look up to such lore buffs as yourself, and hope to become as knowledgefull as yourself at some stage. I would also like to add that you are an inspiration to many Plazarians and LOTR Fans, i know for a fact that i speak for mor than just myself when i say that too. WELL DONE 

Why you don’t have a tribute rank of somekind i don’t know.

halfir 27/Sep/2005 at 03:55 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Mazrak Kuldar: You are too kind. I have amassed- with the help of other loremasters- many now since long gone from the Plaza - a consierable amount of information about Tom, and recent acquisition of a veritable cornucopia of books by and about Lewis and The Inklings has provided insights into Tom that were before unapparent to me- and do not appear widely known on the Web.

It seemed a pity not to share this with others, who might well be enthused enough to start their own analyses, using, I hope, much of the data provided here.

My intentionis to comment on a variety of views and opinions held regarding Tom, supporting those of substance and demolishing those of nonsensical proportions- which is about 90% of that written!X(

I hope you enjoy the threads- for there will be many, and feel moved to comment on our beloved enigma -Tom- when the mood- or post takes you!X(

halfir 27/Sep/2005 at 03:55 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Mazrak Kuldar: You are too kind. I have amassed- with the help of other loremasters- many now since long gone from the Plaza - a consierable amount of information about Tom, and recent acquisition of a veritable cornucopia of books by and about Lewis and The Inklings has provided insights into Tom that were before unapparent to me- and do not appear widely known on the Web.

It seemed a pity not to share this with others, who might well be enthused enough to start their own analyses, using, I hope, much of the data provided here.

My intentionis to comment on a variety of views and opinions held regarding Tom, supporting those of substance and demolishing those of nonsensical proportions- which is about 90% of that written!X(

I hope you enjoy the threads- for there will be many, and feel moved to comment on our beloved enigma -Tom- when the mood- or post takes you!X(

Saranna 27/Sep/2005 at 04:07 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Thanks for all these wonderful resources halfir! Cornucopia? - Sounds exciting
Saranna 27/Sep/2005 at 04:07 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Thanks for all these wonderful resources halfir! Cornucopia? - Sounds exciting
Bearamir 27/Sep/2005 at 11:37 AM
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Thank you, Halfir...(and everyone!) for yet another erudite (and fascinating) thread.  to help move the discussion along, (developmentally that is), I think it’s time for a transfer to Ad Lore.
halfir 27/Sep/2005 at 04:53 PM
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Bear: Thanks!X(
halfir 27/Sep/2005 at 04:53 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Bear: Thanks!X(
Ankala Teaweed 27/Sep/2005 at 07:15 PM
March Warden of the Shire Points: 6116 Posts: 4487 Joined: 15/Apr/2002

Yay, halfir! Tom is a . . . Tolkien dryad!!     

Hey, that fits! Especially in consideration that he lives with the river’s daughter?

Ankala Teaweed 27/Sep/2005 at 07:15 PM
March Warden of the Shire Points: 6116 Posts: 4487 Joined: 15/Apr/2002

Yay, halfir! Tom is a . . . Tolkien dryad!!     

Hey, that fits! Especially in consideration that he lives with the river’s daughter?

halfir 28/Sep/2005 at 05:25 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

AK: You wicked person.X( That is not what is said- particularly by me! But a number of things pertaining to Tom are included in the comments of Tolkien and Lewis:

 1. There was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside {Tolkien}

Tom is clearly connected to the land, as in a somewhat different and more de minimis way are Farmer Maggott (related to Tom in earlier drafts}, Gaffer Gamgee, and Sam.

2. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them.{Tolkien}

This very much applies Tom.

and

We….. are really artificial beings and have no connection (save in sentiment) with any place on earth{Lewis}

Tom is very much a connected individual

4.We are synthetic men, uprooted. The strength of the hills is not ours.{Lewis}

Tom has deep roots and is totally non-synthetic. He also has the strength of the hills, although this, of course can be broken by the power of Sauron, who perverts nature with his ’machine magic’, c.f. Galdor FOTR-The Council of Elrond:

’And yet we see that Sauron can torture and destroy the very hills.’

and, as Glorfindel says, even Tom, will finally fall before the perverted  magic of Sauron:

’I think that in the end, if all else is conquered, Bombadil will fall. last as he was First; and then Night will come.’{ibid}

Saranna 29/Sep/2005 at 05:26 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Is he then Father Time as well as a spirit of the land?  Just as Lewis’s idea in The last Battle was that when father Time awoke, he would "make an end", so Glorfindel seems to suggest that there is a link betwen Tom’s fall and the coming of night.
Saranna 29/Sep/2005 at 05:26 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Is he then Father Time as well as a spirit of the land?  Just as Lewis’s idea in The last Battle was that when father Time awoke, he would "make an end", so Glorfindel seems to suggest that there is a link betwen Tom’s fall and the coming of night.
halfir 29/Sep/2005 at 07:23 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: But it was Sauron who fell, not Tom!X( 

I deliberately chose the title-Peeling the Onion, for Tom is many layered and many aspected. To understand Tom it is necessary to accept that one must live with ambiguity, for Tolkien, even with his final published distillation of Tom, still leaves him in a multiform state.

Goldberry’s ’He is’ just about says it all!

I do not say that you cannot put the gloss on Tom in one of his aspects as Father Time, although I would not do so. In his very critcal response to the Narnia series which hurt Lewis deeply, Tolkien made it clear that he found Lewis’s use of so many disparate characters a major defect. In a conversation with Roger Lancelyn Green, Tolkien said:

’I hear you’ve been reading Lewis’s children’s  story. It really won’t do you know. I mean to say ’Nymphs and their Ways, the Lovel-Life of a Faun" Doesn’t he know what he’s talking about?{Colin Duriez- JRR Tolkien and C S Lewis- Chapter 9 A Professor’s Wardrobe and Magic Rings}

George Sayer -formerly Head of English at Malvern College (until 1974} and a close friend of Lewis’s , and himself involved with the Inklings, writes with regard toTolkien’s hostility to the Narnia series:

’Jack had always been constructively helpfuland sympathetic with Tolkiien’s writing, and he probably expected similar treatment. He was hurt, astonished, and discouraged when Tolkien said that he thought the book {The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe} was almost worthless, that it seemed like a jumble of unrealated mythologies. Because Aslan, the fauns, the White Witch, Father Christmas, the nymphs, and Mr. andMrs. Beaver had quite distinct mythological or imaginative origins, Tolkien thought it was a terrible mistake to put them together in Narnia, a single imaginative country. The effect for him was incongruous and, for him, painful.But Jack argued that they existed happily together in our minds in real life. Tolkien replied, ’Not in mine, or at least not at the same time.’

Tolkien never changed his view. He so strongly detested Jack’s assembling figures from various mythologies in his children’s books, that he soon gave up trying to read them. He also thought they were carelessly and superficially written. His condemnation was so severe that one suspects he envied the speed with which Jack wrote and compared it with his own laborious method of composition.’ {Jack- A Life of C S Lewis Chpt 17 Into Narnia}

Even allowing for some ’taking of sides’ on the part of Green and Sayer, in favor of Lewis,we know from Tolkien’s own comments cf Letter # 265 that Narnia remained:

’Out of the range of my sympathy’.

And I think that he would thus have recoiled from associating Tom with a figure such as Father Time- however recondite the association might have been.

Keleril 29/Sep/2005 at 08:22 AM
Scout of Lothlorien Points: 71 Posts: 6 Joined: 26/Sep/2005
After reading the material you have have provided on TB I am much bewildered as to his nature and character.Before reading any of this info you have unearthed on TB my personal view on TB although maybe simplistic I think hits as near the mark as to what he is as any theory.TB is one of the first Ainur that came to Ea when it was created, and has dwelt there ever since.My main reasoning for this is the similarity of TB’s powers which he ’set within a defined boundary’ of the Old forest and Iluvatar decree that any Ainur that came to earth had their power bound to the confines of ME.I know that these were then called the Valar but I think TB was amongst them but instead of existing in Valinor with the others has always lived within a defined area that is forever under his influence.
halfir 29/Sep/2005 at 11:29 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Keleril: I will refain from exhaustive comment on your views as I deal with that proposition later on. This thread- or threads I should say- will run and run. X(

What I would request you to do is to pay careful attention to the current and shortly to be posted analyses of Tom in the earlier writings of Tolkien, as I think you may well be surprised at what they clearly demonstrate.

I would also point out, with regard to your point ’set within a defined boundary’ that his boundaries have been set some time after his first entry to ME:

’And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds that he has set, though none can see them,waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them.’ { FOTR- The Council of Elrond- Gandalf , my bold emphasis}

I think the ’now’, and, ’waiting perhaps for a change of days,’ are significant, although why I will not explain as I will deal with that when I come to ’Tom and Place’.

 

 

halfir 29/Sep/2005 at 11:29 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Keleril: I will refain from exhaustive comment on your views as I deal with that proposition later on. This thread- or threads I should say- will run and run. X(

What I would request you to do is to pay careful attention to the current and shortly to be posted analyses of Tom in the earlier writings of Tolkien, as I think you may well be surprised at what they clearly demonstrate.

I would also point out, with regard to your point ’set within a defined boundary’ that his boundaries have been set some time after his first entry to ME:

’And now he is withdrawn into a little land, within bounds that he has set, though none can see them,waiting perhaps for a change of days, and he will not step beyond them.’ { FOTR- The Council of Elrond- Gandalf , my bold emphasis}

I think the ’now’, and, ’waiting perhaps for a change of days,’ are significant, although why I will not explain as I will deal with that when I come to ’Tom and Place’.

 

 

halfir 29/Sep/2005 at 04:37 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Please note that I have amended the opening post list of ’Tom Possibilities’ to include the last Moorish King of Granada! Thisis slightly unfair to Lin Carter whose ideas it is,  as he actually sees Tom as an :

’ageless little nature sprite’

but claims his name is derived from Boabdil a popular figure in Islamic legend and a character in Washington Irvings The Alhambra -1832. {Lin Carter -Tolkien A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings - Chptr. 16 Some People ,Plaxes, and Things}. Quite why Tolkien would switch from Northern Europe to Spain is not explained.

It is said of Boabdil that as he wept tears over the loss of Granada to the forces of Ferdinand of Castile his mother- somewhat unkindly - said:

’Why do you weep over like a woman that which you could not hold as a man?’

With mothers like that, who needs enemies!X(

 

halfir 29/Sep/2005 at 07:21 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Some Observations on Tom as portrayed in King Bonhedig and the 1930’s " Germ" Text

Before looking at the 1934 Adventures of Tom Bombadil that appeared in The Oxford Magazine of that year, and contained many of the figures that would feature in the later LOTR masterwork, we need to take stock of the two earlier references- King Bonhedig and the ’Germ’ Text of the 1930’s.

King Bonhedig

What we might call the  ’Bonhedig fragment’ which  firts unveils Tom to our world is the very short piece left from a story that was never progressed, by Tolkien.

It was set in the reign of the mythical King Bonhedig where Tom Bombadil was clearly to be the hero of the tale:

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

This first picture of Tom, of height, width, color coordination, and health, remains constant from this earlier unfinished story throughout The Adventures, LOTR, and Tom Goes Boating {certain minor changes are made in LOTR,  The Adventures and Tom Goes Boating but they do not disturb the overall picture.{I will deal with the feather issue- separately}

So from a physical description point of view Tolkien had an image of Tom that remained constant from its inception. The same cannot be said about the persona of Tom!

It is also interesting to note that while he is not named ’oldest’ in the Bonhedig fragment, he is named as:one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom.So the longevity aspect of Tom is also consistently maintained from the inception of the character.

And it is also quite clear that it was Tolkien himself  who named him - ab initio - as Tom Bombadil:

’I do not mean him to be an allegory-or I should not have given him so particular, individual, and ridiculous a name’ {Letter # 153 my bold emphasis}

The other very important point to remember is that-from the beginning- Tom Bombadil was not part of The Silmarillion legendarium, a point I will return to at greater length, later.

As to when he first appeared in this fragment Carpneter in his Biography of Tolkine seems to imply that it was after 1925- it postdated the then unpublished Roverandom, but before the ’Germ’ text of the mid 1930’s.

It is to the very important ’Germ’ text that I will turn in my next post.

 

halfir 29/Sep/2005 at 07:21 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Some Observations on Tom as portrayed in King Bonhedig and the 1930’s " Germ" Text

Before looking at the 1934 Adventures of Tom Bombadil that appeared in The Oxford Magazine of that year, and contained many of the figures that would feature in the later LOTR masterwork, we need to take stock of the two earlier references- King Bonhedig and the ’Germ’ Text of the 1930’s.

King Bonhedig

What we might call the  ’Bonhedig fragment’ which  firts unveils Tom to our world is the very short piece left from a story that was never progressed, by Tolkien.

It was set in the reign of the mythical King Bonhedig where Tom Bombadil was clearly to be the hero of the tale:

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

This first picture of Tom, of height, width, color coordination, and health, remains constant from this earlier unfinished story throughout The Adventures, LOTR, and Tom Goes Boating {certain minor changes are made in LOTR,  The Adventures and Tom Goes Boating but they do not disturb the overall picture.{I will deal with the feather issue- separately}

So from a physical description point of view Tolkien had an image of Tom that remained constant from its inception. The same cannot be said about the persona of Tom!

It is also interesting to note that while he is not named ’oldest’ in the Bonhedig fragment, he is named as:one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom.So the longevity aspect of Tom is also consistently maintained from the inception of the character.

And it is also quite clear that it was Tolkien himself  who named him - ab initio - as Tom Bombadil:

’I do not mean him to be an allegory-or I should not have given him so particular, individual, and ridiculous a name’ {Letter # 153 my bold emphasis}

The other very important point to remember is that-from the beginning- Tom Bombadil was not part of The Silmarillion legendarium, a point I will return to at greater length, later.

As to when he first appeared in this fragment Carpneter in his Biography of Tolkine seems to imply that it was after 1925- it postdated the then unpublished Roverandom, but before the ’Germ’ text of the mid 1930’s.

It is to the very important ’Germ’ text that I will turn in my next post.

 

Øyvind 01/Oct/2005 at 12:54 AM
Healer of Minas Tirith Points: 6653 Posts: 11033 Joined: 03/Mar/2003
halfir - What you are doing now, can be assured that even the Master would be proud of his own work and yours. I am especially honoured that my thread - Tom Bombadil - Tolkien’s Gaia - has been added to your list, even if it’s not at all correct. Your work on the Plaza seems to be non-stopping.
Kudos to all who contributed, and especially to you halfir!
Øyvind 01/Oct/2005 at 12:54 AM
Healer of Minas Tirith Points: 6653 Posts: 11033 Joined: 03/Mar/2003
halfir - What you are doing now, can be assured that even the Master would be proud of his own work and yours. I am especially honoured that my thread - Tom Bombadil - Tolkien’s Gaia - has been added to your list, even if it’s not at all correct. Your work on the Plaza seems to be non-stopping.
Kudos to all who contributed, and especially to you halfir!
halfir 01/Oct/2005 at 03:20 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Master Oyvind: Your thread was included because it was worthy of inclusion and because aspects of Tom are certainly touched upon within it.

I hope that as the ’onion is peeled’ X(you will continue to contribute to our deliberations, and I thank you for your kind words!X(

halfir 01/Oct/2005 at 03:20 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Master Oyvind: Your thread was included because it was worthy of inclusion and because aspects of Tom are certainly touched upon within it.

I hope that as the ’onion is peeled’ X(you will continue to contribute to our deliberations, and I thank you for your kind words!X(

halfir 01/Oct/2005 at 05:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The mid 1930”s ‘Germ’ Poem

In his Foreword to FOTR Tolkien talks of :

‘the ways in which a story –germ uses the soil of experience are extremely complex, and attempts to define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous’.

The latter part of that sentence:

‘attempts to define the process are at best guesses from evidence that is inadequate and ambiguous’

are a pretty exact comment on our various attempts to crack the “Enigma Code’ that is Tom, but at this point, we need to concentrate on the use of the word ‘germ’.

Tolkien uses the concept of a ‘germ’ or seed’ quite frequently to describe the way in which tales develop, and his use of words – as he himself points out with regard to LOTR- but also in general- is a very considered one:

‘Hardly a word in its 600,000 or more has been unconsidered.’ {Letter # 131}

So, when he describes the mid-1930’s Bombadil poem as

‘Date unknown – germ of Tom Bombadil so evidently in mid 1930’s’ { HOME V1 The Old Forest and the Withywindle note quoting his father by CT} we must pay careful attention to his use of the word ’germ’.

The OED definition of ‘germ’ that most closely fits the context of Tolkien’s use of the word is:

‘That from which anything springs or may spring.’

So Tolkien is asserting that the mid 1930’s ‘germ’ poem is basically the foundation stone of his later development of Tom.

This again throws grave doubt on the theories that try and claim Tom as a Silmarillion character renamed, and then compound the felony by trying to straitjacket Goldberry into a similar mistaken slot.

While it might be argued (erroneously as I shall demonstrate later} that the Tom of LOTR, imported figure though he may be, was redefined by Tolkien to fit into the earlier Silmarillion Legendarium and thus has shades of or is Aule, Eru, Eru’s representative in ME, A Maia ’;gone native’; A Maia of Yavanna The last Maia to enter Ea, Orome, Tulkas, or Ulmo (the nonsense list is endless} the one very clear fact is that Tom as a character per se was developed, ab initio outside the realms of either The Silmarillion or LOTR.

He starts out as one of the oldest figures in King Bonhedig’s kingdom, and then disappears for some time. When next we meet him, several years later, in the poem that Tolkien describes as the germ of Tom Bombadil’ he himself is not described physically, although the King Bonhedig physical description reappears in The Adventures of Tom Bombadil in The Oxford Magazine in 1934.

To be continued

halfir 02/Oct/2005 at 12:47 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
For those of you who are folowing this thread please note that I have amended the first post entitled The Earlier Tom Bombadil {Mon 26 Sept 2005, 00:57} to include some confirmatory information from Father John Tolkien (vie Chrtistina Scull) that the colors and clothing  of Tom Bombadil the Dutch Doll were indeed the template for the color and dress of Tom in LOTR.
halfir 02/Oct/2005 at 12:47 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
For those of you who are folowing this thread please note that I have amended the first post entitled The Earlier Tom Bombadil {Mon 26 Sept 2005, 00:57} to include some confirmatory information from Father John Tolkien (vie Chrtistina Scull) that the colors and clothing  of Tom Bombadil the Dutch Doll were indeed the template for the color and dress of Tom in LOTR.
halfir 05/Oct/2005 at 06:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The “Germ Poem”

Hindsight, it is said, is twenty-twenty vision. One of the dangers we all face in analyzing the progression of Tolkien’s thought and the development of his characters, is that we know what came after. There is thus a great risk of falling into the trap of seeing in precursor stories, a foreshadowing of what came later. In some cases this is actually the case, in other’s it is our projecting what came after on to what came before and seeing a causal relationship when there is none.

While this is a vice of which I am only too well aware, and one which I have tried to avoid in this analysis of Tom Bombadil, I thought it pertinent to flag it at this point, so that those reading this thread and its successors, have, as it were a sense of caveat emptor- though in this instance it is more a sense of ‘Reader Beware’ than the more traditional ‘Buyer beware’!

‘(Said I)
’Ho! Tom Bombadil
Whither are you going
With John Pompador
Down the River rowing?’

(Said he)
Through Long Congelby,
Stoke Canonicorum,
Past King’s Singelton
To Bumby Cocalorum

To call Bill Willoughby,
Whatever he be doing,
And ax Harry Larraby
What beer he is a-brewing

And he sang)
’Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’

In some ways the “Germ poem’ as Tolkien called it, produced in the mid-1930’s, appears to be something of a disappointment.

The earlier, 1920’s “Bonhedig fragment’ had contained a physical description of Tom, and some assessment of his character:

he was a hale and hearty fellow.

which tells us about him per se as well as his physical constitution.

In comparison, the ‘Germ Poem’ tells us nothing at all about him per se - being apparently simply a dialogue between Tom and the unnamed ‘I’ about the journeys of Tom B.

So why call it the “germ’ of that much more rounded character that was to appear in 1934 in The Oxford magazine, and even more so in 1937 –when it had become – in part- the ‘spirit of the vanishing Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’.

Moreover, in LOTR and The Letters the character becomes even more complex, leading to the famous ‘Enigma’ comment.

I think the answer probably lies in the fact that with the ‘Germ Poem’ Tolkien had returned to a character that he had only briefly considered in a children’s story that never got beyond the first paragraph.

In the ‘Germ Poem’ Tom becomes an idee fixe in Tolkien’s personal ‘Legendarium’, and, although he develops dramatically over following the following years, the ‘Germ poem’ demarcates the time when Tom absolutely entered the ‘canon’ of Tolkien’s characters- hence his description of the poem as the :

‘germ of Tom Bombadil’

Lewis’s quote from Tolkien, referrred to in a previous post, that :

1.there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside {Tolkien}

2.What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them.{Tolkien}

had been made before June 1930, and before the ‘mid –thirties’ ‘Germ Poem’ was produced.

In a diary entry of the 19th August 1947, commenting on a walking tour in which he, Tolkien, and others had participated, Warnie Lewis- the brother of C S Lewis- and a fellow Inkling wrote:

‘Tollers fitted easily into our regime and I think he enjoyed himself. His one fault turned out to be that he wouldn’t trot at our pace in harness; he will keep going all day on a walk, but to him, with his botanical and entomological interests, a walk, no matter what its length, is what we would call an extended stroll, while he calls us “ruthless walkers” {Brothers and Friends The Diaries of Major Warren Hamilton Lewis- my bold emphasis}

and

‘From time to time I contrasted this holiday with the Hugo one, {Hugo Dyson a fellow Inkling who objected to Tolkien’s reading of ‘The new Hobbit’ i.e. LOTR , Lecturer in English at Reading University until 1945 when he became Fellow and Tutor in English at Merton College, Oxford}, and was struck with the diversity of taste and interest we have in the Inklings; particularly when Tollers stopped one day and gave us a talk on the formation of the Spanish chestnut at the identical spot which prompted Hugo to tell us the scandalous circumstances under which the late Earl of Beauchamp was ordered out of England by George V.’ {ibid}

These two excerpts, plus the many references to ‘Nature’ in The Letters, demonstrate Tolkien’s infinite appreciation of Nature, an appreciation which, it is suggested, in the 1930’s began to coalesce around the developing figure of Tom Bombadil.

‘(Said I)
’Ho! Tom Bombadil
Whither are you going
With John Pompador
Down the River rowing?’

(Said he)
Through Long Congelby,
Stoke Canonicorum,
Past King’s Singelton
To Bumby Cocalorum

The first two stanzas of the ‘Germ Poem’ introduce two themes which are continued in Tolkien’s further development of Tom; that of the River (capitalized) and of the very ‘Englishness’ of Tom and the Nature that surrounds him, a nature seen through the lens of the domesticated English countryside of S.E. England and the Midlands – Warwickshire, Berkshire, Oxfordshire, rather than a “Nature red in tooth and claw’ of the Amazonian Jungle.

And the places that are listed – both real and imagined:

Long Congelby,Stoke Canonicorum{the Medieval name for what is now Stoke Canion in Devonshire} King’s Singelton, Bumby Cocalorum

Are redolent of the ancient settlements of the English countryside- and emphasize once again the sense of ‘oldness’ and ‘history’ that surrounds the later Tom of LOTR.

To call Bill Willoughby,
Whatever he be doing,
And ax Harry Larraby
What beer he is a-brewing

Stanza 3 introduces two characters that Tom is visiting – again good old English country names, and the use of ‘ax’ which is an obsolete and a dialect form of ‘ask’ again emphasizes the Englishness, the rusticity, and the age that surrounds Tom, as does- ‘a-brewing’. And beer, of course, features a lot in LOTR.

(And he sang)
’Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Stanza 4 introduces song- and song surrounds Tom, as it does LOTR- an aspect that will be returned to later. We also have the introduction of motifs that occur most significantly in the later developed Tom’s story: willows – Reeds- and the stream.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’

In Stanza 5 – the last stanza we get: Merry is our singing, pools, shady glades, laughter run a-ringingagain, all motifs that appear in the later characterization and development of Tom and his story.

So what might initially disappointing, becomes more interesting as we read on.

And, the opening caveat about ‘reading backwards’ not withstanding, it is clear , yet again, that the character of Tom has been developed quite independently from his later LOTR incarnation- indeed- it is not too far-fetched to say that the Tom of LOTR was essentially developed by 1934 – as the poem in The Oxford Magazine clearly demonstrates , and it is to that we must now turn.

To Be Continued


 

Reynardine 05/Oct/2005 at 08:04 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1338 Posts: 1090 Joined: 01/Sep/2005
I’m sure your tired of praise by now, but nontheless, wonderful thread. I had never heard of the "germ" poem but your analysis on it was facsinating. (I also find it a beautifully written poem, especially the last two stanzas) Thanks for "peeling the onion" and I will definately be coming back!
Reynardine 05/Oct/2005 at 08:04 PM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1338 Posts: 1090 Joined: 01/Sep/2005
I’m sure your tired of praise by now, but nontheless, wonderful thread. I had never heard of the "germ" poem but your analysis on it was facsinating. (I also find it a beautifully written poem, especially the last two stanzas) Thanks for "peeling the onion" and I will definately be coming back!
halfir 05/Oct/2005 at 10:58 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tomnoddy: My pleasure. As I said earlier, what I hope to do is not so much provide ’the’ definitve answer to Tom- because I don’t think one exists- as to provide a resource base for others and a ’steer’ in those directions that I believe are the most fruitful- and correct - to follow.

I am glad you are enjoying the thread and hope that you will continue to do so.X(

Saranna 06/Oct/2005 at 06:43 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
I knew Devon would come into it somewhere, with all this "Where be you a-goin’" stuff.   I have aged relatives (even more aged than I) who still say that, albeit half-jocularly.  My grandparents’ generation still said it.
Saranna 06/Oct/2005 at 06:43 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
I knew Devon would come into it somewhere, with all this "Where be you a-goin’" stuff.   I have aged relatives (even more aged than I) who still say that, albeit half-jocularly.  My grandparents’ generation still said it.
halfir 06/Oct/2005 at 07:33 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Saranna: Thus emphasizing the Englishness and the antiquity of the saying- and its connection with the ageless land of England, with which Tom was soon (1937) to be identified.
halfir 06/Oct/2005 at 07:33 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Saranna: Thus emphasizing the Englishness and the antiquity of the saying- and its connection with the ageless land of England, with which Tom was soon (1937) to be identified.
Saranna 06/Oct/2005 at 07:45 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Indeed, Loremaster - you be quite right there, me ’ansum!
Taurëllo 06/Oct/2005 at 05:20 PM
Wine-taster of Mirkwood Points: 4771 Posts: 6393 Joined: 12/Nov/2004

halfir: a very thorough and in depth of the formation of Tom’s character...I look forward to readingthe rest, and hopefully being able to contribute something half-way intelligent. I have one question about the last post though. You mention Bill Willoughby and Harry Larraby as further examples of the particular "Englishness" and "oldness" surroundig Tom, but Who (or what) is John Pompador, who is rowing with Tom down the River?

halfir 06/Oct/2005 at 06:07 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

TH: Who (or what) is John Pompador, who is rowing with Tom down the River?

A good question to which I currently have no clear answer- if answer there be. It could be just a name that appealed to Tolkien, or it could carry a deeper significance. If the latter it is currently not apparent to me.

There is no OED entry under Pompador and I do not have to hand a dictionary of English surnames (the Web is unhelpful also in the matter of this particular name).

The closest OED entry is that of Pompadour {name of the Marquise de Pompadour the mistress of Louis XV} - a name given to a particular style of fashion or hairdressing. This did not enter the English language until 1752 - and I think it unlikely that Tolkien anglicized the spelling and used it, unless John Pompador is a ’flash fellow’ meant to complement in the extravagance of his dress that of Tom Bombadil as described in the ’King Bonhedig fragment’ - but again I think this unlikely.

An alternative option would be to take the ME word ’pomp’and attach it as an extended surname- Pompador- to mean a vain or ostentatious person- but this is again purely speculative, and I am not hapy with any of the explanations that I have speculatively offered.

As a footnote a surname  - such as Pompador -is a name borne hereditarily by all members of a family in male-line descent.

In Anglo~Saxon times people had personal names only, even when they were known by an additional ’to-name’ (e.g. Edmund Ironsides).

Hereditary surnames were first introduced into England by some of the leading followers of Williiam the Conqueror, and most were derived from the place-names of their estates, either in France or England. The custom began in the late 12th century and spread slowly with the South of England leading the way. By 1400 three- quarters of the population are reckoned to have borne hereditary family names and the process was complete by 1450.

Surnames had five main origins : place names, location of abode, occupations, nicknames and patronymics (derived from the personal name or occupation of a person’s father, or more rarely mother or relative e.g. Smithson, Fitzwalter).

Perhaps someone with a greater knowledge than I of the history of surnames can give us a closer explanation of Pompador- if indeed one exists.

halfir 06/Oct/2005 at 08:09 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tolkien As Children’s Storyteller- A Relevant Digression

‘The {Tolkien} children’s enthusiasm for ‘Roverandom’ encouraged him to write other stories to amuse them. Many of these got off to a good start but were never finished. Indeed some of them never progressed beyond the first few sentences , like the tale of Timothy Titus, a very small man who is called ‘Tom Tit’ by his friends. Among other stories begun but soon abandoned was the tale of Tom Bombadil, which is set in ‘the days of King Bonhedig’ and describes a characater who is clearly to be the hero of the tale..’ {Humphrey Carpenter- JRR Tolkien- A Biography- Part IV Chpter V1 The Storyteller}

What Carpenter does not tell us – other than regards Tom Bombadil- is that many of these stories were not just de novo inspirational ‘tellings’ or writings by Tolkien, many were written in response to childhood mishaps that befell his children, and were intended to comfort and assuage childhood grief or calm childhood fears. But in some instances- and The Adventures of Tom Bombadil –1934- is a prime example- what started out as a response to a child’s unhappiness or fear was transmuted by the crucible of the Master’s genius into a character that carried an altogether more substantial meaning as far as Tolkien was concerned.

But this too reasserts the point that with the creation of Tom Bombadil, Tolkien had created, outside the Legendarium of The Silmarillion and LOTR, a character whom he later had to assimilate into that Legendarium- but only LOTR, not The Silmarillion.

In her essay Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings {Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Christina Scull makes the following very pertinent comments regarding the way in which childish griefs and fears were utilized by the master both to create characters and stories to comfort and reassure his children- and provide a seed-bed of inspiration for his creative genius:

1.Even with the LOTR Tolkien maintained the habit of incorporating his children’s toys into his stories. ‘As originally conceived , apart from Tom Bombadil, Bingo Bolger-Baggins (the precursor of Frodo Baggins) deived hisname from the Bingos, a family of toy koala bears owned by the Tolkien children.

2.‘In an interview for Radio Blackburn….Michael Tolkien said that when he was a child they used to have riverside picnics with many willow trees nearby. One day he got caught up in the roots of a willow tree, tripped over them and fell in the river and was within an inch of being drowned when his father heard him splashing about and jumped in the river to rescue him. Michael found this a frightening experience, and his father had made up a story of Old Man Willow slinging him in the water, perhaps to bring his fear to the surface’.

3.John used to enjoy frightening the younger ones by switching off all the lights upstairs when they were going to bed and then with two torches imitating Gollum {The Hobbit} and his great shining eyes.Perhaps this was the source of the barrow-wight waiting upstairs for Tom.

4.Another fear of Michael’s which might have influenced the later Lord of the Rings Barrow-wight episode is that he had a real terror of spiders and used to have nightmares in which a sort of hand or a spider came out from a curtain; one is reminded of the crawling arm of the Barrow-wight and that as Frodo left the barrow he thought he saw a severed hand wriggling still, like a wounded spider, in a heap of fallen earth.’

5.’Tolkien used incidents from his own and his family’s experiences in his writings,and earlier writings were changed and reused in later writings.’

But, as has been observed earlier:

‘childish griefs and fears were utilized by the master both to create characters and stories to comfort and reassure his children- and provide a seed-bed of inspiration for his creative genius”

and

what started out as a response to a child’s unhappiness or fear was transmuted by the crucible of the Master’s genius into a character that carried an altogether more substantial meaning as far as Tolkien was concerned.

Tom Bombadil was very much of this genre but Tolkien’s genius allowed him to transcend the limited experience and create out of Tom a character that – far from representing anything created in the LOTR or The Silmarillion Legendarium was the product of his own personal Legendarium, which in Tom found Tolkien’s own concepts of Englishness, place, Nature, and a whole plethora of other aspects – which of course leads us back to the title of the thread- ‘Peeling the Onion”.

To Be Continued

halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 01:17 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- The Texts of the 1934 and 1962 versions

Please note that stanzas marked A refer to the 1934 version and stanzas marked B to the 1962 version. Where version A differs from version B, version A is given in blue, and version B in red. Where the two versions are the same they are noted together as A and B and denoted by the color black.

I owe –as ever- a huge debt of gratitude to my great friend, and the Plaza’s ‘source-guru’- geordie for making the 1934 version available to me.

After this post , on the two versions, in - Comparisons : Section 1, I will be commenting on words or images that might need an explanation. I will not at that juncture be commenting on the differences between the two versions and the reasons therefore.

After that, Comparisons :Section 2 I will compare Version A with the picture we are given of Tom and Goldberry in Letter # 19 and FOTR chapters: The Old Forest, In the House of Tom Bombadil, Fog on the Barrow-Downs, At The Sign of the Prancing Pony, Strider and The Council of Elrond. The Tom Bombadil references in ROTK- Homeward Bound will be dealt with in later sections.

I will conclude the comparison section Comparisons Section 3: by comparing the texts of versions A and B and demonstrate how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ letter – Letter # 19 and the Tom of FOTR.

I will then continue the analysis of Tom Bombadil: Peeling the Onion by looking at a series of other aspects of Tom.I would request that anyone wishing to post comments does not anticipate future comparison sections, but sticks to the section currently under review.

This post contains the A -1934 and B – 1962 Versions of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’s feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

B 1

Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather;
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle
ran from a grassy well down into the dingle.

A 2

Old Tom Bombadil walked about the meadows
Gathering the buttercups, a-chasing of the shadows,
tickling the bumblebees a-buzzing in the flowers
siting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

B 2

Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows
gathering the buttercups, running after shadows,
tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers,
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

A 3 and B 3

There his beard dangled long down into the water:
up came Goldberry, the River-woman’s daughter;
pulled Tom’s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a –swallowing.

A 4 and B 4

‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’
said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing,
frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat,
startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather –hat!’

A 5 and B 5

‘You bring it back again, there’s a pretty maiden!’
said Tom Bombadil. ‘I do not care for wading.
Go down! Sleep again where the pools are shady
far below the willow-roots, little water- lady!’

A 6 and B 6

Back to her mother’s house in the deepest hollow
swam young Goldberry. But Tom, he would not follow;
on knotted willow-roots he sat in sunny weather,
drying his yellow boots and his draggled feather.

A 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.

B 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather
.

A 8 and B 8

‘Ha, Tom Bombadil! What be you a-thinking,
peeping inside my tree, watching me a-drinking
deep in my wooden house, tickling me with feather,
dripping wet down my face like a rainy weather?’

A 9 and B 9

You let me out again, Old Man Willow!
I am stiff lying here; they’re no sort of pillow,
your hard crooked roots. Drink you river-water!
Go back to sleep again like the River daughter!

A 10

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking,
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Tom he sat a-listening.
On the boughs, piping birds were chirruping and whistling
Tom saw the butterflies quivering and winking:
Tom called the conies out till the sun was sinking.

B 10

Willow-man let him loose when he heard him speaking;
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Out from willow-dingle
Tom went walking on up the Withywindle.
Under the forest eaves- he sat a-while a-listening:
on the boughs the piping birds were chirruping and whistling.
Butterflies about his head went quivering and winking,
until grey clouds came up, as the sun was sinking.

A 11

Then Tom went away. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river
Clouds passed, hurrying drops were falling helter-skelter;
Old Tom Bomdadil crept into a shelter

B 11

Then Tom hurried on. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river;
a wind blew, shaken leaves chilly drops were dripping;
into a sheltering hole Old Tom went skipping.

A 12 and B 12

Out came Badger-brock with his snowy forehead,
and his dark blinking eyes. In the hill he quarried
with his wife and many sons. By the coat they caught him,
pulled him inside their earth, down their tunnels brought him.

A 13 and B 13

Inside their secret house, there they sat a mumbling;
’Ho Tom Bombadil! Where have you come tumbling,
bursting in the front-door? Badger-folk have caught you.
You’ll never find it out, the way we have brought you!’

A14 and B 14

Now old Badger-brock, do you hear me talking?
You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.
Show me to your backdoor under briar –roses;
then clean grimy paws, wipe your earthy noses!
Go back to sleep again on your straw pillow,
Like fair Goldberry and Old Man Willow!’

A 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

B 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’
They showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

A 16

Old Tom Bombadil hurried home to supper,
unlocked his house again, opened up the shutter,
l
et in the setting sun in the kitchen shining
watched stars peering out and the moon climbing.

B 16

Rain had passed. The sky was clear, and in the summer- gloaming,
Old Tom Bombadil laughed , as he came homing,
unlocked his door again, and opened up a shutter,
In the kitchen round the lamp moths began to flutter;
Tom through the window saw stars come winking,
and the new slender moon early westward sinking.

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’s got loose tonight; under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

B 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle;
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil! Look what night has brought you!
I’m here behind the door! Now at last I’ve caught you!
You’d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up there on hill-top with the ring of stones round.
He’s got loose again. Under earth he’ll take you.
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you

A 18

Go out! Shut the door, and don’t slam it after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

B 18

’Go out! Shut the door, and never come back after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

B19

Out fled Barrow-wight through the window leaping,
through the yard, over wall like a shadow sweeping,
up hill wailing went back to leaning stone –rings,
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

A 20 and B 20

Old Tom Bombadil lay upon his pillow
sweeter than Goldberry, quieter than Willow,
snugger than the Badger-folk or the Barrow-dwellers;
slept like a humming-top, snored like a bellows.

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

B 21

He woke-up in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
He clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-
but one day Tom he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
an old song singing fair to birds upon the bushes.

B 22

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water.
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water -songs to birds upon the bushes.

A 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping through the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’ll find no lover!’

B 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’ll find no lover!’

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
.

B 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle

A 25 and B 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
sitting on the door-step chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.


To be continued :Next: Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation.

halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 01:17 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- The Texts of the 1934 and 1962 versions

Please note that stanzas marked A refer to the 1934 version and stanzas marked B to the 1962 version. Where version A differs from version B, version A is given in blue, and version B in red. Where the two versions are the same they are noted together as A and B and denoted by the color black.

I owe –as ever- a huge debt of gratitude to my great friend, and the Plaza’s ‘source-guru’- geordie for making the 1934 version available to me.

After this post , on the two versions, in - Comparisons : Section 1, I will be commenting on words or images that might need an explanation. I will not at that juncture be commenting on the differences between the two versions and the reasons therefore.

After that, Comparisons :Section 2 I will compare Version A with the picture we are given of Tom and Goldberry in Letter # 19 and FOTR chapters: The Old Forest, In the House of Tom Bombadil, Fog on the Barrow-Downs, At The Sign of the Prancing Pony, Strider and The Council of Elrond. The Tom Bombadil references in ROTK- Homeward Bound will be dealt with in later sections.

I will conclude the comparison section Comparisons Section 3: by comparing the texts of versions A and B and demonstrate how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ letter – Letter # 19 and the Tom of FOTR.

I will then continue the analysis of Tom Bombadil: Peeling the Onion by looking at a series of other aspects of Tom.I would request that anyone wishing to post comments does not anticipate future comparison sections, but sticks to the section currently under review.

This post contains the A -1934 and B – 1962 Versions of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil.

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’s feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

B 1

Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather;
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle
ran from a grassy well down into the dingle.

A 2

Old Tom Bombadil walked about the meadows
Gathering the buttercups, a-chasing of the shadows,
tickling the bumblebees a-buzzing in the flowers
siting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

B 2

Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows
gathering the buttercups, running after shadows,
tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers,
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

A 3 and B 3

There his beard dangled long down into the water:
up came Goldberry, the River-woman’s daughter;
pulled Tom’s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a –swallowing.

A 4 and B 4

‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’
said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing,
frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat,
startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather –hat!’

A 5 and B 5

‘You bring it back again, there’s a pretty maiden!’
said Tom Bombadil. ‘I do not care for wading.
Go down! Sleep again where the pools are shady
far below the willow-roots, little water- lady!’

A 6 and B 6

Back to her mother’s house in the deepest hollow
swam young Goldberry. But Tom, he would not follow;
on knotted willow-roots he sat in sunny weather,
drying his yellow boots and his draggled feather.

A 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.

B 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather
.

A 8 and B 8

‘Ha, Tom Bombadil! What be you a-thinking,
peeping inside my tree, watching me a-drinking
deep in my wooden house, tickling me with feather,
dripping wet down my face like a rainy weather?’

A 9 and B 9

You let me out again, Old Man Willow!
I am stiff lying here; they’re no sort of pillow,
your hard crooked roots. Drink you river-water!
Go back to sleep again like the River daughter!

A 10

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking,
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Tom he sat a-listening.
On the boughs, piping birds were chirruping and whistling
Tom saw the butterflies quivering and winking:
Tom called the conies out till the sun was sinking.

B 10

Willow-man let him loose when he heard him speaking;
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Out from willow-dingle
Tom went walking on up the Withywindle.
Under the forest eaves- he sat a-while a-listening:
on the boughs the piping birds were chirruping and whistling.
Butterflies about his head went quivering and winking,
until grey clouds came up, as the sun was sinking.

A 11

Then Tom went away. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river
Clouds passed, hurrying drops were falling helter-skelter;
Old Tom Bomdadil crept into a shelter

B 11

Then Tom hurried on. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river;
a wind blew, shaken leaves chilly drops were dripping;
into a sheltering hole Old Tom went skipping.

A 12 and B 12

Out came Badger-brock with his snowy forehead,
and his dark blinking eyes. In the hill he quarried
with his wife and many sons. By the coat they caught him,
pulled him inside their earth, down their tunnels brought him.

A 13 and B 13

Inside their secret house, there they sat a mumbling;
’Ho Tom Bombadil! Where have you come tumbling,
bursting in the front-door? Badger-folk have caught you.
You’ll never find it out, the way we have brought you!’

A14 and B 14

Now old Badger-brock, do you hear me talking?
You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.
Show me to your backdoor under briar –roses;
then clean grimy paws, wipe your earthy noses!
Go back to sleep again on your straw pillow,
Like fair Goldberry and Old Man Willow!’

A 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

B 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’
They showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

A 16

Old Tom Bombadil hurried home to supper,
unlocked his house again, opened up the shutter,
l
et in the setting sun in the kitchen shining
watched stars peering out and the moon climbing.

B 16

Rain had passed. The sky was clear, and in the summer- gloaming,
Old Tom Bombadil laughed , as he came homing,
unlocked his door again, and opened up a shutter,
In the kitchen round the lamp moths began to flutter;
Tom through the window saw stars come winking,
and the new slender moon early westward sinking.

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’s got loose tonight; under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

B 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle;
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil! Look what night has brought you!
I’m here behind the door! Now at last I’ve caught you!
You’d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up there on hill-top with the ring of stones round.
He’s got loose again. Under earth he’ll take you.
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you

A 18

Go out! Shut the door, and don’t slam it after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

B 18

’Go out! Shut the door, and never come back after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

B19

Out fled Barrow-wight through the window leaping,
through the yard, over wall like a shadow sweeping,
up hill wailing went back to leaning stone –rings,
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

A 20 and B 20

Old Tom Bombadil lay upon his pillow
sweeter than Goldberry, quieter than Willow,
snugger than the Badger-folk or the Barrow-dwellers;
slept like a humming-top, snored like a bellows.

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

B 21

He woke-up in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
He clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-
but one day Tom he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
an old song singing fair to birds upon the bushes.

B 22

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water.
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water -songs to birds upon the bushes.

A 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping through the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’ll find no lover!’

B 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’ll find no lover!’

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
.

B 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle

A 25 and B 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
sitting on the door-step chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.


To be continued :Next: Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation.

halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 09:57 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation. Stanzas 1-10

Please note A = 1934 (blue) version; B= 1962 version (red) A and B = both versions the same (black).

Also note that Section 1 only deals with words or phrases that might not be clear to all- it does not attempt to deal with analysis which is the province of later sections of Comparisons.

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’s feather 1
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

1 This is the only time that Tolkien refers to a peacock’s feather – a very non- English bird in terms of indigenous avians! He is probably emphasizing the color ‘peacock blue’ –although he omits the reference to ‘blue’. In the ‘Bonhedig fragment’ Tom wears a blue feather as he does in LOTR. The significance of the later rejection of the term ‘peacock’s feather’ will be dealt with in Comparisons Section 3 when the two versions of the poem are compared and contrasted.

B 1

Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather;
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle
ran from a grassy well down into the dingle.

A 2

Old Tom Bombadil walked about the meadows
Gathering the buttercups, a-chasing of the shadows,
tickling the bumblebees a-buzzing in the flowers
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

B 2

Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows
gathering the buttercups, running after shadows,
tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers,
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

A 3 and B 3

There his beard dangled long down into the water:
up came Goldberry, the River-woman’;s daughter;
pulled Tom’;s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a –swallowing.

A 4 and B 4

‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’;
said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing,
frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat, 1
startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather –hat!’; 2

1 Finny fish- having fins. Often used as a poetic image.

2 dabchicks –The Little Grebe- a small water-bird noted for its diving

A 5 and B 5

‘You bring it back again, there’;s a pretty maiden!’;
said Tom Bombadil. ‘I do not care for wading.
Go down! Sleep again where the pools are shady
far below the willow-roots, little water- lady!’

A 6 and B 6

Back to her mother’;s house in the deepest hollow
swam young Goldberry. But Tom, he would not follow;
on knotted willow-roots he sat in sunny weather,
drying his yellow boots and his draggled feather.

A 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.

B 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather
.

A 8 and B 8

‘Ha, Tom Bombadil! What be you a-thinking,
peeping inside my tree, watching me a-drinking
deep in my wooden house, tickling me with feather,
dripping wet down my face like a rainy weather?’;

A 9 and B 9

You let me out again, Old Man Willow!
I am stiff lying here; they’re no sort of pillow,
your hard crooked roots. Drink you river-water!
Go back to sleep again like the River daughter!

A 10

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking,
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Tom he sat a-listening.
On the boughs, piping birds were chirruping and whistling 1
Tom saw the butterflies quivering and winking:
Tom called the conies out till the sun was sinking.2

1 piping birds -sounding shrilly

2 called the conies out  – Call out- to summon; Conies  Rabbits cf. TT –Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

B 10

Willow-man let him loose when he heard him speaking;
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Out from willow-dingle
Tom went walking on up the Withywindle.
Under the forest eaves- he sat a-while a-listening:
on the boughs the piping birds were chirruping and whistling.
Butterflies about his head went quivering and winking,
until grey clouds came up, as the sun was sinking.

To Be Continued
halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 09:57 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation. Stanzas 1-10

Please note A = 1934 (blue) version; B= 1962 version (red) A and B = both versions the same (black).

Also note that Section 1 only deals with words or phrases that might not be clear to all- it does not attempt to deal with analysis which is the province of later sections of Comparisons.

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’s feather 1
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

1 This is the only time that Tolkien refers to a peacock’s feather – a very non- English bird in terms of indigenous avians! He is probably emphasizing the color ‘peacock blue’ –although he omits the reference to ‘blue’. In the ‘Bonhedig fragment’ Tom wears a blue feather as he does in LOTR. The significance of the later rejection of the term ‘peacock’s feather’ will be dealt with in Comparisons Section 3 when the two versions of the poem are compared and contrasted.

B 1

Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather;
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle
ran from a grassy well down into the dingle.

A 2

Old Tom Bombadil walked about the meadows
Gathering the buttercups, a-chasing of the shadows,
tickling the bumblebees a-buzzing in the flowers
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

B 2

Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows
gathering the buttercups, running after shadows,
tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers,
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

A 3 and B 3

There his beard dangled long down into the water:
up came Goldberry, the River-woman’;s daughter;
pulled Tom’;s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a –swallowing.

A 4 and B 4

‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’;
said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing,
frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat, 1
startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather –hat!’; 2

1 Finny fish- having fins. Often used as a poetic image.

2 dabchicks –The Little Grebe- a small water-bird noted for its diving

A 5 and B 5

‘You bring it back again, there’;s a pretty maiden!’;
said Tom Bombadil. ‘I do not care for wading.
Go down! Sleep again where the pools are shady
far below the willow-roots, little water- lady!’

A 6 and B 6

Back to her mother’;s house in the deepest hollow
swam young Goldberry. But Tom, he would not follow;
on knotted willow-roots he sat in sunny weather,
drying his yellow boots and his draggled feather.

A 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.

B 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather
.

A 8 and B 8

‘Ha, Tom Bombadil! What be you a-thinking,
peeping inside my tree, watching me a-drinking
deep in my wooden house, tickling me with feather,
dripping wet down my face like a rainy weather?’;

A 9 and B 9

You let me out again, Old Man Willow!
I am stiff lying here; they’re no sort of pillow,
your hard crooked roots. Drink you river-water!
Go back to sleep again like the River daughter!

A 10

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking,
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Tom he sat a-listening.
On the boughs, piping birds were chirruping and whistling 1
Tom saw the butterflies quivering and winking:
Tom called the conies out till the sun was sinking.2

1 piping birds -sounding shrilly

2 called the conies out  – Call out- to summon; Conies  Rabbits cf. TT –Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit

B 10

Willow-man let him loose when he heard him speaking;
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Out from willow-dingle
Tom went walking on up the Withywindle.
Under the forest eaves- he sat a-while a-listening:
on the boughs the piping birds were chirruping and whistling.
Butterflies about his head went quivering and winking,
until grey clouds came up, as the sun was sinking.

To Be Continued
halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 10:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation. Stanzas 11-18

Please note A = 1934 (blue) version; B= 1962 version (red) A and B = both versions the same (black).

Also note that Section 1 only deals with words or phrases that might not be clear to all- it does not attempt to deal with analysis which is the province of later sections of Comparisons.

A 11

Then Tom went away. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river
Clouds passed, hurrying drops were falling helter-skelter;1
Old Tom Bomdadil crept into a shelter

1 helter-skelter – in disordered haste

B 11

Then Tom hurried on. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river;
a wind blew, shaken leaves chilly drops were dripping;
into a sheltering hole Old Tom went skipping.

A 12 and B 12

Out came Badger-brock with his snowy forehead, 1
and his dark blinking eyes. In the hill he quarried
with his wife and many sons. By the coat they caught him,
pulled him inside their earth, down their tunnels brought him
.

1 Badger- brock - brock is an early English name for badger. It is frequently used to act as the name of a particular badger in folklore and children’s tales- and is also often used poetically in the same fashion , or to emphasize the ‘badgerness’ of the animal. A more unpleasant connotation is that ‘brock’ carries with it an association of a smelly or stinking thing. In the Mabigoni there is a game called ’the badger in the bag’ which represents the beating of a man with badger-like qulaities i.e. those of slyness and deceit.

A 13 and B 13

Inside their secret house, there they sat a mumbling;
’;Ho Tom Bombadil! Where have you come tumbling,
bursting in the front-door? Badger-folk have caught you.
You’;ll never find it out, the way we have brought you!’;

A14 and B 14

’;Now old Badger-brock, do you hear me talking?
You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.
Show me to your backdoor under briar –roses;
then clean grimy paws, wipe your earthy noses!
Go back to sleep again on your straw pillow,
Like fair Goldberry and Old Man Willow!’;

A 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
.

B 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
They showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

A 16

Old Tom Bombadil hurried home to supper,
unlocked his house again, opened up the shutter,
let in the setting sun in the kitchen shining
watched stars peering out and the moon climbing.

B 16

Rain had passed. The sky was clear, and in the summer- gloaming, 1
Old Tom Bombadil laughed , as he came homing, 2
unlocked his door again, and opened up a shutter,
In the kitchen round the lamp moths began to flutter;
Tom through the window saw stars come winking,
and the new slender moon early westward sinking.

1 summer gloaming – evening twilight

2 came homing –returned home

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’s got loose tonight; under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

B 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle;
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil! Look what night has brought you!
I’m here behind the door! Now at last I’ve caught you!
You’d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up there on hill-top with the ring of stones round.
He’;s got loose again. Under earth he’;ll take you.
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you

A 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and don’t slam it after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

B 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and never come back after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

To Be Continued

halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 10:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation. Stanzas 11-18

Please note A = 1934 (blue) version; B= 1962 version (red) A and B = both versions the same (black).

Also note that Section 1 only deals with words or phrases that might not be clear to all- it does not attempt to deal with analysis which is the province of later sections of Comparisons.

A 11

Then Tom went away. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river
Clouds passed, hurrying drops were falling helter-skelter;1
Old Tom Bomdadil crept into a shelter

1 helter-skelter – in disordered haste

B 11

Then Tom hurried on. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river;
a wind blew, shaken leaves chilly drops were dripping;
into a sheltering hole Old Tom went skipping.

A 12 and B 12

Out came Badger-brock with his snowy forehead, 1
and his dark blinking eyes. In the hill he quarried
with his wife and many sons. By the coat they caught him,
pulled him inside their earth, down their tunnels brought him
.

1 Badger- brock - brock is an early English name for badger. It is frequently used to act as the name of a particular badger in folklore and children’s tales- and is also often used poetically in the same fashion , or to emphasize the ‘badgerness’ of the animal. A more unpleasant connotation is that ‘brock’ carries with it an association of a smelly or stinking thing. In the Mabigoni there is a game called ’the badger in the bag’ which represents the beating of a man with badger-like qulaities i.e. those of slyness and deceit.

A 13 and B 13

Inside their secret house, there they sat a mumbling;
’;Ho Tom Bombadil! Where have you come tumbling,
bursting in the front-door? Badger-folk have caught you.
You’;ll never find it out, the way we have brought you!’;

A14 and B 14

’;Now old Badger-brock, do you hear me talking?
You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.
Show me to your backdoor under briar –roses;
then clean grimy paws, wipe your earthy noses!
Go back to sleep again on your straw pillow,
Like fair Goldberry and Old Man Willow!’;

A 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
.

B 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
They showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

A 16

Old Tom Bombadil hurried home to supper,
unlocked his house again, opened up the shutter,
let in the setting sun in the kitchen shining
watched stars peering out and the moon climbing.

B 16

Rain had passed. The sky was clear, and in the summer- gloaming, 1
Old Tom Bombadil laughed , as he came homing, 2
unlocked his door again, and opened up a shutter,
In the kitchen round the lamp moths began to flutter;
Tom through the window saw stars come winking,
and the new slender moon early westward sinking.

1 summer gloaming – evening twilight

2 came homing –returned home

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’s got loose tonight; under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

B 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle;
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil! Look what night has brought you!
I’m here behind the door! Now at last I’ve caught you!
You’d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up there on hill-top with the ring of stones round.
He’;s got loose again. Under earth he’;ll take you.
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you

A 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and don’t slam it after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

B 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and never come back after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’

To Be Continued

halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 10:38 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation. Stanzas 19- 26

Please note A = 1934 (blue) version; B= 1962 version (red) A and B = both versions the same (black).

Also note that Section 1 only deals with words or phrases that might not be clear to all- it does not attempt to deal with analysis which is the province of later sections of Comparisons.

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

B19

Out fled Barrow-wight through the window leaping,
through the yard, over wall like a shadow sweeping,
up hill wailing went back to leaning stone –rings,
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

A 20 and B 20

Old Tom Bombadil lay upon his pillow
sweeter than Goldberry, quieter than Willow,
snugger than the Badger-folk or the Barrow-dwellers;
slept like a humming-top, snored like a bellows
.

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

B 21

He woke-up in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
He clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-
but one day Tom he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
an old song singing fair to birds upon
the bushes.

B 22

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water.
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water -songs to birds upon the bushes.

A 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping through the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

B 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
.

B 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle

A 25 and B 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading, 1
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

1 honey-moon – used in the traditional sense of the first month after marriage- not the modern one of a holiday taken by the bride and groom after marriage. In Medieval times, it was customary for a newly married couple to be given enough mead to drink a glass every night for the first month (or moon cycle) of their marriage. If the wife became pregnant and bore a son, the mead maker was congratulated and held in great esteem for his potent nectar. This is the origin of the term honey-moon.

A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the door-step chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

To Be Continued

halfir 08/Oct/2005 at 10:38 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons : Section 1 Commentary on words or images that might need an explanation. Stanzas 19- 26

Please note A = 1934 (blue) version; B= 1962 version (red) A and B = both versions the same (black).

Also note that Section 1 only deals with words or phrases that might not be clear to all- it does not attempt to deal with analysis which is the province of later sections of Comparisons.

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

B19

Out fled Barrow-wight through the window leaping,
through the yard, over wall like a shadow sweeping,
up hill wailing went back to leaning stone –rings,
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

A 20 and B 20

Old Tom Bombadil lay upon his pillow
sweeter than Goldberry, quieter than Willow,
snugger than the Badger-folk or the Barrow-dwellers;
slept like a humming-top, snored like a bellows
.

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

B 21

He woke-up in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
He clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-
but one day Tom he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
an old song singing fair to birds upon
the bushes.

B 22

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water.
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water -songs to birds upon the bushes.

A 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping through the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

B 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter.
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
.

B 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle

A 25 and B 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading, 1
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

1 honey-moon – used in the traditional sense of the first month after marriage- not the modern one of a holiday taken by the bride and groom after marriage. In Medieval times, it was customary for a newly married couple to be given enough mead to drink a glass every night for the first month (or moon cycle) of their marriage. If the wife became pregnant and bore a son, the mead maker was congratulated and held in great esteem for his potent nectar. This is the origin of the term honey-moon.

A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the door-step chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

To Be Continued

halfir 10/Oct/2005 at 02:23 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom in 1934

On Feb 15 1934 The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was launched on an unsuspecting world in The Oxford Magazine- a literary magazine very much for adults.

The same magazine had published –9 Nov 1933 – ‘Errantry’ which was included in revised version in the 1962 The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- and Looney also appearing in revised form in the 1962 publication under the name The Sea Bell. And in a separate publication- the Chronicle Convent of the Sacred Heart, Roehampton, had appeared in 1934 Firiel, later also to appear in revised form in the 1962 publication as The Last Ship. However, The Sea Bell and The Last Ship were extensively rewritten after the publication of LOTR, and although Elvenhome is mentioned, there is nothing to connect the poems in their earlier form with either LOTR, or indeed with what became the posthumously published The Silmarillion.

Indeed Tolkien himself makes it very clear that there is no real association, simply an attempt to further assimilate Tom. B into the LOTR Legendarium:

‘The only possible link is the fiction that they come from the Shire from about the period of the Lord of the Rings. But that fits some uneasily. I have done a great deal of work, trying to make them fit better: if not much to their good, I hope not to their serious detriment.’ {Letter # 237 - 12 April 1962 -to Rayner Unwin regarding the publication of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil –my bold emphasis.}

Moreover, although we know that Tolkien had introduced Tom in the ‘King Bonhedig fragment’ and returned to him in the ‘Germ ‘ poem, the readers of the Oxford magazine in 1934 had never met him before, nor were they given any clues as to who he might be or what he was, as there was neither editorial, nor authorial comment published with the poem.

But what emerged in 1934 was a character definition, of Tom, much more fully developed than previously, alongside a group of other characters, Old Man Willow, Goldberry, a family of Badgers, and a Barrow-wight who were all (other than the Badgers)* to feature in the as yet to be constructed LOTR- which did not see its first draft chapter in being until 1938:

‘I enclose copy of Chapter 1 ‘A long –expected Party’ of possible sequel to The Hobbit’…’ {Letter # 23 – 4 Feb 1938 -Tolkien to Charles Furth of Allen & Unwin, publishers of The Hobbit.}

Thus Tom, Goldberry, OMW, and the Barrow -wight were imported into not created for LOTR.

And although those who seek to straightjacket, Tom, and Goldberry into either LOTR singularly, or into LOTR and The Silmarillion jointly– will waffle-on about how in the great creative-mind of Tolkien and his work to date in 1934 on ME there was a subliminal understanding that Tom was to be part of the as yet unwritten LOTR and the unfinished Silmarillion- there is not a single piece of textual evidence to support such a contention. Indeed, all that we have, and it is not insignificant, argues quite to the contrary.

Indeed, in later writings about Tom, Tolkien, in The Letters ,speaks of :

assimilating Tom B. to the Lord of the Rings world..’ {Letter # 240-my bold emphasis}

Moreover in December 1937 – Tolkien had written to Allen & Unwin:

‘Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story?’ {Letter # 19}

No wonder there were problems assimilating Tom B. to the Lord of the Rings world..’ because although he was later to be in that world, he was never fully of it, anymore than Goldberry was.

But we will return to those particular pieces of erroneous interpretation in detail later.

*(other than the Badgers) Although the Badgers do not ’feature’ as such in LOTR they are in fact referred to. In FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil we have the line:

’Tom was telling an absurd story about badgers and their queer ways’ yet another refernce back to the 1934 poem.

.To be continued

halfir 10/Oct/2005 at 09:16 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom in 1934 (contd.)

N.B. In the following post the A numbers refer to the 1934 text which has been given in full, previously.

So what does the 1934 poem tells us about Tom- quite outside- at this point in time, as he was, from LOTR and most certainly The Silmarillion?

1. Godberry, (A 3) OMW, (A 7)( family of Badgers (who do not feature in LOTR. Although the Badgers do not ’feature’ as such in LOTR they are in fact referred to. In FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil we have the line:’Tom was telling an absurd story about badgers and their queer ways’ yet another reference back to the 1934 poem)(A 12) a Barrow-wight ( A 17), and the River-woman (A 25}are all involved in Tom’s life.

2. He is referred to as ‘Old’, ‘merry’ and wearing a peacock’s feather (later dropped for LOTR).(A1). He was also ‘Old’ in the ‘King Bonhedig fragment’, but in both texts Tolkien is using ‘old’ in two quite different ways. He use it to determine the age- longevity- of Bombadil –he is ‘old’ and this is consistent throughout all the Bombadil writings (except the ‘Germ Poem’ where ‘old’ does not appear at all. But he is ‘old’ also in the sense of ‘a good ’ol boy’ (USA) or ‘my dear old thing’ (UK)- which carries with it a sense of affection for a warm , friendly figure- which Tom most certainly is.

3. His color coding ‘blue and yellow’ is consistent with the ‘King Bonhedig fragment.’ (A1)

4. He is associated with meadows and with sitting by the waterside for hours. (A2)

5. Goldberry is introduced to us for the first time, and she pulls Tom by his beard into the water (A3)

6. She asks him where he is going and tells him that his hat is drowning. He does not answer her question on where he is going, but asks her to retrieve his hat as he doesn’t like wading.{With the possible implication that he doesn’t like to be in water but likes to be by it, thus defining him as of the land, and Goldberry as of the water.) Most importantly he tells her to sleep, Implying that she should not be awake. But in this poem he doesn’t sing her to sleep- he tells her to sleep. {A 4 and A 5}

7.Goldberry return’s to her mother’s house and Tom, she having retrieved his hat, sits on the willow-roots to dry out. {A 6}

8. Willow-man – introduced for the first time- wakes up and sings Tom to sleep, catching him in a crack. {A 7}

9 As with Goldberry- Tom tells Willow-man to go to sleep, as with the River-daughter (the first time this term is used) indeed he links her to the command. {A9}

10. Willow-man obeys Tom’s spoken command. Tom sits listening to the mutterings of Willow-man and ‘called the conies out’ – summoned the rabbits. Notice now, how three times, Goldberry, OMW, the rabbits, Tom’s spoken commands are obeyed by the creatures and beings of the wild. {A10}

11. Tom ‘crept into a shelter’ the later totally empowered Tom has not yet fully developed in Tolkien’s thinking, the Tom of LOTR would not have done any ‘creeping’. {A 11}

12. Tom is dragged from his shelter by Badger-brock and his family and taken to their underground burrow. Badger –brock is absent from the story of the LOTR developed Tom. {A12}

13. Tom commands Badger-brock to let him go – again a spoken command because Tom must be ‘walking’. He tells Brock and his family to go to sleep, like Goldbery and OMW, whom he names.{A 14}

14. The Badgers are frightened by Tom’s command and what they have done, they apologize and free him, returning to their burrow - ‘Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking.’ For the first time we get an inkling of the power that resides in Tom’s spoken commands. {A 15}

15. Returning home Tom is accosted by a Barrow-wight, hiding behind his bedroom door who threatens to make him ‘cold and pale’. Tom commands him to go- again a spoken command – and, like Goldberry, OMW, and the badgers to go back to sleep- Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow! {A 18}

16. The Barrow-wight obeys him and returns to his lonely mound- ‘crying.’ { A 19}

17. Tom sleeps a perfectly natural and contented sleep. {A20} and awakes in the morning happy and relaxed, singing what is to later become in LOTR main motif: Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’ He also ‘whistles like a starling’ – raucously – Tom is always portrayed as a very noisy person! {A21}

18. We are told that Tom is a clever fellow and that he is never caught:

‘None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water’

How do we reconcile that with Tom having been caught three times in the previous verses? Note the omission of ‘forest’ from the 1934 poem- at this point Tom’s mastery appears to be limited to ‘meadows…. down dale, over hill, jumping over water’ Note too that seasonality is now mentioned in conjunction with Tom winter and summer-time. I do not think we can, at this point, read anything into ‘shadows’ other than to mean ‘shaded areas’.

However, Tom goes and catches Goldberry, sitting in the rushes dressed in green and singing an old song to the birds. {A 22}

19. The river-beings are outraged by Tom’s behavior:

Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried,

And even Goldberry’s heart is set ‘fluttering’.

Tom tells Goldberry that she will come home with him:

The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter

Notice how similar this vegetarian offering is to that of Beorn’s in The Hobbit – loaves, butter, honey, {Queer Lodgings} – Beorn, although a man, is a shape-changer and close to nature!

Recall also Tolkien’s remark recalled by C S Lewis:

‘What had been earth and air and later corn, and later still bread was in them. {They Stand Together Letter 143}

talking in the context of man living in harmony with nature.

Tom also tells’ her not to mind her mother, in her reedy pool’, as she will find no lover there. Again we have the reference to ‘mother’ as yet no mention of ‘River-woman’. {A23}

20.For the wedding Tom removes his hat and feather and is crowned with buttercups, Goldberry:

with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green

and Tom sings like a starling – again- and hums like a honey-bee- creatures of nature. {A24}

21. The beings and creatures mentioned before are aware of and join in the celebrations- although some – the River-woman- finally identified as such, and the Barrow-wight – are not overjoyed! {A25}

22. Tom pays no attention to any nightly noises-{ advice that is later given to different players -in LOTR -In The House  of Tom Bombadil}} - friendly or otherwise, and in the morning sits on the ‘doorstep’. Goldberry combs ‘tresses yellow’.{A26}

To Be Continued

 


halfir 10/Oct/2005 at 09:16 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom in 1934 (contd.)

N.B. In the following post the A numbers refer to the 1934 text which has been given in full, previously.

So what does the 1934 poem tells us about Tom- quite outside- at this point in time, as he was, from LOTR and most certainly The Silmarillion?

1. Godberry, (A 3) OMW, (A 7)( family of Badgers (who do not feature in LOTR. Although the Badgers do not ’feature’ as such in LOTR they are in fact referred to. In FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil we have the line:’Tom was telling an absurd story about badgers and their queer ways’ yet another reference back to the 1934 poem)(A 12) a Barrow-wight ( A 17), and the River-woman (A 25}are all involved in Tom’s life.

2. He is referred to as ‘Old’, ‘merry’ and wearing a peacock’s feather (later dropped for LOTR).(A1). He was also ‘Old’ in the ‘King Bonhedig fragment’, but in both texts Tolkien is using ‘old’ in two quite different ways. He use it to determine the age- longevity- of Bombadil –he is ‘old’ and this is consistent throughout all the Bombadil writings (except the ‘Germ Poem’ where ‘old’ does not appear at all. But he is ‘old’ also in the sense of ‘a good ’ol boy’ (USA) or ‘my dear old thing’ (UK)- which carries with it a sense of affection for a warm , friendly figure- which Tom most certainly is.

3. His color coding ‘blue and yellow’ is consistent with the ‘King Bonhedig fragment.’ (A1)

4. He is associated with meadows and with sitting by the waterside for hours. (A2)

5. Goldberry is introduced to us for the first time, and she pulls Tom by his beard into the water (A3)

6. She asks him where he is going and tells him that his hat is drowning. He does not answer her question on where he is going, but asks her to retrieve his hat as he doesn’t like wading.{With the possible implication that he doesn’t like to be in water but likes to be by it, thus defining him as of the land, and Goldberry as of the water.) Most importantly he tells her to sleep, Implying that she should not be awake. But in this poem he doesn’t sing her to sleep- he tells her to sleep. {A 4 and A 5}

7.Goldberry return’s to her mother’s house and Tom, she having retrieved his hat, sits on the willow-roots to dry out. {A 6}

8. Willow-man – introduced for the first time- wakes up and sings Tom to sleep, catching him in a crack. {A 7}

9 As with Goldberry- Tom tells Willow-man to go to sleep, as with the River-daughter (the first time this term is used) indeed he links her to the command. {A9}

10. Willow-man obeys Tom’s spoken command. Tom sits listening to the mutterings of Willow-man and ‘called the conies out’ – summoned the rabbits. Notice now, how three times, Goldberry, OMW, the rabbits, Tom’s spoken commands are obeyed by the creatures and beings of the wild. {A10}

11. Tom ‘crept into a shelter’ the later totally empowered Tom has not yet fully developed in Tolkien’s thinking, the Tom of LOTR would not have done any ‘creeping’. {A 11}

12. Tom is dragged from his shelter by Badger-brock and his family and taken to their underground burrow. Badger –brock is absent from the story of the LOTR developed Tom. {A12}

13. Tom commands Badger-brock to let him go – again a spoken command because Tom must be ‘walking’. He tells Brock and his family to go to sleep, like Goldbery and OMW, whom he names.{A 14}

14. The Badgers are frightened by Tom’s command and what they have done, they apologize and free him, returning to their burrow - ‘Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking.’ For the first time we get an inkling of the power that resides in Tom’s spoken commands. {A 15}

15. Returning home Tom is accosted by a Barrow-wight, hiding behind his bedroom door who threatens to make him ‘cold and pale’. Tom commands him to go- again a spoken command – and, like Goldberry, OMW, and the badgers to go back to sleep- Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow! {A 18}

16. The Barrow-wight obeys him and returns to his lonely mound- ‘crying.’ { A 19}

17. Tom sleeps a perfectly natural and contented sleep. {A20} and awakes in the morning happy and relaxed, singing what is to later become in LOTR main motif: Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’ He also ‘whistles like a starling’ – raucously – Tom is always portrayed as a very noisy person! {A21}

18. We are told that Tom is a clever fellow and that he is never caught:

‘None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water’

How do we reconcile that with Tom having been caught three times in the previous verses? Note the omission of ‘forest’ from the 1934 poem- at this point Tom’s mastery appears to be limited to ‘meadows…. down dale, over hill, jumping over water’ Note too that seasonality is now mentioned in conjunction with Tom winter and summer-time. I do not think we can, at this point, read anything into ‘shadows’ other than to mean ‘shaded areas’.

However, Tom goes and catches Goldberry, sitting in the rushes dressed in green and singing an old song to the birds. {A 22}

19. The river-beings are outraged by Tom’s behavior:

Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried,

And even Goldberry’s heart is set ‘fluttering’.

Tom tells Goldberry that she will come home with him:

The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter

Notice how similar this vegetarian offering is to that of Beorn’s in The Hobbit – loaves, butter, honey, {Queer Lodgings} – Beorn, although a man, is a shape-changer and close to nature!

Recall also Tolkien’s remark recalled by C S Lewis:

‘What had been earth and air and later corn, and later still bread was in them. {They Stand Together Letter 143}

talking in the context of man living in harmony with nature.

Tom also tells’ her not to mind her mother, in her reedy pool’, as she will find no lover there. Again we have the reference to ‘mother’ as yet no mention of ‘River-woman’. {A23}

20.For the wedding Tom removes his hat and feather and is crowned with buttercups, Goldberry:

with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green

and Tom sings like a starling – again- and hums like a honey-bee- creatures of nature. {A24}

21. The beings and creatures mentioned before are aware of and join in the celebrations- although some – the River-woman- finally identified as such, and the Barrow-wight – are not overjoyed! {A25}

22. Tom pays no attention to any nightly noises-{ advice that is later given to different players -in LOTR -In The House  of Tom Bombadil}} - friendly or otherwise, and in the morning sits on the ‘doorstep’. Goldberry combs ‘tresses yellow’.{A26}

To Be Continued

 


Dashûr 11/Oct/2005 at 02:41 AM
Warlord of Mordor Points: 10045 Posts: 5507 Joined: 05/Sep/2005

Master halfir, I haven’t been around for long but have already seen two sides of you: a serious one and a silly/insane one (symbolic sillyness thread) and by putting those two sides together I come to the conclusion that you are seriously insane, which you have proven with this thread .

Seriously though, wonderful work, verging on unbelievable. Keep up the good work... please!

Saranna 11/Oct/2005 at 03:22 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Excellent, Loremaster - I am pleased in particular with your elucidation of the point that they are a union of Water and Land - Tom’s reluctance to enter the water, though he is happy to snatch Goldberry away from it, (which I called kidnapping in my thread on Goldberry, to the annoyance of many!) Willowman of course is a denizen of the EDGE between water and land, tips Frodo into the water but swallows some of his victims too. Bombadil’s power is not just over the element in which he prefers to dwell.
halfir 11/Oct/2005 at 04:25 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

MB: Seriously insane is about right!X( And rest assured that this one -as they say of the best plays ’will run and run!’

Saranna: OMW is in some senses a liminal being- he exists at the edge of two different worlds. And Western symbolism associates the external shape willow with grief and death. But as we have seen, Tolkien ’domesticates’ the wildness of  Nature and its inhabitants by using the ’lens’ of the domestic and comfortable scenery of the counties of Berkshire and Oxforshire and it is not without reason that he describes Tom- in a later development, as the ’spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside.’ (This will be the subject of a later detailed post}.

halfir 11/Oct/2005 at 04:25 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

MB: Seriously insane is about right!X( And rest assured that this one -as they say of the best plays ’will run and run!’

Saranna: OMW is in some senses a liminal being- he exists at the edge of two different worlds. And Western symbolism associates the external shape willow with grief and death. But as we have seen, Tolkien ’domesticates’ the wildness of  Nature and its inhabitants by using the ’lens’ of the domestic and comfortable scenery of the counties of Berkshire and Oxforshire and it is not without reason that he describes Tom- in a later development, as the ’spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside.’ (This will be the subject of a later detailed post}.

Saranna 13/Oct/2005 at 06:55 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Yes, indeed - one notes that the eaves of the Forest - its edges - are neatly clipped, thus supporting both the liminal theme and the English Country Garden one!
halfir 15/Oct/2005 at 02:02 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Editorial Amendment and Retraction

 A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the
dock-step chopping sticks of willow, 1
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.1
dock-step
– one of the steps of a ‘dock-step’; the steps leading down to a moored boat to allow access and egress

B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

Please note  that my original rendition of the 1934 poem contained an incorrect line{ though this has now been amended} :

sitting on the dock-step chopping sticks of willow,

This, like in the 1962 version should have read doorstep, although the 1934 version is not hyphenated- simply ’doorstep’, whereas the 1962 version is ’door-step’.

This means that the interpretation relating the line possibly back to the ’Germ poem’ is incorrect, although of course in that poem Tom did travel down river with John Pompador in a boat.

The problem arose because I departed form my good friend ’geordie’s’ transcript, through the ill-advice of another.

As Geordie was taking a well-deserved holiday I was unable to send my completed version of the 1934 poem to him for final confirmation. I therefore sent it  to a friend in London as I was under the impression he had a copy of the 1934 version.

He did- but he had taken it from The Uncharted Realms of Tolkien - by Alex Lewis and Elizabeth Currie. Lewis’ source quotes have been - justly- complained of before, and here again he has completely misquoted the original line- putting in ’dock-step’ instead of ’door-step.

If I had realized this was from Lewis- whose work I have- but whose ideas and comments  I use very circumspectly - I would not have included it.

So, my profuse apologies to all for my mistake. It does not of course in any way impair the main thrust of my argument to date.

My sincere thanks to geordie who - gentleman and scholar that he is- allowed me to correct my own error- which of course he immediately spotted on his return from holiday.

And a warning to me - and us all- not just about Lewis’s book but about the use of secondary sources as a medium for definitive information- caveat emptor indeed!X(

N.B. Given the difficulties the Plaza is currently experiencing I will post my next comments when I manage to open this thread without  successive time-outs! Today I had over twenty+ before I finally succeeded!X(

 

halfir 15/Oct/2005 at 02:02 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Editorial Amendment and Retraction

 A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the
dock-step chopping sticks of willow, 1
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.1
dock-step
– one of the steps of a ‘dock-step’; the steps leading down to a moored boat to allow access and egress

B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

Please note  that my original rendition of the 1934 poem contained an incorrect line{ though this has now been amended} :

sitting on the dock-step chopping sticks of willow,

This, like in the 1962 version should have read doorstep, although the 1934 version is not hyphenated- simply ’doorstep’, whereas the 1962 version is ’door-step’.

This means that the interpretation relating the line possibly back to the ’Germ poem’ is incorrect, although of course in that poem Tom did travel down river with John Pompador in a boat.

The problem arose because I departed form my good friend ’geordie’s’ transcript, through the ill-advice of another.

As Geordie was taking a well-deserved holiday I was unable to send my completed version of the 1934 poem to him for final confirmation. I therefore sent it  to a friend in London as I was under the impression he had a copy of the 1934 version.

He did- but he had taken it from The Uncharted Realms of Tolkien - by Alex Lewis and Elizabeth Currie. Lewis’ source quotes have been - justly- complained of before, and here again he has completely misquoted the original line- putting in ’dock-step’ instead of ’door-step.

If I had realized this was from Lewis- whose work I have- but whose ideas and comments  I use very circumspectly - I would not have included it.

So, my profuse apologies to all for my mistake. It does not of course in any way impair the main thrust of my argument to date.

My sincere thanks to geordie who - gentleman and scholar that he is- allowed me to correct my own error- which of course he immediately spotted on his return from holiday.

And a warning to me - and us all- not just about Lewis’s book but about the use of secondary sources as a medium for definitive information- caveat emptor indeed!X(

N.B. Given the difficulties the Plaza is currently experiencing I will post my next comments when I manage to open this thread without  successive time-outs! Today I had over twenty+ before I finally succeeded!X(

 

Bearamir 17/Oct/2005 at 12:31 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Ladies & Gentlemen:  During the transfer process, this thread developed "doppelganger syndrome"...in other words, every post was reflected twice.  In order to rectify the situation, I have manually pruned this thread back down to it’s original size (deleting extraneous commentary while doing so).

Please let me know if there is something seems amiss with this thread...I tried to be very careful with my editing...but mistakes do happen (and this was a large, complicated thread to begin with)...

Bearamir 17/Oct/2005 at 12:31 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Ladies & Gentlemen:  During the transfer process, this thread developed "doppelganger syndrome"...in other words, every post was reflected twice.  In order to rectify the situation, I have manually pruned this thread back down to it’s original size (deleting extraneous commentary while doing so).

Please let me know if there is something seems amiss with this thread...I tried to be very careful with my editing...but mistakes do happen (and this was a large, complicated thread to begin with)...

halfir 17/Oct/2005 at 04:35 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Bear: A magnificent labor of Hercules- and judicious editing of that  which did not actually contribute anything to the thread. Thank you so much for your efforts. You, Mo and other Admins  so clearly demonstrate in ways such as this, the unselfish and dedicated work that is done by Admin which we all too infrequently realize.My thanks and appreciation to you all, though particularly to you for your proofing and editing, and Mo for his computer wizadry.X(
halfir 17/Oct/2005 at 04:35 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Bear: A magnificent labor of Hercules- and judicious editing of that  which did not actually contribute anything to the thread. Thank you so much for your efforts. You, Mo and other Admins  so clearly demonstrate in ways such as this, the unselfish and dedicated work that is done by Admin which we all too infrequently realize.My thanks and appreciation to you all, though particularly to you for your proofing and editing, and Mo for his computer wizadry.X(
Ankala Teaweed 18/Oct/2005 at 06:27 PM
March Warden of the Shire Points: 6116 Posts: 4487 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Bear! Wado!! Thank you!!
Ankala Teaweed 18/Oct/2005 at 06:27 PM
March Warden of the Shire Points: 6116 Posts: 4487 Joined: 15/Apr/2002
Bear! Wado!! Thank you!!
halfir 19/Oct/2005 at 12:23 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

1937 – Tom Bombadil: The Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire Countryside.

In an earlier post it has been stated by me that:

‘the character of Tom has been developed quite independently from his later LOTR incarnation- indeed- it is not too far-fetched to say that the Tom of LOTR was essentially developed by 1934 – as the poem in The Oxford Magazine clearly demonstrates” {Wednesday Oct 05 @ 18:59}

Of course this is an overstatement – a ‘headline’ used to stress the point that long before the advent of LOTR, Tom Bombadil had become firmly established as a figure of significance in Tolkien’s personal ‘Legendarium’ and was – as such - to be imported into LOTR – and , of course, further refined as a result of that importation.

But the point to stress- and it cannot be done too frequently- is of Tom’s prior developed existence by 1934 – an existence that although modified - appparently- in 1937, and in LOTR, nonetheless has a discrete and specific identity which was built on in later developments- 1937 and LOTR- not determined by them.

Ab origine, to quote a later HOME LOTR comment on Tom Bombadil, Tom was very much in existence in 1934, as were those with whom he was later to interface in LOTR – OMW, Goldberry, and the Barrow–wight, but, like him, they had no LOTR provenance.

By December 1937 the success of The Hobbit {published on 21 September 1937} had both its reading public and its publisher- Allen & Unwin, clamoring for more – a clamor that put Tolkien into something of a dilemma.

Writing to Stanley Unwin in December 1937 (Letter # 19 16 Dec 1937) Tolkien said:

‘And what more can hobbits do? They can be comic, but their comedy is suburban unless set against things more elemental. But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time. Perhaps a new (if similar) line? Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story? Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined, in the enclosed verses? Still I could enlarge the portrait {My bold emphasis and underline}.

Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined, in the enclosed verses? The ‘enclosed verses’, that Tolkien was referring to, are of course the verses of the poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil which first appeared in published form in The Oxford Magazine of Feb 15 1934, which we have looked at in great detail in previous post above. And what Tolkien is saying is that it is possible that Tom had been so well defined in those verses ‘fully enshrined ‘, that the character could not be developed. Yet he then qualifies that by saying ‘Still I could enlarge the portrait’ .In other words, that he felt it was possible to ‘enlarge the portrait’.

Moreover, he is now associating Tom with a pre-Hobbit period of history ‘But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time. Perhaps a new (if similar) line?’ Indeed, by implication he is linking him, possibly, with orcs and dragons, whereas in 1934 we have only OMW, badgers, Goldberry, and a Barrow-wight!

And, to add to our confusion, he calmly announces that Tom is the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside a proposition, which, to be frank, unless one were psychic, it would be impossible to derive from the 1934 poem! We might have hazarded a guess at linking him with Nature, or being some form of nature spirit from the 1934 verses, but it defies logic that anyone, other than the author himself, could use those verses to have been so site specific as to locate Tom in the counties of Oxfordshire and Berkshire!

Had this been what he intended in 1934, something as specific as the genius loci of the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside, or was this yet a further refinement and development in his thinking about Tom that had taken place between the publication of the poem in February 1934 and the letter to Stanley Unwin of 1937?

To be continued

 

 

 

 

halfir 19/Oct/2005 at 12:23 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

1937 – Tom Bombadil: The Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire Countryside.

In an earlier post it has been stated by me that:

‘the character of Tom has been developed quite independently from his later LOTR incarnation- indeed- it is not too far-fetched to say that the Tom of LOTR was essentially developed by 1934 – as the poem in The Oxford Magazine clearly demonstrates” {Wednesday Oct 05 @ 18:59}

Of course this is an overstatement – a ‘headline’ used to stress the point that long before the advent of LOTR, Tom Bombadil had become firmly established as a figure of significance in Tolkien’s personal ‘Legendarium’ and was – as such - to be imported into LOTR – and , of course, further refined as a result of that importation.

But the point to stress- and it cannot be done too frequently- is of Tom’s prior developed existence by 1934 – an existence that although modified - appparently- in 1937, and in LOTR, nonetheless has a discrete and specific identity which was built on in later developments- 1937 and LOTR- not determined by them.

Ab origine, to quote a later HOME LOTR comment on Tom Bombadil, Tom was very much in existence in 1934, as were those with whom he was later to interface in LOTR – OMW, Goldberry, and the Barrow–wight, but, like him, they had no LOTR provenance.

By December 1937 the success of The Hobbit {published on 21 September 1937} had both its reading public and its publisher- Allen & Unwin, clamoring for more – a clamor that put Tolkien into something of a dilemma.

Writing to Stanley Unwin in December 1937 (Letter # 19 16 Dec 1937) Tolkien said:

‘And what more can hobbits do? They can be comic, but their comedy is suburban unless set against things more elemental. But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time. Perhaps a new (if similar) line? Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story? Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined, in the enclosed verses? Still I could enlarge the portrait {My bold emphasis and underline}.

Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined, in the enclosed verses? The ‘enclosed verses’, that Tolkien was referring to, are of course the verses of the poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil which first appeared in published form in The Oxford Magazine of Feb 15 1934, which we have looked at in great detail in previous post above. And what Tolkien is saying is that it is possible that Tom had been so well defined in those verses ‘fully enshrined ‘, that the character could not be developed. Yet he then qualifies that by saying ‘Still I could enlarge the portrait’ .In other words, that he felt it was possible to ‘enlarge the portrait’.

Moreover, he is now associating Tom with a pre-Hobbit period of history ‘But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time. Perhaps a new (if similar) line?’ Indeed, by implication he is linking him, possibly, with orcs and dragons, whereas in 1934 we have only OMW, badgers, Goldberry, and a Barrow-wight!

And, to add to our confusion, he calmly announces that Tom is the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside a proposition, which, to be frank, unless one were psychic, it would be impossible to derive from the 1934 poem! We might have hazarded a guess at linking him with Nature, or being some form of nature spirit from the 1934 verses, but it defies logic that anyone, other than the author himself, could use those verses to have been so site specific as to locate Tom in the counties of Oxfordshire and Berkshire!

Had this been what he intended in 1934, something as specific as the genius loci of the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside, or was this yet a further refinement and development in his thinking about Tom that had taken place between the publication of the poem in February 1934 and the letter to Stanley Unwin of 1937?

To be continued

 

 

 

 

Reynardine 20/Oct/2005 at 12:23 AM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1338 Posts: 1090 Joined: 01/Sep/2005
halfir: Still more interesting developments, Well done! I am wondering about Tom’s connection to the Barrow-wight. Why does Tom seem to have this innate power over it? Is it simply a matter of the Barrow-wight being geographically in the area that Tom has power over, or is there something more? Was Tom already established as "the master" over his lands in 1934, or did that not come until LotR? Also, had Tolkien already mapped out the geography of Middle-Earth at this point? Were the Withywindle and the Barrow Downs located where they were in LotR, or is the "Adventures of Tom Bombadil" not connected geographically to the Lord of the Rings?
Reynardine 20/Oct/2005 at 12:23 AM
Soldier of Mordor Points: 1338 Posts: 1090 Joined: 01/Sep/2005
halfir: Still more interesting developments, Well done! I am wondering about Tom’s connection to the Barrow-wight. Why does Tom seem to have this innate power over it? Is it simply a matter of the Barrow-wight being geographically in the area that Tom has power over, or is there something more? Was Tom already established as "the master" over his lands in 1934, or did that not come until LotR? Also, had Tolkien already mapped out the geography of Middle-Earth at this point? Were the Withywindle and the Barrow Downs located where they were in LotR, or is the "Adventures of Tom Bombadil" not connected geographically to the Lord of the Rings?
halfir 20/Oct/2005 at 03:13 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tomnoddy: Some very perceptive questions!X( I hope my responses are equally so!X(

 In the 1934 poem Tom has power over all those creatures and beings he comes into contact with:

- Goldberry
- OMW
-The badgers
-The conies (rabbits)
-The Barrow-wight

BUT - and it is a very importan but he is not yet the ’Master’. He is caught by Goldberry, OMW and the Badgers, but they - and the Barrow-wight release him as a result of his spoken command.Moreover, he is at this point only in ’control’ in:

None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water

the forest is not mentioned.

These points, ’Master’ , ’Song’, and "Forest’ are very significant - and I will return to them later- and represent the more developed Tom of the 1937 letter # 19 and LOTR. The ’singing’ that Tom does in the 1934 poem stems from his ebullient spirit- it is only in LOTR that he is seen as using song  as a mechanism of control.

Is it simply a matter of the Barrow-wight being geographically in the area that Tom has power over, or is there something more

Your question -partially answered in the previous paragraph, anticipates resposnes that I will give later. Suffice it to say at this point that I think the answer to your question is -’both’. Tom - in the 1934 poem has- I think- become more fixed in Tolkien’s mind in terms of place and has established some boundaries, but nothing like the developed way of LOTR. And the Barrow-wight falls within the boundaries that Tom has established, but Tom too has innate powers of control that he chooses to exercise only in those boundaues.

The 1934 Adventures of Tom Bombadil does not align with the geography of ME as exemplified in LOTR- again this is a later development used- among other things - to help assimilate Tom into the LOTR story, into which he was -to use Tolkien’s word  - ’inserted’. Thus the  1934 poem has nor real relationship at all to either the geography or the world of ME - that was to come later.

And remember, all the creatures and beings that Tom comes into contact with- with the exception of the badgers- are- like him- imported from the 1934 poem into LOTR - and while changed and developed to fit that story are not the products of it.

 

halfir 20/Oct/2005 at 03:13 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tomnoddy: Some very perceptive questions!X( I hope my responses are equally so!X(

 In the 1934 poem Tom has power over all those creatures and beings he comes into contact with:

- Goldberry
- OMW
-The badgers
-The conies (rabbits)
-The Barrow-wight

BUT - and it is a very importan but he is not yet the ’Master’. He is caught by Goldberry, OMW and the Badgers, but they - and the Barrow-wight release him as a result of his spoken command.Moreover, he is at this point only in ’control’ in:

None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water

the forest is not mentioned.

These points, ’Master’ , ’Song’, and "Forest’ are very significant - and I will return to them later- and represent the more developed Tom of the 1937 letter # 19 and LOTR. The ’singing’ that Tom does in the 1934 poem stems from his ebullient spirit- it is only in LOTR that he is seen as using song  as a mechanism of control.

Is it simply a matter of the Barrow-wight being geographically in the area that Tom has power over, or is there something more

Your question -partially answered in the previous paragraph, anticipates resposnes that I will give later. Suffice it to say at this point that I think the answer to your question is -’both’. Tom - in the 1934 poem has- I think- become more fixed in Tolkien’s mind in terms of place and has established some boundaries, but nothing like the developed way of LOTR. And the Barrow-wight falls within the boundaries that Tom has established, but Tom too has innate powers of control that he chooses to exercise only in those boundaues.

The 1934 Adventures of Tom Bombadil does not align with the geography of ME as exemplified in LOTR- again this is a later development used- among other things - to help assimilate Tom into the LOTR story, into which he was -to use Tolkien’s word  - ’inserted’. Thus the  1934 poem has nor real relationship at all to either the geography or the world of ME - that was to come later.

And remember, all the creatures and beings that Tom comes into contact with- with the exception of the badgers- are- like him- imported from the 1934 poem into LOTR - and while changed and developed to fit that story are not the products of it.

 

Saranna 20/Oct/2005 at 07:54 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Hmm - power over the forest - I am at once reminded of how the Old Forest itself seems to determine the direction taken by the 4 hobbits - drawing them down towards the Withywindle and OMW.  It almost feels as if the lie of the land itself can be changed by the power of the Forest in order to draw victims down - that would make OMW powerful indeed.  yet Tom skips so fearlessly through the forest and Goldberry "Dances down the withy-path" - by this time in JRRT’s conception their own powers are clearly very great, since they seem immune to everything that affects the hobbits so badly.
Saranna 20/Oct/2005 at 07:54 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
Hmm - power over the forest - I am at once reminded of how the Old Forest itself seems to determine the direction taken by the 4 hobbits - drawing them down towards the Withywindle and OMW.  It almost feels as if the lie of the land itself can be changed by the power of the Forest in order to draw victims down - that would make OMW powerful indeed.  yet Tom skips so fearlessly through the forest and Goldberry "Dances down the withy-path" - by this time in JRRT’s conception their own powers are clearly very great, since they seem immune to everything that affects the hobbits so badly.
halfir 20/Oct/2005 at 04:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: by this time in JRRT’s conception their own powers are clearly very great,

There is an undoubted deepening in character and increase in power  between the 1934 Tom and Goldberry and that shown in LOTR. Indeed, in the 1934 poem Goldbery as such is really only established as the River-woman’s daughter and Tom’s bride- she is given no real characterization, and even the ’seaonal’ refernces- which Tolkien was to comment on in Letter #210 are limited to Tom, not to her:

None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer
{Stanza 22 1934 version}

and of course, Tom’s power in the 1934 poem - while not vitiated by the Forest - OMW, Goldberry, Badgers, - does not control it and its denizens as it does in LOTR. Indeed I have already noted that in the 1934 poem the forest per se is excepted from the list of places in which Tom is never caught!

What is clear from the  King Bonhedig fragment through to the 1962 edition of The Adventures- is that Tolkien’s view and use of Tom changed and deepened significantly over time- but that is a subject for a much later post.

halfir 20/Oct/2005 at 04:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Saranna: by this time in JRRT’s conception their own powers are clearly very great,

There is an undoubted deepening in character and increase in power  between the 1934 Tom and Goldberry and that shown in LOTR. Indeed, in the 1934 poem Goldbery as such is really only established as the River-woman’s daughter and Tom’s bride- she is given no real characterization, and even the ’seaonal’ refernces- which Tolkien was to comment on in Letter #210 are limited to Tom, not to her:

None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer
{Stanza 22 1934 version}

and of course, Tom’s power in the 1934 poem - while not vitiated by the Forest - OMW, Goldberry, Badgers, - does not control it and its denizens as it does in LOTR. Indeed I have already noted that in the 1934 poem the forest per se is excepted from the list of places in which Tom is never caught!

What is clear from the  King Bonhedig fragment through to the 1962 edition of The Adventures- is that Tolkien’s view and use of Tom changed and deepened significantly over time- but that is a subject for a much later post.

halfir 20/Oct/2005 at 05:58 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom as a being of defined place

In a previous post I commented:

"And, to add to our confusion, he calmly announces that Tom is the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside a proposition, which, to be frank, unless one were psychic, it would be impossible to derive from the 1934 poem! We might have hazarded a guess at linking him with Nature, or being some form of nature spirit from the 1934 verses, but it defies logic that anyone, other than the author himself, could use those verses to have been so site specific as to locate Tom in the counties of Oxfordshire and Berkshire!

Had this been what he intended in 1934, something as specific as the genius loci of the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside, or was this yet a further refinement and development in his thinking about Tom that had taken place between the publication of the poem in February 1934 and the letter to Stanley Unwin of 1937?”

Unfortunately, the written record is silent regarding at what point Tolkien saw Tom incarnated as the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countrysideor, if anything does exist, I am not privy to it. My inclination is to plump for a date nearer the 1937 letter # 19 than 1934, but what I think is clear, is that by 1934 Tolkien had decided that Tom existed in a defined space, that there were boundaires to where he went. Just how defined those boundaries were, and by whom, is difficult to say, but they were certainly not as articulated as they became in LOTR where Tom clearly is the definer of his own boundaries.

If we return to the “Germ’ poem, the picture we get of Tom is one of a traveler, and a traveler over a fairly wide stretch of the English countryside (Tom’s ‘walking’ and ‘traveling’ will be examined later}, although in the ‘Germ’ poem he is rowing- not walking!

Through Long Congelby,
Stoke Canonicorum,
Past King’s Singelton
To Bumby Cocalorum

Stoke Canonicorum – as we know from CT’s note in HOME V1 (The Old Forest and the Withywindle) is the medieval name for what is now Stoke Canon – Devon. And Devon is a far cry from the:

Oxford and Berkshire countryside of the 1937 letter!

Yet by 1934 Tom is existing in a defined- although as yet not specified – area. His area is bounded by the locations of those with whom he interfaces- Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, the Barrow-wight. So , while Tolkien might well yet not have defined the specific geographical location that forms the subject of Tom’s wanderings, he has clearly demarcated some place by reference to the characters and creatures with whom Tom interacts. They are quite clearly ‘local’ although their locale is not yet specified.

Tolkien had a very strong sense of ’place’. It was part and parcel of what we might call the ‘Englishness in him. That is made clear in the comments he made to C S Lewis – quoted in an earlier post:

‘ Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

And in talking of the Shire in Letter # 178 {cf. also Letter # 181} he says:

‘It is in fact more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee’

and in Letter # 190 he writes:

But, of course if we drop the ‘fiction’ of long ago, ‘The Shire’ is based on rural England.. The toponymy (place names) of The Shire , to take the first list, is a ‘parody’ of that of rural England, in much the same sense as are its inhabitants: they go together and are meant to. After all the book is English, and written by an Englishman…”

And in referring to place-names of The Shire he remarks in Letter # 276:

‘The names already entered, even those that seem unlikely (as Nobottle) , are in fact devised according to the style, origins, and mode of formation of English (especially Midland) place names.’

Name and place are very important to Tolkien, they give identity. And sometime – I think between 1934 and 1936, Tolkien had finally come to identify Tom Bombadil with the countryside of Oxfordshire and Berkshire that he and his friends C S Lewis and Warnie Lewis and others walked so frequently.

And the Nature that is part of Tom’s persona was finally derived from the gentle, domesticated countryside of Berkshire and Oxfordhsire, rather than the wilds of the Yorkshire moors- which he also knew intimately from his days in Leeds.

As a consequence- as we have observed before :

Tolkien ’domesticates’ the wildness of Nature and its inhabitants by using the ’lens’ of the domestic and comfortable scenery of the counties of Berkshire and Oxforshire and it is not without reason that he describes Tom- in a later development, as the ’spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside.’

To be continued

 

 

halfir 20/Oct/2005 at 05:58 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom as a being of defined place

In a previous post I commented:

"And, to add to our confusion, he calmly announces that Tom is the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside a proposition, which, to be frank, unless one were psychic, it would be impossible to derive from the 1934 poem! We might have hazarded a guess at linking him with Nature, or being some form of nature spirit from the 1934 verses, but it defies logic that anyone, other than the author himself, could use those verses to have been so site specific as to locate Tom in the counties of Oxfordshire and Berkshire!

Had this been what he intended in 1934, something as specific as the genius loci of the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside, or was this yet a further refinement and development in his thinking about Tom that had taken place between the publication of the poem in February 1934 and the letter to Stanley Unwin of 1937?”

Unfortunately, the written record is silent regarding at what point Tolkien saw Tom incarnated as the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countrysideor, if anything does exist, I am not privy to it. My inclination is to plump for a date nearer the 1937 letter # 19 than 1934, but what I think is clear, is that by 1934 Tolkien had decided that Tom existed in a defined space, that there were boundaires to where he went. Just how defined those boundaries were, and by whom, is difficult to say, but they were certainly not as articulated as they became in LOTR where Tom clearly is the definer of his own boundaries.

If we return to the “Germ’ poem, the picture we get of Tom is one of a traveler, and a traveler over a fairly wide stretch of the English countryside (Tom’s ‘walking’ and ‘traveling’ will be examined later}, although in the ‘Germ’ poem he is rowing- not walking!

Through Long Congelby,
Stoke Canonicorum,
Past King’s Singelton
To Bumby Cocalorum

Stoke Canonicorum – as we know from CT’s note in HOME V1 (The Old Forest and the Withywindle) is the medieval name for what is now Stoke Canon – Devon. And Devon is a far cry from the:

Oxford and Berkshire countryside of the 1937 letter!

Yet by 1934 Tom is existing in a defined- although as yet not specified – area. His area is bounded by the locations of those with whom he interfaces- Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, the Barrow-wight. So , while Tolkien might well yet not have defined the specific geographical location that forms the subject of Tom’s wanderings, he has clearly demarcated some place by reference to the characters and creatures with whom Tom interacts. They are quite clearly ‘local’ although their locale is not yet specified.

Tolkien had a very strong sense of ’place’. It was part and parcel of what we might call the ‘Englishness in him. That is made clear in the comments he made to C S Lewis – quoted in an earlier post:

‘ Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

And in talking of the Shire in Letter # 178 {cf. also Letter # 181} he says:

‘It is in fact more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee’

and in Letter # 190 he writes:

But, of course if we drop the ‘fiction’ of long ago, ‘The Shire’ is based on rural England.. The toponymy (place names) of The Shire , to take the first list, is a ‘parody’ of that of rural England, in much the same sense as are its inhabitants: they go together and are meant to. After all the book is English, and written by an Englishman…”

And in referring to place-names of The Shire he remarks in Letter # 276:

‘The names already entered, even those that seem unlikely (as Nobottle) , are in fact devised according to the style, origins, and mode of formation of English (especially Midland) place names.’

Name and place are very important to Tolkien, they give identity. And sometime – I think between 1934 and 1936, Tolkien had finally come to identify Tom Bombadil with the countryside of Oxfordshire and Berkshire that he and his friends C S Lewis and Warnie Lewis and others walked so frequently.

And the Nature that is part of Tom’s persona was finally derived from the gentle, domesticated countryside of Berkshire and Oxfordhsire, rather than the wilds of the Yorkshire moors- which he also knew intimately from his days in Leeds.

As a consequence- as we have observed before :

Tolkien ’domesticates’ the wildness of Nature and its inhabitants by using the ’lens’ of the domestic and comfortable scenery of the counties of Berkshire and Oxforshire and it is not without reason that he describes Tom- in a later development, as the ’spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside.’

To be continued

 

 

halfir 21/Oct/2005 at 06:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Letter #19 – Is this the missing link?

Many scholars and commentators on Tolkien have seized on Letter # 19 and its reference to Tom as :

the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside

without aligning that statement with a number of other significant statements in the same letter.

Now, while I am the first to admit that what follows is speculation- although I hope intelligent speculation- I do believe that it might offer us some clues as to the linking of the Tom of the Oxford and Berkshire countryside with the Tom of the 1934 poem, and provide a bridge that begins the next stage of Tom’s development in Tolkien’s mind- that of linking Tom – an independently created figure, to the wider Legendarium of ME.

The 1934 poem had established Tom in a specific place- although as yet unnamed. It had shown that he had powers over others- using speech. It had shown although not yet Master he was able to free himself when caught, but that as yet, the forest was an uncomfortable place for him. It had associated him with summer and spring- an element of seasonality had been introduced. It had introduced three main characters with whom he was to be later associated - Goldberry, OMW, the Barrow-wight. It had demarcated him as of the land and Goldberry as of the water, and it had certainly associated him with Nature.

By 1937 – and Letter # 19 Tom’s unspecified place is specified the –(vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside of which he is the spirit or genius loci.

But, as yet, Tom is not associated with the wider Legendarium of ME and certainly not of LOTR – for Tolkien had as yet written nothing about LOTR.

But if we look carefully at Letter # 19 we can perhaps see- and I stress again that this is intelligent speculation- not fact- the beginning of a link between the independent Tom of 1934 and 1937 and the Tom who was later to become the enigmatic character of LOTR.

In the second paragraph of that letter- which is to Stanley Unwin, his publisher, Tolkien writes:

‘My chief joy comes from learning that the Silmarillion is not rejected with scorn…….I shall certainly now hope one day to be able, or to be able to afford , to publish the Silmarillion!

As Shippey has said – Author of the Century- The Silmarillion was very much ‘the work of his heart’.

Unwin’s had – quite rightly – rejected what they had seen of it at this point, but Tolkien makes it very clear that it is the real driving force behind his fictional writings. To quote again from Letter # 19:

‘ But I am sure you will sympathize when I say that the construction of elaborate and consistent mythology (and two languages) rather occupies the mind, and the Silmarils are in my heart. So that good ness knows what will happen’ {my bold emphasis}

So that good ness knows what will happen’bear this phrase in mind as it has, I believe, a critical significance for the linking of Tom with the wider Legendarium and more specifically, in the actual event- with the as yet unformulated LOTR.

We already know why Tolkien felt unable – as he then thought- to continue with further Hobbit adventures:

‘And what more can hobbits do? They can be comic, but their comedy is suburban unless set against things more elemental. But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time. {Letter # 19- my bold emphasis}

N.B. But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time.

‘Elemental’ and ‘before their time’ in a different sense perhaps to that meant here, but nonetheless real for that, Tom Bombadil was ‘elemental and ‘ before their time.’

And, as if in extension of this thought- which is of course mine- I cannot say definitely it was Tolkien’s, he goes on to say: . Perhaps a new (if similar) line?’ Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story? Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined, in the enclosed verses? Still I could enlarge the portrait {My bold and underline}.

So that good ness knows what will happen’ …….Perhaps a new (if similar) line? But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time.

Was Tolkien, however consciously or unconsciously in that amazingly fertile creative mind of his beginning to see the glimmer of linking all these various elements into a scenario that would answer Unwin’s request for another Hobbit story- allow his beloved Silmarillion some resonance, and weave the independent character of Tom into a story oforcs and dragons’?

And it would also allow the Tom of ‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countrysideto be elevated from the specificity of an English countryside area to the universal stage of a myth!

For, if we look at the final version of LOTR- that is in many ways just what did happen. In part- and unlike the elves- Tolkien had both his cake and ate it!

To be continued

halfir 21/Oct/2005 at 06:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Letter #19 – Is this the missing link?

Many scholars and commentators on Tolkien have seized on Letter # 19 and its reference to Tom as :

the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside

without aligning that statement with a number of other significant statements in the same letter.

Now, while I am the first to admit that what follows is speculation- although I hope intelligent speculation- I do believe that it might offer us some clues as to the linking of the Tom of the Oxford and Berkshire countryside with the Tom of the 1934 poem, and provide a bridge that begins the next stage of Tom’s development in Tolkien’s mind- that of linking Tom – an independently created figure, to the wider Legendarium of ME.

The 1934 poem had established Tom in a specific place- although as yet unnamed. It had shown that he had powers over others- using speech. It had shown although not yet Master he was able to free himself when caught, but that as yet, the forest was an uncomfortable place for him. It had associated him with summer and spring- an element of seasonality had been introduced. It had introduced three main characters with whom he was to be later associated - Goldberry, OMW, the Barrow-wight. It had demarcated him as of the land and Goldberry as of the water, and it had certainly associated him with Nature.

By 1937 – and Letter # 19 Tom’s unspecified place is specified the –(vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside of which he is the spirit or genius loci.

But, as yet, Tom is not associated with the wider Legendarium of ME and certainly not of LOTR – for Tolkien had as yet written nothing about LOTR.

But if we look carefully at Letter # 19 we can perhaps see- and I stress again that this is intelligent speculation- not fact- the beginning of a link between the independent Tom of 1934 and 1937 and the Tom who was later to become the enigmatic character of LOTR.

In the second paragraph of that letter- which is to Stanley Unwin, his publisher, Tolkien writes:

‘My chief joy comes from learning that the Silmarillion is not rejected with scorn…….I shall certainly now hope one day to be able, or to be able to afford , to publish the Silmarillion!

As Shippey has said – Author of the Century- The Silmarillion was very much ‘the work of his heart’.

Unwin’s had – quite rightly – rejected what they had seen of it at this point, but Tolkien makes it very clear that it is the real driving force behind his fictional writings. To quote again from Letter # 19:

‘ But I am sure you will sympathize when I say that the construction of elaborate and consistent mythology (and two languages) rather occupies the mind, and the Silmarils are in my heart. So that good ness knows what will happen’ {my bold emphasis}

So that good ness knows what will happen’bear this phrase in mind as it has, I believe, a critical significance for the linking of Tom with the wider Legendarium and more specifically, in the actual event- with the as yet unformulated LOTR.

We already know why Tolkien felt unable – as he then thought- to continue with further Hobbit adventures:

‘And what more can hobbits do? They can be comic, but their comedy is suburban unless set against things more elemental. But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time. {Letter # 19- my bold emphasis}

N.B. But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time.

‘Elemental’ and ‘before their time’ in a different sense perhaps to that meant here, but nonetheless real for that, Tom Bombadil was ‘elemental and ‘ before their time.’

And, as if in extension of this thought- which is of course mine- I cannot say definitely it was Tolkien’s, he goes on to say: . Perhaps a new (if similar) line?’ Do you think Tom Bombadil, the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countryside, could be made into the hero of a story? Or is he, as I suspect, fully enshrined, in the enclosed verses? Still I could enlarge the portrait {My bold and underline}.

So that good ness knows what will happen’ …….Perhaps a new (if similar) line? But the real fun about orcs and dragons (to my mind) was before their time.

Was Tolkien, however consciously or unconsciously in that amazingly fertile creative mind of his beginning to see the glimmer of linking all these various elements into a scenario that would answer Unwin’s request for another Hobbit story- allow his beloved Silmarillion some resonance, and weave the independent character of Tom into a story oforcs and dragons’?

And it would also allow the Tom of ‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxford and Berkshire countrysideto be elevated from the specificity of an English countryside area to the universal stage of a myth!

For, if we look at the final version of LOTR- that is in many ways just what did happen. In part- and unlike the elves- Tolkien had both his cake and ate it!

To be continued

halfir 26/Oct/2005 at 02:36 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bomadil- 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 and their ‘assimilation’ into LOTR

In this section we will begin looking at the way in which the published LOTR chapters that deal with Tom Bombadil derive much of their substance from the 1934 poem, and, although Tolkien, as he develops the LOTR story associates some of the 1934 happenings to Tom with other characters, namely Frodo and his hobbit companions, the 1934 poem exercises a strong influence over the LOTR story.

At this point in the analysis we will be dealing with the final published version, and for ease of reference , as so many have this copy, or a variant of it, I will be using the revised 1966 version published by Allen and Unwin.

At a later stage I will deal with the way in which Tom is developed through the various re-drafts of the LOTR chapters –as denoted in HOME 6-9.

What is very apparent, however, is how consistent, overall, Tom remains throughout the various drafts, and that consistency comes from the 1934 poem.

In a letter to Rayner Unwin {Letter # 237 – 12 April 1962} regarding the possibility of producing something about Tom B (which later appeared as the 1962 ‘Adventures’) Tolkien wrote:

‘At any rate it performs the service of further ‘integrating’ Tom with the world of the L.R. into which he was inserted”

Note the use of the words ‘ integrating’ and ‘inserted’ – hardly language to be used of someone who was generated within the context of LOTR- which, of course, as has been clearly demonstrated in previous posts, Tom most certainly was not.

And in Letter # 240 to Pamela Baynes who illustrated the 1962 ‘Adventures’ Tolkien speaks of :

‘the process of assimilating Tom B. to The Lord of the Rings world.’ {my bold emphasis}

So did Tom have to be ‘changed’ to fit in with LOTR? The answer is quite clearly a resounding ’No!’ Tom’s character was expanded to allow him to have credibility within the world of LOTR but much that he had accumulated character –wise in his non- ME life- pre LOTR- was to remain with him. Moreover, he entered the world of ME with a group of companions, Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow- wight who were also imports to not creations of LOTR, and most certainly not of The Silmarillion.

As CT remarks in HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow:

‘the old poem was very largely preserved. In it are to be found the origin of many things in this and the following chapters – the closing crack in the Great Willow (though in the poem it was Tom himself who was caught in it), the supper of ’yellow cream and honeycomb, and white bread and butter’, the ‘nightly noises’ that included the tapping of the branches of Old Man Willow on the window-pane, the words of the Barrow- wight (who in the poem was in Tom’s house) ‘I am waiting for you’, and much else.” {Chapter V The Old Forest and The Withywindle}

‘and much else’! Much else’ indeed, for Tom brought much of his 1934 bag and baggage with him, as well as that of Letter # 19 1937, and that too had not originated in ME, let alone LOTR!

To Be Continued

 

 

halfir 26/Oct/2005 at 02:36 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bomadil- 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 and their ‘assimilation’ into LOTR

In this section we will begin looking at the way in which the published LOTR chapters that deal with Tom Bombadil derive much of their substance from the 1934 poem, and, although Tolkien, as he develops the LOTR story associates some of the 1934 happenings to Tom with other characters, namely Frodo and his hobbit companions, the 1934 poem exercises a strong influence over the LOTR story.

At this point in the analysis we will be dealing with the final published version, and for ease of reference , as so many have this copy, or a variant of it, I will be using the revised 1966 version published by Allen and Unwin.

At a later stage I will deal with the way in which Tom is developed through the various re-drafts of the LOTR chapters –as denoted in HOME 6-9.

What is very apparent, however, is how consistent, overall, Tom remains throughout the various drafts, and that consistency comes from the 1934 poem.

In a letter to Rayner Unwin {Letter # 237 – 12 April 1962} regarding the possibility of producing something about Tom B (which later appeared as the 1962 ‘Adventures’) Tolkien wrote:

‘At any rate it performs the service of further ‘integrating’ Tom with the world of the L.R. into which he was inserted”

Note the use of the words ‘ integrating’ and ‘inserted’ – hardly language to be used of someone who was generated within the context of LOTR- which, of course, as has been clearly demonstrated in previous posts, Tom most certainly was not.

And in Letter # 240 to Pamela Baynes who illustrated the 1962 ‘Adventures’ Tolkien speaks of :

‘the process of assimilating Tom B. to The Lord of the Rings world.’ {my bold emphasis}

So did Tom have to be ‘changed’ to fit in with LOTR? The answer is quite clearly a resounding ’No!’ Tom’s character was expanded to allow him to have credibility within the world of LOTR but much that he had accumulated character –wise in his non- ME life- pre LOTR- was to remain with him. Moreover, he entered the world of ME with a group of companions, Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow- wight who were also imports to not creations of LOTR, and most certainly not of The Silmarillion.

As CT remarks in HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow:

‘the old poem was very largely preserved. In it are to be found the origin of many things in this and the following chapters – the closing crack in the Great Willow (though in the poem it was Tom himself who was caught in it), the supper of ’yellow cream and honeycomb, and white bread and butter’, the ‘nightly noises’ that included the tapping of the branches of Old Man Willow on the window-pane, the words of the Barrow- wight (who in the poem was in Tom’s house) ‘I am waiting for you’, and much else.” {Chapter V The Old Forest and The Withywindle}

‘and much else’! Much else’ indeed, for Tom brought much of his 1934 bag and baggage with him, as well as that of Letter # 19 1937, and that too had not originated in ME, let alone LOTR!

To Be Continued

 

 

MaryJayne Took 26/Oct/2005 at 07:39 AM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 116 Posts: 40 Joined: 23/Oct/2005
I’m overwhelmed by the extensive interest and research that has gone in to Tom and Goldberry.For 33 years I have been intrigued with their Characters-myself being nicknamed Goldberry  long ago.With so little written and known,much is left to speculation and interpretation-Every morsel is picked apart ,thouroughly chewed upon and swallowed ,to feed all of these imaginations and inspirations I’ve been enjoying this day!Thank you,my nerdy new friends-I love you through the smoke rings!!!
MaryJayne Took 26/Oct/2005 at 07:39 AM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 116 Posts: 40 Joined: 23/Oct/2005
I’m overwhelmed by the extensive interest and research that has gone in to Tom and Goldberry.For 33 years I have been intrigued with their Characters-myself being nicknamed Goldberry  long ago.With so little written and known,much is left to speculation and interpretation-Every morsel is picked apart ,thouroughly chewed upon and swallowed ,to feed all of these imaginations and inspirations I’ve been enjoying this day!Thank you,my nerdy new friends-I love you through the smoke rings!!!
halfir 26/Oct/2005 at 03:51 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
MJT: Delighted that you find the thread  of interest. While I don’t believeit will ’define’ the true essence of Tom, I hope it will clear away many misconceptions and erroneous beliefs, and spark lines of personal enquiry for others to follow.X(
halfir 26/Oct/2005 at 03:51 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
MJT: Delighted that you find the thread  of interest. While I don’t believeit will ’define’ the true essence of Tom, I hope it will clear away many misconceptions and erroneous beliefs, and spark lines of personal enquiry for others to follow.X(
halfir 28/Oct/2005 at 07:08 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom and Goldberry – Integrated –Inserted- Assimilateda Necessary Digression

One of the truly pleasant things about the world of Tolkien scholarship is the way in which students of the Master’s works help and assist each other. Here, on the Plaza, I am always in debt to out ‘source guru’ geordie and once again I have to acknowledge yet another great debt to him.

For, example, without his helpful provision of the full 1934 Adventures text, I could not have adequately argued the case for the non ME creation of Tom B – or, if I had argued it, I could not have done so as forcefully and with such strong textual support.

As I live in Thailand I cannot acquire recent publications quickly, and, like many, I have been eagerly anticipating the advent of the Hammond & Scull Companion volume to their recent LOTR edition.

As usual geordie is already in possession of a copy, and, as usual, in his generous way, has provided me with some information contained there, that very much supports my non-ME creation argument.

I will at a later date, when I have received my own copy, log in detail the points made by Hammond and Scull in relation to Tom B, but I felt it sensible at this point, to register the following information because of its overwhelming support of the position I have arrived at quite independently.

1. In a letter to Christopher Fettes of Ireland, written in 1961, querying why Tolkien seemed to refer to both Bombadil and Treebeard as the oldest of living creatures, Tolkien replied:

"I think there are two answers; [i] External [ii] Internal; according to [i] Bombadil just came into my mind independently and got swept up into the growing stream of Lord of the Rings . The original poem about him, in the curious rhythm which characterizes him, appeared in the Oxford Magazine at some time not long before the war. According to [ii], I have left him where he is and not attempted to clarify his position, first of all because I like him and he has at any rate a satisfyingly geographical home in the lands of Lord of the Rings; but more seriously because in any world or universe devised iimaginatively [or imposed simply upon the actual world] there is always some element that does not fit and opens as it were a window into some other system. You will notice that though the Ring is a serious matter and has great power for all the inhabitants of the world of Lord of the Rings, even the best and most holy, it does not touch Tom Bombadil at all. So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings."

{Amon Hen no. 173 January 2002; pp.31-31 reprinted in Hammond/Scull pp. 133-4 my bold emphasis and underline}

N.B. This, like several other very important Letters, is not contained in the Carpenter edition of Tolkien’s letters.

2. And Hammond & Scull- quoting Deidrie Green’s essay –Higher Argument : Tolkien and the Tradition of Vision, Epic, and Prophecy – { Proceedings of the JRR Tolkien Centenary Conference} which I have, but had not read until geordie’s kindness drew my attention to it, say that Goldberry’s powers are significantly enhanced in LOTR compared with the 1934 poem. Thus they too link her genesis  to a non-ME environment:

’"Goldberry in LotR has stature, and powers, not even hinted at in the 1934 poem."

Tolkien wrote in June 1958  to Forrest J. Ackerman:

[in LotR] we are ... in real river-lands in Autumn. Goldberry represents the actual seasonal changes in such lands.’"  [Letter no. 210] ’

Now, in fairness to those who subscribe to interpretations very different to my own, I must also point out that Hammond & Scull quote an unpublished draft that Tolkien wrote in 1968 that exists in a private collection:

‘I do not know his {Tom Bombadil’s } origin though I could make guesses. He is best left as he is, a mystery. There are other mysteries in any closed/organized system of history/mythology’.

And he had also in 1958 in a letter {# 211} to Rhona Beare said :

‘I do not ‘know all the answers’. Much of my own book puzzles me: & in any case much of it was written so long ago (anything up to 20 years) that I read it now as if it were from a strange hand”.

However, I will explain in a much later post why I think Tolkien was reluctant to admit, in some letters, too much about Tom, while in others he was quite willing to disclose much more of his hand.

However, for  me, the most stignificant quote for us all to reflect on is:

So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings."

And if :he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings," which describes the world of ME, then he has no origin in The Silmarillion, either, which is itself  -inter alia- about the creation of ME.

To Be Continued

halfir 28/Oct/2005 at 07:08 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Tom and Goldberry – Integrated –Inserted- Assimilateda Necessary Digression

One of the truly pleasant things about the world of Tolkien scholarship is the way in which students of the Master’s works help and assist each other. Here, on the Plaza, I am always in debt to out ‘source guru’ geordie and once again I have to acknowledge yet another great debt to him.

For, example, without his helpful provision of the full 1934 Adventures text, I could not have adequately argued the case for the non ME creation of Tom B – or, if I had argued it, I could not have done so as forcefully and with such strong textual support.

As I live in Thailand I cannot acquire recent publications quickly, and, like many, I have been eagerly anticipating the advent of the Hammond & Scull Companion volume to their recent LOTR edition.

As usual geordie is already in possession of a copy, and, as usual, in his generous way, has provided me with some information contained there, that very much supports my non-ME creation argument.

I will at a later date, when I have received my own copy, log in detail the points made by Hammond and Scull in relation to Tom B, but I felt it sensible at this point, to register the following information because of its overwhelming support of the position I have arrived at quite independently.

1. In a letter to Christopher Fettes of Ireland, written in 1961, querying why Tolkien seemed to refer to both Bombadil and Treebeard as the oldest of living creatures, Tolkien replied:

"I think there are two answers; [i] External [ii] Internal; according to [i] Bombadil just came into my mind independently and got swept up into the growing stream of Lord of the Rings . The original poem about him, in the curious rhythm which characterizes him, appeared in the Oxford Magazine at some time not long before the war. According to [ii], I have left him where he is and not attempted to clarify his position, first of all because I like him and he has at any rate a satisfyingly geographical home in the lands of Lord of the Rings; but more seriously because in any world or universe devised iimaginatively [or imposed simply upon the actual world] there is always some element that does not fit and opens as it were a window into some other system. You will notice that though the Ring is a serious matter and has great power for all the inhabitants of the world of Lord of the Rings, even the best and most holy, it does not touch Tom Bombadil at all. So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings."

{Amon Hen no. 173 January 2002; pp.31-31 reprinted in Hammond/Scull pp. 133-4 my bold emphasis and underline}

N.B. This, like several other very important Letters, is not contained in the Carpenter edition of Tolkien’s letters.

2. And Hammond & Scull- quoting Deidrie Green’s essay –Higher Argument : Tolkien and the Tradition of Vision, Epic, and Prophecy – { Proceedings of the JRR Tolkien Centenary Conference} which I have, but had not read until geordie’s kindness drew my attention to it, say that Goldberry’s powers are significantly enhanced in LOTR compared with the 1934 poem. Thus they too link her genesis  to a non-ME environment:

’"Goldberry in LotR has stature, and powers, not even hinted at in the 1934 poem."

Tolkien wrote in June 1958  to Forrest J. Ackerman:

[in LotR] we are ... in real river-lands in Autumn. Goldberry represents the actual seasonal changes in such lands.’"  [Letter no. 210] ’

Now, in fairness to those who subscribe to interpretations very different to my own, I must also point out that Hammond & Scull quote an unpublished draft that Tolkien wrote in 1968 that exists in a private collection:

‘I do not know his {Tom Bombadil’s } origin though I could make guesses. He is best left as he is, a mystery. There are other mysteries in any closed/organized system of history/mythology’.

And he had also in 1958 in a letter {# 211} to Rhona Beare said :

‘I do not ‘know all the answers’. Much of my own book puzzles me: & in any case much of it was written so long ago (anything up to 20 years) that I read it now as if it were from a strange hand”.

However, I will explain in a much later post why I think Tolkien was reluctant to admit, in some letters, too much about Tom, while in others he was quite willing to disclose much more of his hand.

However, for  me, the most stignificant quote for us all to reflect on is:

So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings."

And if :he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings," which describes the world of ME, then he has no origin in The Silmarillion, either, which is itself  -inter alia- about the creation of ME.

To Be Continued

Loin Stealtharm 29/Oct/2005 at 03:03 PM
Artisan of Erebor Points: 8370 Posts: 13094 Joined: 21/Dec/2002

woow! I never knew an onion could be peeled so much!

no really, this thread is so interesting. I have, as all fanatics, thought about Tom for some time,and many ideas popped up. I know now that some of those ideas were silly, but on the other side, there are even more directions in my mind now after reading this thread, to find a reasonable explanation of the being of Tom Bombadil. I can’t wait to read more of this thread! Thumbs up to you Halfir and loremasters!

Loin Stealtharm 29/Oct/2005 at 03:03 PM
Artisan of Erebor Points: 8370 Posts: 13094 Joined: 21/Dec/2002

woow! I never knew an onion could be peeled so much!

no really, this thread is so interesting. I have, as all fanatics, thought about Tom for some time,and many ideas popped up. I know now that some of those ideas were silly, but on the other side, there are even more directions in my mind now after reading this thread, to find a reasonable explanation of the being of Tom Bombadil. I can’t wait to read more of this thread! Thumbs up to you Halfir and loremasters!

halfir 29/Oct/2005 at 04:13 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

LS: I’m glad you like it. One of the more ’laborious’  aspects of this thread  from the Reader’s point of view is the enormous amount of detailed text that has to be used in order to demonstrate the validity of the analysis and its conclusions. I realize that at times this must be somewhat off-putting, but having considered all the options I decided to make this a resource base as well as a presentation of my own interpretation. Thus current and future readers who may put diffeent glosses on the text and sources to mine have the ability to quote with confidence from the very significant amount of material that wil be collected here.

This is not a thread for the faint-hearted or those who believe Tolkien’s complex characters can be ’fixed in a formulated phrase’. But for those who can stay the course I believe they will emerege with an enhanced knowledge and understanding of Tom and Goldberry, and that new avenues of thought- such as you have commented on- will continue to spark in their minds.X(

halfir 29/Oct/2005 at 04:13 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

LS: I’m glad you like it. One of the more ’laborious’  aspects of this thread  from the Reader’s point of view is the enormous amount of detailed text that has to be used in order to demonstrate the validity of the analysis and its conclusions. I realize that at times this must be somewhat off-putting, but having considered all the options I decided to make this a resource base as well as a presentation of my own interpretation. Thus current and future readers who may put diffeent glosses on the text and sources to mine have the ability to quote with confidence from the very significant amount of material that wil be collected here.

This is not a thread for the faint-hearted or those who believe Tolkien’s complex characters can be ’fixed in a formulated phrase’. But for those who can stay the course I believe they will emerege with an enhanced knowledge and understanding of Tom and Goldberry, and that new avenues of thought- such as you have commented on- will continue to spark in their minds.X(

IvyGamgee 30/Oct/2005 at 10:13 AM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 122 Posts: 78 Joined: 09/Aug/2005
Halfir, I have sent a considerable amount of time this past week reading your incredibly intriguing and wonderful thread regarding Tom.  I have a completely idiotic question, and I’m sure it will draw many snickers, but as a "newbie" and fairly new Tolkien fan, please forgive.   You have refered to some literature that I should like to read myself - The "Germ" poem?  Letters by Tolkien?  Again, I apologize for jumping in on your thread with such trivia...
IvyGamgee 30/Oct/2005 at 10:13 AM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 122 Posts: 78 Joined: 09/Aug/2005
Halfir, I have sent a considerable amount of time this past week reading your incredibly intriguing and wonderful thread regarding Tom.  I have a completely idiotic question, and I’m sure it will draw many snickers, but as a "newbie" and fairly new Tolkien fan, please forgive.   You have refered to some literature that I should like to read myself - The "Germ" poem?  Letters by Tolkien?  Again, I apologize for jumping in on your thread with such trivia...
halfir 30/Oct/2005 at 04:06 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ivy Gamgee: There are never stupid questions- though there are often stupid answers!X( You are always welcome to ask what you wish, for yours is the very spirit we seek to welcome to the Plaza- an enquiring mind.

The ’Germ’ poem I have actually quoted in full, it is very short, but you can read it and Christopher Tolkien’s comments by looking in a copy of HOME 6 Chapter V The Old Forest and the Withywindle. {HOME is the History of Middle Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien}.

The Letters can easily be obtained in paperback (don’t buy the very cheap offers of the first edition hardback because the index is useless). You can find them on the Net or in any decent bookshop: The Letters of JRR Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Chrtistopher Tolkien Harper Collins 1995 ISBN 0 261 10265 6

If you live in the USA the publisher is probably Houghton Mifflin.

I hope this helps.X(

halfir 30/Oct/2005 at 04:06 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Ivy Gamgee: There are never stupid questions- though there are often stupid answers!X( You are always welcome to ask what you wish, for yours is the very spirit we seek to welcome to the Plaza- an enquiring mind.

The ’Germ’ poem I have actually quoted in full, it is very short, but you can read it and Christopher Tolkien’s comments by looking in a copy of HOME 6 Chapter V The Old Forest and the Withywindle. {HOME is the History of Middle Earth series edited by Christopher Tolkien}.

The Letters can easily be obtained in paperback (don’t buy the very cheap offers of the first edition hardback because the index is useless). You can find them on the Net or in any decent bookshop: The Letters of JRR Tolkien edited by Humphrey Carpenter with the assistance of Chrtistopher Tolkien Harper Collins 1995 ISBN 0 261 10265 6

If you live in the USA the publisher is probably Houghton Mifflin.

I hope this helps.X(

IvyGamgee 30/Oct/2005 at 06:39 PM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 122 Posts: 78 Joined: 09/Aug/2005
Thank you very much for providing that information.  I look forward to obtaining those books. Keep up the great work!
IvyGamgee 30/Oct/2005 at 06:39 PM
Apprentice of the Shire Points: 122 Posts: 78 Joined: 09/Aug/2005
Thank you very much for providing that information.  I look forward to obtaining those books. Keep up the great work!
halfir 31/Oct/2005 at 03:14 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest: From Speech to Song- The Beginning of the ’Assimilation’.

In the 1934 ‘Adventures ‘ poem there is no mention of the word forest at all. But, the forest is significant by its exception at this point in time; Tom could only not  be caught in these locations:

None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water {My bold emphasis}

By implication the forest is a place of some danger to him- he is not yet ‘Master’. And, by inference, Goldberry, OMW, and the Badgers live in the forest where Tom is caught – but escapes because of his words of command to all three (plus the Barrow-wight).

By 1937 and Letter # 19 Tom has been defined as ‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’.

So Tom has now been given a finite location in which he resides, and by implication of which he is “master’ – though that term has not yet been introduced.

Prior to FOTR and The Old Forest, therefore, we have no objective developed sense of ‘forest’ as such, other than by inference, and with that inference goes the message, at least in the 1934 poem that it is a place of danger- the only place where Tom can be caught.

By the time Tolkien had started his process of ‘assimilation’ of Tom (and Goldberry) into LOTR, OMW has become a much more significant figure, the ‘lord’ of the Old Forest as it were -and his home- the forest, a much more dangerous place for those who do not live there- other than Tom, who, after 1937 and as part of the ME ‘assimilation’ process, has become ’Master’ , as Goldberry tells us In the House of Tom Bombadil chapter.

And Tolkien now makes another major shift with regard to Tom; instead of OMW catching Tom in his cracks, it is the hobbits, or more specifically Merry and Pippin who are caught fast by the wiles of OMW – who, like he did in the 1934 poem to Tom, uses ‘song’ to entrap them.

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.
{ 1934}

Although in FOTR The Old Forest OMW is very much awake- not asleep:

‘There now seemed hardy a sound in the air. The flies had stopped buzzing. Only a gentle noise on the edge of hearing, a soft fluttering as of a song half whispered, seemed to stir in the bows above…………….They shut their eyes, and it seemed that they could hear almost words. Cool words, saying something about water and sleep. They gave themselves up to the spell and fell asleep at the foot of the great grey willow.’

Only Sam, closest of all the four companions to ‘Nature’ is aware of danger:

‘I don’t like this great big tree, I don’t trust it. Hark at is singing about sleep now!’ {ibid}

And, as with Tom, Pippin is trapped inside OMW and Merry, half-in and half out.

And it is Tom Bombadil – singing – who comes to their rescue:

Poor 0ld Willow-man, you tuck your roots away!
Tom’s in a hurry now. Evening will follow day.
Tom’s going home again water-lilies bringing.‘Hey! Come derry dol!
Can you hear me singing?
{ibid - my bold emphasis}

and, learning of the hobbits’ plight he says:

Old Man Willow? Naught worse than that, eh? {With the implication that there are things far worse than OMW} That can soon be mended. I know the tune for him………. I’ll sing his roots off…..Tom put his mouth to the crack and began singing into it in a low voice’.{ ibid. My bold emphasis}

In the 1934 poem Tom’s spoken word caused his release by OMW:

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking, .{My bold emphasis}
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree

Now, in the context of LOTR and ME- a world that had been sung into being – Tom uses song to command OMW.

The first part of the further development and ‘assimilation’ of Tom into ME has begun!

N.B. For those who wish to follow in detail the importance of song in ME and its creation I can recommend Heron’s excellent thread- The Power of Song and Chant

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9350&PagePosition=8

To Be Continued

halfir 31/Oct/2005 at 03:14 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest: From Speech to Song- The Beginning of the ’Assimilation’.

In the 1934 ‘Adventures ‘ poem there is no mention of the word forest at all. But, the forest is significant by its exception at this point in time; Tom could only not  be caught in these locations:

None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water {My bold emphasis}

By implication the forest is a place of some danger to him- he is not yet ‘Master’. And, by inference, Goldberry, OMW, and the Badgers live in the forest where Tom is caught – but escapes because of his words of command to all three (plus the Barrow-wight).

By 1937 and Letter # 19 Tom has been defined as ‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’.

So Tom has now been given a finite location in which he resides, and by implication of which he is “master’ – though that term has not yet been introduced.

Prior to FOTR and The Old Forest, therefore, we have no objective developed sense of ‘forest’ as such, other than by inference, and with that inference goes the message, at least in the 1934 poem that it is a place of danger- the only place where Tom can be caught.

By the time Tolkien had started his process of ‘assimilation’ of Tom (and Goldberry) into LOTR, OMW has become a much more significant figure, the ‘lord’ of the Old Forest as it were -and his home- the forest, a much more dangerous place for those who do not live there- other than Tom, who, after 1937 and as part of the ME ‘assimilation’ process, has become ’Master’ , as Goldberry tells us In the House of Tom Bombadil chapter.

And Tolkien now makes another major shift with regard to Tom; instead of OMW catching Tom in his cracks, it is the hobbits, or more specifically Merry and Pippin who are caught fast by the wiles of OMW – who, like he did in the 1934 poem to Tom, uses ‘song’ to entrap them.

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.
{ 1934}

Although in FOTR The Old Forest OMW is very much awake- not asleep:

‘There now seemed hardy a sound in the air. The flies had stopped buzzing. Only a gentle noise on the edge of hearing, a soft fluttering as of a song half whispered, seemed to stir in the bows above…………….They shut their eyes, and it seemed that they could hear almost words. Cool words, saying something about water and sleep. They gave themselves up to the spell and fell asleep at the foot of the great grey willow.’

Only Sam, closest of all the four companions to ‘Nature’ is aware of danger:

‘I don’t like this great big tree, I don’t trust it. Hark at is singing about sleep now!’ {ibid}

And, as with Tom, Pippin is trapped inside OMW and Merry, half-in and half out.

And it is Tom Bombadil – singing – who comes to their rescue:

Poor 0ld Willow-man, you tuck your roots away!
Tom’s in a hurry now. Evening will follow day.
Tom’s going home again water-lilies bringing.‘Hey! Come derry dol!
Can you hear me singing?
{ibid - my bold emphasis}

and, learning of the hobbits’ plight he says:

Old Man Willow? Naught worse than that, eh? {With the implication that there are things far worse than OMW} That can soon be mended. I know the tune for him………. I’ll sing his roots off…..Tom put his mouth to the crack and began singing into it in a low voice’.{ ibid. My bold emphasis}

In the 1934 poem Tom’s spoken word caused his release by OMW:

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking, .{My bold emphasis}
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree

Now, in the context of LOTR and ME- a world that had been sung into being – Tom uses song to command OMW.

The first part of the further development and ‘assimilation’ of Tom into ME has begun!

N.B. For those who wish to follow in detail the importance of song in ME and its creation I can recommend Heron’s excellent thread- The Power of Song and Chant

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9350&PagePosition=8

To Be Continued

halfir 01/Nov/2005 at 01:58 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: The Aggrandizement of OMW

In enhancing and deepening the role of Tom in LOTR- Tolkien also enhances the roles of those who interact with him in the 1934 poem, Goldberry-particularly, OMW, and the Barrow –wight. Only the badgers are effectively omitted – relegated to a single line of reminiscence cf. In The House of Tom Bombadil.

All of these characters are imported into ME and LOTR with Tom, but, unlike him, other than to a degree, Goldberry, they are all assimilated with greater ease, for Tolkien does not seek to use them in the multi-faceted way he does Tom.

Goldberry will be dealt with later as a subject in her own right, but the ‘aggrandizement’ of OMW is worthy of mention. From being a solitary being in the 1934 poem he becomes the very center of the strangeness of The Old Forest:

‘The Withywindle valley is said to be the queerest part of the whole wood –the center from which all the queerness comes, as it were. {FOTR-The Old Forest}

Not only is OMW now the kingpin of the whole forest, whereas in the 1934 no forest was mentioned, the River, also unmentioned in the 1934 poem other than when co-joined with Goldberrry, and the River-woman, is named – and it is named Withywindle, because of the willows that line its banks.

‘In the midst of it there wound lazily a dark river of brown water, blocked with ancient willows , arched over with willows, blocked with fallen willows, and flecked with thousands of faded willow-leaves. The air was thick with them, fluttering yellow from the branches; for there was a warm and gentle breeze blowing softly in the valley, and the reeds were rustling and the willow-boughs were creaking.” {ibid}

So, from the splendid isolation of the 1934 poem, OMW is surrounded by his ‘courtiers’- the willow trees, and his and their dominance is such that even the river itself is named after him and them- Withywindle.

In his Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings {I am currently working from the Jared Lobdel text in A Tolkien Compass as my Hammond & Scull Companion has yet to arrive} Tolkien says this:

Withywindle. River-name in the Old Forest, intended to be in the language of the Shire. It was a winding river bordered by willows (withies). Withy – is not uncommon in English place-names, but windle does not actually occur (Withywindle was modelled on withywind , a name for the convolvulus or bindweed). “

Given the constricting and binding nature of convulvulus or bindweed it is a particularly apposite name to give a river in which the dominance of willow-trees is so apparent and the practice of OMW is to ‘squeeze’!

Willows, and ‘willow themes’ are everywhere in this the queerest part of The Old Forest: OMW himself, the willows arching over and clogging the river, the Withywindle, even the delicate figure of Goldberry:

‘Slender as the willow-wand’.

But Tom, now unable to be caught even in forest, can control even OMW – but this time through song. {The significance of this change- from speech to song- we have explored in the previous post.} And with Tom going before them, Tom, the ‘Master’ as we shall shortly learn, there is no need for the hobbits to be fearful:

Heed no hoary willow!
Fear neither root nor bough! Tom goes on before you.’

The spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ has been named in Middle earth – he is Tom Bombadil – and as such a spirit he of course ‘master’ of the wood or forest too, and of all within the boundaries that he himself has now set.

It is interesting to note that in describing The Old Forest Tolkien switches between the words ‘forest’ and ‘wood’ . Now this could just be a literary device on his part, to avoid, say, repetition. But perhaps it goes further than that. When Tolkien takes OMW into ME he does so, as with Tom from a world that was not ME. If OMW existed in Real Life, we would probably find him, in Tolkien’s geography, in a wood in Oxfordshire or Berkshire in which Tolkien, Lewis and other Inklings so loved to ramble on their many walks. And OMW , although malicious and dangerous, does not conjure up acute malevolence- even more than The Old Forest does.

In her book ‘Black Venus’ Angela Carter makes this observation on the wood in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream:

‘The English wood is nothing like the dark necromantic forest in which the Northern European imagination begins and ends, where its dead and the witches live…for example an English wood, however marvellous, however metamorphic, cannot, by definition be trackless…..’{Quoted in P. Curry – Defnding Middle-Earth- Chpt. Middle earth: Nature and Ecology}

And although a shadow fell on Greenwood the Great and it became Mirkwood, when the Necromancer took over, and Fangorn and The Old Forest have areas affected by the ‘darkness’- they do not, overall, carry that stygian gloom that Carter is talking about, and they are certainly not trackless:

‘something makes paths’

says Merry talking about The Old Forest. And if The Old Forest has OMW it also has its real ‘Master’ Tom Bombadil . His presence alone would ensure that the gloom and dangers of the Northern European necromantic forest that Carter writes of, are modified., for indeed, both Tom and his creator are steeped in the much more mellow wooded landscape of Oxfordhsire and Berkshire, and seen through that lens, we have a much more ‘domesticated’ wildness. Here, nature, though it can be dangerous, is not ‘red in tooth and claw.’

So in integrating OMW and Tom into LOTR, Tolkien brings with them a sense of the RL countryside from which he derives so much of his creative imagination, and his interchangeable use of the words ‘forest’ and ‘wood’ might be seen to be one reflection of this.

And although OMW is dangerous and his spirit runs throughout The Old Forest, and he and his brethren-fathers of the fathers of trees’ are proud and malicious, that pride and malice is rooted in a hatred of things that ‘go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning; destroyers and usurpers’. {FOTR- In The House Of Tom Bombadil}.

Malicious it might be, but it is not the malice of a Morgoth or a Sauron and its intent is derived from real grievances that it has experienced.

There is thus, in the transference of Tom and his peer group from the 1934 poem into ME and LOTR something of a paradox, where a number of different worlds are called on to co-exist. Some of Tom’s peer group from the 1934 poem sit more happily than others in LOTR, because Tolkien does not give them a multi-faceted role to play. Others, like Tom and Goldberry, as we shall see, fit less easily in some of their aspects- which of course, is what makes them enigmatic.

But even with those who are a ‘close fit’ there are still residuals, which while in no way interfering with the LOTR story carry with them, for those who can see, resonances of another world too.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

halfir 01/Nov/2005 at 01:58 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: The Aggrandizement of OMW

In enhancing and deepening the role of Tom in LOTR- Tolkien also enhances the roles of those who interact with him in the 1934 poem, Goldberry-particularly, OMW, and the Barrow –wight. Only the badgers are effectively omitted – relegated to a single line of reminiscence cf. In The House of Tom Bombadil.

All of these characters are imported into ME and LOTR with Tom, but, unlike him, other than to a degree, Goldberry, they are all assimilated with greater ease, for Tolkien does not seek to use them in the multi-faceted way he does Tom.

Goldberry will be dealt with later as a subject in her own right, but the ‘aggrandizement’ of OMW is worthy of mention. From being a solitary being in the 1934 poem he becomes the very center of the strangeness of The Old Forest:

‘The Withywindle valley is said to be the queerest part of the whole wood –the center from which all the queerness comes, as it were. {FOTR-The Old Forest}

Not only is OMW now the kingpin of the whole forest, whereas in the 1934 no forest was mentioned, the River, also unmentioned in the 1934 poem other than when co-joined with Goldberrry, and the River-woman, is named – and it is named Withywindle, because of the willows that line its banks.

‘In the midst of it there wound lazily a dark river of brown water, blocked with ancient willows , arched over with willows, blocked with fallen willows, and flecked with thousands of faded willow-leaves. The air was thick with them, fluttering yellow from the branches; for there was a warm and gentle breeze blowing softly in the valley, and the reeds were rustling and the willow-boughs were creaking.” {ibid}

So, from the splendid isolation of the 1934 poem, OMW is surrounded by his ‘courtiers’- the willow trees, and his and their dominance is such that even the river itself is named after him and them- Withywindle.

In his Guide to the Names in the Lord of the Rings {I am currently working from the Jared Lobdel text in A Tolkien Compass as my Hammond & Scull Companion has yet to arrive} Tolkien says this:

Withywindle. River-name in the Old Forest, intended to be in the language of the Shire. It was a winding river bordered by willows (withies). Withy – is not uncommon in English place-names, but windle does not actually occur (Withywindle was modelled on withywind , a name for the convolvulus or bindweed). “

Given the constricting and binding nature of convulvulus or bindweed it is a particularly apposite name to give a river in which the dominance of willow-trees is so apparent and the practice of OMW is to ‘squeeze’!

Willows, and ‘willow themes’ are everywhere in this the queerest part of The Old Forest: OMW himself, the willows arching over and clogging the river, the Withywindle, even the delicate figure of Goldberry:

‘Slender as the willow-wand’.

But Tom, now unable to be caught even in forest, can control even OMW – but this time through song. {The significance of this change- from speech to song- we have explored in the previous post.} And with Tom going before them, Tom, the ‘Master’ as we shall shortly learn, there is no need for the hobbits to be fearful:

Heed no hoary willow!
Fear neither root nor bough! Tom goes on before you.’

The spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ has been named in Middle earth – he is Tom Bombadil – and as such a spirit he of course ‘master’ of the wood or forest too, and of all within the boundaries that he himself has now set.

It is interesting to note that in describing The Old Forest Tolkien switches between the words ‘forest’ and ‘wood’ . Now this could just be a literary device on his part, to avoid, say, repetition. But perhaps it goes further than that. When Tolkien takes OMW into ME he does so, as with Tom from a world that was not ME. If OMW existed in Real Life, we would probably find him, in Tolkien’s geography, in a wood in Oxfordshire or Berkshire in which Tolkien, Lewis and other Inklings so loved to ramble on their many walks. And OMW , although malicious and dangerous, does not conjure up acute malevolence- even more than The Old Forest does.

In her book ‘Black Venus’ Angela Carter makes this observation on the wood in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Nights Dream:

‘The English wood is nothing like the dark necromantic forest in which the Northern European imagination begins and ends, where its dead and the witches live…for example an English wood, however marvellous, however metamorphic, cannot, by definition be trackless…..’{Quoted in P. Curry – Defnding Middle-Earth- Chpt. Middle earth: Nature and Ecology}

And although a shadow fell on Greenwood the Great and it became Mirkwood, when the Necromancer took over, and Fangorn and The Old Forest have areas affected by the ‘darkness’- they do not, overall, carry that stygian gloom that Carter is talking about, and they are certainly not trackless:

‘something makes paths’

says Merry talking about The Old Forest. And if The Old Forest has OMW it also has its real ‘Master’ Tom Bombadil . His presence alone would ensure that the gloom and dangers of the Northern European necromantic forest that Carter writes of, are modified., for indeed, both Tom and his creator are steeped in the much more mellow wooded landscape of Oxfordhsire and Berkshire, and seen through that lens, we have a much more ‘domesticated’ wildness. Here, nature, though it can be dangerous, is not ‘red in tooth and claw.’

So in integrating OMW and Tom into LOTR, Tolkien brings with them a sense of the RL countryside from which he derives so much of his creative imagination, and his interchangeable use of the words ‘forest’ and ‘wood’ might be seen to be one reflection of this.

And although OMW is dangerous and his spirit runs throughout The Old Forest, and he and his brethren-fathers of the fathers of trees’ are proud and malicious, that pride and malice is rooted in a hatred of things that ‘go free upon the earth, gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning; destroyers and usurpers’. {FOTR- In The House Of Tom Bombadil}.

Malicious it might be, but it is not the malice of a Morgoth or a Sauron and its intent is derived from real grievances that it has experienced.

There is thus, in the transference of Tom and his peer group from the 1934 poem into ME and LOTR something of a paradox, where a number of different worlds are called on to co-exist. Some of Tom’s peer group from the 1934 poem sit more happily than others in LOTR, because Tolkien does not give them a multi-faceted role to play. Others, like Tom and Goldberry, as we shall see, fit less easily in some of their aspects- which of course, is what makes them enigmatic.

But even with those who are a ‘close fit’ there are still residuals, which while in no way interfering with the LOTR story carry with them, for those who can see, resonances of another world too.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elwing 02/Nov/2005 at 04:07 PM
Master of Minas Tirith Points: 8383 Posts: 14563 Joined: 31/Jan/2002

Well, this thread certainly brings back memories, mainly of having my in-box overflowing with excerpts from almost every piece of literature written about Tolkien’s Middle Earth .

halfir, maybe I missed it, but I think something should be said of Tom Bombadil’s role in the story to broaden it a little. You’ve touched on Letter #153 several times, but after explaining that Tom is not meant to be an allegory, at the end of that paragraph, Tolkien states: The power of the Ring over all concerned, even the Wizards or Emissaries, is not a delusion--but it is not the whole picture, even of the then state and content of that part of the Universe. It’s a very basic role of Tom’s in the story that he shows that the mission to destroy the Ring is not all encompassing, even in Lord of the Rings, but I think an important one.

The other thing I was wondering about is if you’re going to touch on the correlation of Tom and Goldberry to Sam and Rosie. I remember when we started that project a while ago, that was one of the topics you had listed.

Elwing 02/Nov/2005 at 04:07 PM
Master of Minas Tirith Points: 8383 Posts: 14563 Joined: 31/Jan/2002

Well, this thread certainly brings back memories, mainly of having my in-box overflowing with excerpts from almost every piece of literature written about Tolkien’s Middle Earth .

halfir, maybe I missed it, but I think something should be said of Tom Bombadil’s role in the story to broaden it a little. You’ve touched on Letter #153 several times, but after explaining that Tom is not meant to be an allegory, at the end of that paragraph, Tolkien states: The power of the Ring over all concerned, even the Wizards or Emissaries, is not a delusion--but it is not the whole picture, even of the then state and content of that part of the Universe. It’s a very basic role of Tom’s in the story that he shows that the mission to destroy the Ring is not all encompassing, even in Lord of the Rings, but I think an important one.

The other thing I was wondering about is if you’re going to touch on the correlation of Tom and Goldberry to Sam and Rosie. I remember when we started that project a while ago, that was one of the topics you had listed.

Nieliqui Vaneyar 02/Nov/2005 at 05:24 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

halfir, an acquaintance of mine recently corresponded with Lewis and Currie asking about the dock - door issue and here is Ms. Currie’s response

Alex Lewis passed your query on to me as I was the one who did most of the research on Tom Bombadil for ’Uncharted Realms’.  What I originally meant was that ’door-step’ appeared in the 1934 version, and ’dock-step’ in the 1962 version.  The change thus fitted with alterations in JRR Tolkien’s views on Tom Bombadil that arose during the writing of LotR.  For the 1962 version I was using the 1990 Unwin Hyman edition of the book (and poem) ’The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’, the ISBN’s for which are: hardback 0-04-440727-0; paperback 0-04-440726-2.  This has ’dock-step’ on page 11, in the second-last line of the poem.  The book gives no indication of any changes having been made to it after 1962 - there is no mention of any corrections let alone a Second Edition.  However, in view of what you say about the Tolkien Reader version (a book virtually unobtainable in the UK) I am starting to wonder what has been going on. If you and your web correspondents can shed any more light on the history of the poem ’The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’ by comparing different books which contain it, I would be very interested to hear about this.

As you can see, she maintains the ’dock’ reference is in the later work and even provides a title, publisher, ISBN number, date and page reference.  If it is true, then I would suspect a poor type set and proof read by the publisher, and only a secondary error on her part for not verifying the source, although I think a kindly pointing out of a possible error in typeset is much preferable to criticizing poor scholarship if this is the case.  As I think we agree, obtaining original source material is preferable to using later copies or additions, which we can always hope still maintains the integrity of the original, especially by a primary publisher of Tolkien’s works.

(oh, by the way you might want to add Melchizedek to the list of possible Bombadil alias’, as he was without father and mother and first - Hebrews 7)

Nieliqui Vaneyar 02/Nov/2005 at 05:24 PM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

halfir, an acquaintance of mine recently corresponded with Lewis and Currie asking about the dock - door issue and here is Ms. Currie’s response

Alex Lewis passed your query on to me as I was the one who did most of the research on Tom Bombadil for ’Uncharted Realms’.  What I originally meant was that ’door-step’ appeared in the 1934 version, and ’dock-step’ in the 1962 version.  The change thus fitted with alterations in JRR Tolkien’s views on Tom Bombadil that arose during the writing of LotR.  For the 1962 version I was using the 1990 Unwin Hyman edition of the book (and poem) ’The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’, the ISBN’s for which are: hardback 0-04-440727-0; paperback 0-04-440726-2.  This has ’dock-step’ on page 11, in the second-last line of the poem.  The book gives no indication of any changes having been made to it after 1962 - there is no mention of any corrections let alone a Second Edition.  However, in view of what you say about the Tolkien Reader version (a book virtually unobtainable in the UK) I am starting to wonder what has been going on. If you and your web correspondents can shed any more light on the history of the poem ’The Adventures of Tom Bombadil’ by comparing different books which contain it, I would be very interested to hear about this.

As you can see, she maintains the ’dock’ reference is in the later work and even provides a title, publisher, ISBN number, date and page reference.  If it is true, then I would suspect a poor type set and proof read by the publisher, and only a secondary error on her part for not verifying the source, although I think a kindly pointing out of a possible error in typeset is much preferable to criticizing poor scholarship if this is the case.  As I think we agree, obtaining original source material is preferable to using later copies or additions, which we can always hope still maintains the integrity of the original, especially by a primary publisher of Tolkien’s works.

(oh, by the way you might want to add Melchizedek to the list of possible Bombadil alias’, as he was without father and mother and first - Hebrews 7)

geordie 03/Nov/2005 at 04:12 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
NE - As you can see, she maintains the ’dock’ reference is in the later work
Actually, Lewis and Currie tell us that the ’dock-step’ reference is in the 1962 edition of ATB. They refer to the 1962 ed. in the text, while comparing it to the 1934 poem. They do not tell us that the book they are referring to is a reprint; they cite the Allen and Unwin 1962 edition in their bibliography. [I know they add the term ’numerous later issues’ but that is by the way.]

If it is true, then I would suspect a poor type set and proof read by the publisher,

The book which Ms Currie is referring to is listed in Hammond’s Bibliography as a new, reset edition; not a 2nd edition. Hammond and Anderson note one error [in the Preface] that this ed. continues from the previous printings; but ’doorstep-dock-step’ is not mentioned.

If it is true, then Lewis and Currie are desperately unlucky in their choice of edition. I have several versions of ATB; in various editions,including two copies of the first edition. [London: George Allen and Unwin 1962].

I also have one copy each of the following: all of which contain ATB -

Farmer Giles of Ham/Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Unwin Paperbacks 1977

Poems and Stories deluxe edition [London: George Allen and Unwin 1980]

The Tolkien Reader 46th imp. [New York:Ballantine Books 1992]

Poems and Stories [London:Harper Collins 1992]

Tales from the Perilous Realm [London:Harper Collins 1992]

All of these versions have the phrase ’door-step’ - as revised from ’doorstep’ in the version printed in the Oxford Magazine on Febaury 15th 1934. So as you say, if it is true, [and I’m not doubting Ms Currie’s word] then there must have been an error in that Unwin Hyman edition of 1990. Which, as I say, is unlucky for Lewis and Currie, because the George Allen & Unwin eds of pre-1990; and the Harper Collins eds of 1992, do not contain this error.

Hammond and Anderson do not note it in their Bibliography [but they admit that a work of that size and complexity cannot be 100 per cent accurate, and invited addenda and corrigenda, which have been published in issues of _The Tolkien Collector. I’ve sent in a correction myself ]

Hammond and Scull make no report of it in their book -The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion_ - as far as I have read, at any rate. [I only got the book a week ago].

only a secondary error on her part for not verifying the source, well, nobody’s perfect - but if you’d found a difference between the two texts, and wanted to make a point of it in your book about Tolkien, would’nt you want to double check? I collect books by and about Tolkien. It’s my hobby. It’s not hard to get access to copies of ATB in the UK. A quick visit to the local library would have proved useful; unless Lewis and Currie’s local library happened to have only the 1990 Unwin Hyman ed!

In my opinion, the onus was on Lewis and Currie to verify this point, using the 1962 text, which is the text they cite. Instead, they published this ’dock-step’ error, which can lead to confusion among readers of Tolkien. [as has been the case on this Plaza]. It’s not the first time Alex Lewis has published a text based on a printing error; or a possible misreading.

As for the ISBN - typing that ISBN into the search page on Abe books.com. comes up with editions of ATB from 1962 [the 1962 ed does not carry an ISBN] through the 70s, into the ’90s. ISBNs are useful, but only up to a point.


geordie 03/Nov/2005 at 04:12 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
NE - As you can see, she maintains the ’dock’ reference is in the later work
Actually, Lewis and Currie tell us that the ’dock-step’ reference is in the 1962 edition of ATB. They refer to the 1962 ed. in the text, while comparing it to the 1934 poem. They do not tell us that the book they are referring to is a reprint; they cite the Allen and Unwin 1962 edition in their bibliography. [I know they add the term ’numerous later issues’ but that is by the way.]

If it is true, then I would suspect a poor type set and proof read by the publisher,

The book which Ms Currie is referring to is listed in Hammond’s Bibliography as a new, reset edition; not a 2nd edition. Hammond and Anderson note one error [in the Preface] that this ed. continues from the previous printings; but ’doorstep-dock-step’ is not mentioned.

If it is true, then Lewis and Currie are desperately unlucky in their choice of edition. I have several versions of ATB; in various editions,including two copies of the first edition. [London: George Allen and Unwin 1962].

I also have one copy each of the following: all of which contain ATB -

Farmer Giles of Ham/Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Unwin Paperbacks 1977

Poems and Stories deluxe edition [London: George Allen and Unwin 1980]

The Tolkien Reader 46th imp. [New York:Ballantine Books 1992]

Poems and Stories [London:Harper Collins 1992]

Tales from the Perilous Realm [London:Harper Collins 1992]

All of these versions have the phrase ’door-step’ - as revised from ’doorstep’ in the version printed in the Oxford Magazine on Febaury 15th 1934. So as you say, if it is true, [and I’m not doubting Ms Currie’s word] then there must have been an error in that Unwin Hyman edition of 1990. Which, as I say, is unlucky for Lewis and Currie, because the George Allen & Unwin eds of pre-1990; and the Harper Collins eds of 1992, do not contain this error.

Hammond and Anderson do not note it in their Bibliography [but they admit that a work of that size and complexity cannot be 100 per cent accurate, and invited addenda and corrigenda, which have been published in issues of _The Tolkien Collector. I’ve sent in a correction myself ]

Hammond and Scull make no report of it in their book -The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion_ - as far as I have read, at any rate. [I only got the book a week ago].

only a secondary error on her part for not verifying the source, well, nobody’s perfect - but if you’d found a difference between the two texts, and wanted to make a point of it in your book about Tolkien, would’nt you want to double check? I collect books by and about Tolkien. It’s my hobby. It’s not hard to get access to copies of ATB in the UK. A quick visit to the local library would have proved useful; unless Lewis and Currie’s local library happened to have only the 1990 Unwin Hyman ed!

In my opinion, the onus was on Lewis and Currie to verify this point, using the 1962 text, which is the text they cite. Instead, they published this ’dock-step’ error, which can lead to confusion among readers of Tolkien. [as has been the case on this Plaza]. It’s not the first time Alex Lewis has published a text based on a printing error; or a possible misreading.

As for the ISBN - typing that ISBN into the search page on Abe books.com. comes up with editions of ATB from 1962 [the 1962 ed does not carry an ISBN] through the 70s, into the ’90s. ISBNs are useful, but only up to a point.


Nieliqui Vaneyar 03/Nov/2005 at 06:26 AM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

geordie, just a few thoughts - I am not on their side, so please let’s avoid a debate here.  They obviously can be contacted and from their response, seem to welcome correspondence, so please do so. If you want I can obtain the email address used.  I think contacting them for verification and elucidation is far more enlightening, then trying to guess their motives in this venue.

Second, when I wrote ’later work’ I mean to only differentiate between the 1934 - earlier work and 1962 - later work.  One would hope any reprints, 2nd editions, new editions, etc. would faithfully reproduce the intended original, although in ones listing of references, I think it is highly important to quote the exact source, so as to reduce any potential confusion. 

It would be nice to have exact copies of what Tolkien sent to the publishers but in lieu of that most of us have to make do with the copies we have and hope the typesetting errors are minimal and don’t detract from or modify the original as Lewis and Currie’s copy seems to have done. But if we do see apparent glaring errors, I think it beholden on those of serious research to at least attempt to contact the authors for verification or correction.  This my friend did, and if this spurs debate, discussion, understanding and correction, so much the better.

Nieliqui Vaneyar 03/Nov/2005 at 06:26 AM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003

geordie, just a few thoughts - I am not on their side, so please let’s avoid a debate here.  They obviously can be contacted and from their response, seem to welcome correspondence, so please do so. If you want I can obtain the email address used.  I think contacting them for verification and elucidation is far more enlightening, then trying to guess their motives in this venue.

Second, when I wrote ’later work’ I mean to only differentiate between the 1934 - earlier work and 1962 - later work.  One would hope any reprints, 2nd editions, new editions, etc. would faithfully reproduce the intended original, although in ones listing of references, I think it is highly important to quote the exact source, so as to reduce any potential confusion. 

It would be nice to have exact copies of what Tolkien sent to the publishers but in lieu of that most of us have to make do with the copies we have and hope the typesetting errors are minimal and don’t detract from or modify the original as Lewis and Currie’s copy seems to have done. But if we do see apparent glaring errors, I think it beholden on those of serious research to at least attempt to contact the authors for verification or correction.  This my friend did, and if this spurs debate, discussion, understanding and correction, so much the better.

geordie 03/Nov/2005 at 07:19 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
just a few thoughts - I am not on their side, so please let’s avoid a debate here. They obviously can be contacted and from their response, seem to welcome correspondence, so please do so. If you want I can obtain the email address used. I think contacting them for verification and elucidation is far more enlightening, then trying to guess their motives in this venue.

Actually, I think it’s a good idea to contact a book’s authors to raise any queries, [I do that sort of thing quite often] and I applaud your friend for doing so. It brings a new angle to the group’s discussions.

I thought that the reason why you published Ms Currie’s reply here on this thread was in order for the group to debate this question. Especially as you round off with the words ’if this spurs debate, discussion, understanding and correction, so much the better.’

As you say, I could contact Alex and Ms Currie myself - we all could. [I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them at TS meetings as it happens, but so far I’ve never felt the need to write to them directly.] But I may if there’s anything I’d like to ask them.

But my reason for posting is to carry on a discussion in this group, not with the book’s authors. You raised some points in your post which I found interesting. I hoped to do the same for other plaza members. That is the reason behind my detailed post.



geordie 03/Nov/2005 at 07:19 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
just a few thoughts - I am not on their side, so please let’s avoid a debate here. They obviously can be contacted and from their response, seem to welcome correspondence, so please do so. If you want I can obtain the email address used. I think contacting them for verification and elucidation is far more enlightening, then trying to guess their motives in this venue.

Actually, I think it’s a good idea to contact a book’s authors to raise any queries, [I do that sort of thing quite often] and I applaud your friend for doing so. It brings a new angle to the group’s discussions.

I thought that the reason why you published Ms Currie’s reply here on this thread was in order for the group to debate this question. Especially as you round off with the words ’if this spurs debate, discussion, understanding and correction, so much the better.’

As you say, I could contact Alex and Ms Currie myself - we all could. [I’ve had the pleasure of meeting them at TS meetings as it happens, but so far I’ve never felt the need to write to them directly.] But I may if there’s anything I’d like to ask them.

But my reason for posting is to carry on a discussion in this group, not with the book’s authors. You raised some points in your post which I found interesting. I hoped to do the same for other plaza members. That is the reason behind my detailed post.



Nieliqui Vaneyar 03/Nov/2005 at 09:21 AM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003
geordie, what I meant was, debate on this subject.  They made a statement. Some on this board disagreed, the authors were asked to provide references, they did.  If an independent search (or something like that) can be found to corroborate their reference, then someone like you who has access to numerous other texts (I only have the Tolkien Reader, circa 1972), should contact them and point out the abundance of counter references letting them decide their course of action, and a note should be sent to Unwin Hyman requesting clarification.  None of this seems debateable to me anymore, except who should do what.
Nieliqui Vaneyar 03/Nov/2005 at 09:21 AM
Bowmaster of Lothlorien Points: 8191 Posts: 8480 Joined: 14/Feb/2003
geordie, what I meant was, debate on this subject.  They made a statement. Some on this board disagreed, the authors were asked to provide references, they did.  If an independent search (or something like that) can be found to corroborate their reference, then someone like you who has access to numerous other texts (I only have the Tolkien Reader, circa 1972), should contact them and point out the abundance of counter references letting them decide their course of action, and a note should be sent to Unwin Hyman requesting clarification.  None of this seems debateable to me anymore, except who should do what.
geordie 03/Nov/2005 at 09:32 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
NE - Unwin Hyman do not exist any more. They were sold out to Harper Collins in the 90’s.

But as for your suggestion that I or someone like me should get in touch with Alex Lewis and Elizabeth Currie - no, not me, thanks! As I said, my only interest here in discussing matters raised in this thread.

None of this seems debateable to me anymore, except who should do what.

Ok then. no hard feelings

geordie 03/Nov/2005 at 09:32 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
NE - Unwin Hyman do not exist any more. They were sold out to Harper Collins in the 90’s.

But as for your suggestion that I or someone like me should get in touch with Alex Lewis and Elizabeth Currie - no, not me, thanks! As I said, my only interest here in discussing matters raised in this thread.

None of this seems debateable to me anymore, except who should do what.

Ok then. no hard feelings

Aedhroth 03/Nov/2005 at 05:17 PM
Scout of Lothlorien Points: -24 Posts: 13 Joined: 21/Aug/2005

Halfir, like so many that have done likewise before me, I would much like to prostrate myself before you and thank you whole-heartedly for this wonderful thread. Sadly, as you may notice, I am but a newcomer to this forum, a ’greenhorn’ if you will! But again & again I am astounded by the feeling of brevity amoungst the Plaza folk.

All too often I am finding myself caught up in a thread, only to find that 3 hours have passed me by quite un-noticed!, Perhaps, in the end that is our final aim in all this. If so, then I welcome it...

As a newcomer to the Plaza, (and more importantly to this thread), there is still far more to research, and to digest in full... so I will not as yet profane to give an opinion as such. For, as in all things, there is ’’still much to learn’’

But I would like to offer my thought that Tom & Goldberry are in fact Aule & Yavanna, living for a time on this mortal coil....At least its a comforting thought... ...More to this, Id like to give a nod to SARANNA, who seems to share my celtic, south-western heritage.

’’A diwes an Kres Norvys, a diwes hir bywnans!’’ which means; ’’A drink to Middle Earth, and a drink to long life!’’ - In cornish no less....

Aedhroth 03/Nov/2005 at 05:17 PM
Scout of Lothlorien Points: -24 Posts: 13 Joined: 21/Aug/2005

Halfir, like so many that have done likewise before me, I would much like to prostrate myself before you and thank you whole-heartedly for this wonderful thread. Sadly, as you may notice, I am but a newcomer to this forum, a ’greenhorn’ if you will! But again & again I am astounded by the feeling of brevity amoungst the Plaza folk.

All too often I am finding myself caught up in a thread, only to find that 3 hours have passed me by quite un-noticed!, Perhaps, in the end that is our final aim in all this. If so, then I welcome it...

As a newcomer to the Plaza, (and more importantly to this thread), there is still far more to research, and to digest in full... so I will not as yet profane to give an opinion as such. For, as in all things, there is ’’still much to learn’’

But I would like to offer my thought that Tom & Goldberry are in fact Aule & Yavanna, living for a time on this mortal coil....At least its a comforting thought... ...More to this, Id like to give a nod to SARANNA, who seems to share my celtic, south-western heritage.

’’A diwes an Kres Norvys, a diwes hir bywnans!’’ which means; ’’A drink to Middle Earth, and a drink to long life!’’ - In cornish no less....

halfir 03/Nov/2005 at 06:51 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

NE: I think geordie has adequately dealt with the response of Lewis and Currie. And I have to say in the context of geordie’s  replies  that  Ms.Currie’s response sounds incredibly lame. Why not use the first edition of the 1962 poem- it would be obtainable at or through  reference libraries of quality- such as those in Oxford which Lewis and Currie claim they used extensively for their book, or at the British Library?  I obtained one quite easily simply by searching Website booksellers!

But in any case, their Bombadil section apart, any Tolkien scholar reading their offerings in Uncharted Realms would hardly see them as ’top drawer’!

But I think that all that needs  to be said has been said on this.

geordie:X(

Elwing: How great to hear from you again. I hope all goes well. At this point I am dealing exclusively with a comparison of texts. I will later move on to those areas that you touch upon in your post, but it will be some time in coming. I hope you will stay the course with us as I would very much welcome your input.

Aedhroth: Welcome to the Plaza and thank you for the kind comments. Of course, some of the interpretations I give will be more speculative than others but I have tried to be as objective and as textually supportive as possible for everything I have written.

You are in good company with the Aule/Yavanna propositon cf. Gene Hargrove,  but I fear it is a flawed one.I will be dealing with it and others like it at a much later date, but suffice it to say I think that comments made by Tolkien in The Istari UT make such a proposition problematical, and the response to Christopher Fettes’ letter in 1961:So Bombadil is ’;fatherless’;, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings." rules the proposition totally out of court.

{I think we can ignore the facetious reference to Melchizedek in another earlier  earlier post}.X(

However, I will look at the Aule/Yavanna thesis in detail later on, so I will defer further discusssion on it to a more appropriate time, as I am anxious that as  far as possible we discuss what is currently being examined textually in my posts, and then we’ll move on to more specific areas of perhaps greater general interest!

 

 

halfir 03/Nov/2005 at 06:51 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

NE: I think geordie has adequately dealt with the response of Lewis and Currie. And I have to say in the context of geordie’s  replies  that  Ms.Currie’s response sounds incredibly lame. Why not use the first edition of the 1962 poem- it would be obtainable at or through  reference libraries of quality- such as those in Oxford which Lewis and Currie claim they used extensively for their book, or at the British Library?  I obtained one quite easily simply by searching Website booksellers!

But in any case, their Bombadil section apart, any Tolkien scholar reading their offerings in Uncharted Realms would hardly see them as ’top drawer’!

But I think that all that needs  to be said has been said on this.

geordie:X(

Elwing: How great to hear from you again. I hope all goes well. At this point I am dealing exclusively with a comparison of texts. I will later move on to those areas that you touch upon in your post, but it will be some time in coming. I hope you will stay the course with us as I would very much welcome your input.

Aedhroth: Welcome to the Plaza and thank you for the kind comments. Of course, some of the interpretations I give will be more speculative than others but I have tried to be as objective and as textually supportive as possible for everything I have written.

You are in good company with the Aule/Yavanna propositon cf. Gene Hargrove,  but I fear it is a flawed one.I will be dealing with it and others like it at a much later date, but suffice it to say I think that comments made by Tolkien in The Istari UT make such a proposition problematical, and the response to Christopher Fettes’ letter in 1961:So Bombadil is ’;fatherless’;, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings." rules the proposition totally out of court.

{I think we can ignore the facetious reference to Melchizedek in another earlier  earlier post}.X(

However, I will look at the Aule/Yavanna thesis in detail later on, so I will defer further discusssion on it to a more appropriate time, as I am anxious that as  far as possible we discuss what is currently being examined textually in my posts, and then we’ll move on to more specific areas of perhaps greater general interest!

 

 

ORWEN 06/Nov/2005 at 02:20 PM
Banned Points: 242 Posts: 22 Joined: 28/Nov/2004
I have always thought of Tom as a maia.  The Miai gone nature or maybe gone a little crazy for being left in ME for so long.  Maybe since it seems that he has been there since the creation he is the Maia of the earth itself and all that it grows there.  He has always intriged me and the lack of real imformation is frustrating.  All the ideas everyone has are very intereting
ORWEN 06/Nov/2005 at 02:20 PM
Banned Points: 242 Posts: 22 Joined: 28/Nov/2004
I have always thought of Tom as a maia.  The Miai gone nature or maybe gone a little crazy for being left in ME for so long.  Maybe since it seems that he has been there since the creation he is the Maia of the earth itself and all that it grows there.  He has always intriged me and the lack of real imformation is frustrating.  All the ideas everyone has are very intereting
halfir 06/Nov/2005 at 05:46 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Orwen: As TB is an character created outside ME and imported to it, he cannot be a Maia. If you look at the references I have given to Aedhroth you can see why. But a detailed examination of this attractive- but false position- given great credence by Gene Hargrove’s* ultimately flawed essay will be dealt with at a later date.

* Hargove, Gene - Who is Tom Bombadil (analyzes several of the theories regarding Bombadil and proposes the idea that TB is Aule. Essential reading. http://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/tombomb.htmlX(

halfir 06/Nov/2005 at 05:46 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Orwen: As TB is an character created outside ME and imported to it, he cannot be a Maia. If you look at the references I have given to Aedhroth you can see why. But a detailed examination of this attractive- but false position- given great credence by Gene Hargrove’s* ultimately flawed essay will be dealt with at a later date.

* Hargove, Gene - Who is Tom Bombadil (analyzes several of the theories regarding Bombadil and proposes the idea that TB is Aule. Essential reading. http://www.cas.unt.edu/~hargrove/tombomb.htmlX(

halfir 07/Nov/2005 at 12:31 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Enter Tom Bombadil (1) – A Little Color Speculation and (2) Some Speculation on a Peacock’s Feather.

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter V1 The StorytellerBonhedig Fragment’ my bold emphasis}

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’s feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.
{Verse 1- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- 1934 my bold emphasis}

‘The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hopping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, tough he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was as red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies. {FOTR- The Old Forest – my bold emphasis}

‘’We know that Tom Bombadil was Dutch doll belonging to Michael Tolkien and, in a conversation reported in Mallorn 5, Father John {John Tolkien became a RC priest} , many years later, said he really did wear the same bizarre clothing mentioned in The Lord of the Rings{Christina Scull- Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings –essay in Leaves From The Tree 4th Tolkien Society workshop}.

In an earlier post in this thread - Tolkien as Children’s Storyteller, it was observed:

In her essay Christina Scull makes the following very pertinent comments regarding the way in which childish griefs and fears were utilized by the master both to create characters and stories to comfort and reassure his children- and provide a seed-bed of inspiration for his creative genius:’

“Even with the LOTR Tolkien maintained the habit of incorporating his children’s toys into his stories. ‘As originally conceived , apart from Tom Bombadil, Bingo Bolger-Baggins (the precursor of Frodo Baggins) derived his name from the Bingos, a family of toy koala bears owned by the Tolkien children.’’ {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop}

By the time he had traveled the path that Tolkien set him on, Tom Bombadil had changed dramatically from a child’s toy that had suffered the ignominy of being stuffed down a toilet, into an ‘enigma’ that has kept thousands of us speculating for years. But, as Tolkien himself shrewdly observed- and most certainly believed – journey’s change people:

‘even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects’ {Letter # 183}

and Tom’s journey, from RL to ME most certainly did this, uniting both the old and the new, to produce the enigmatic character that we are presented with in LOTR.

Yet one thing did not change- Tom’s colors!

(1) A Little Color Speculation

From the “Bonhedig fragment’ through the doll referred to by John Tolkien, through the 1934 Adventures to LOTR, Tom’s primary colors remained – Blue and Yellow – with the addition of a brown beard and a red face in LOTR. In The House of Tom Bombadil {FOTR} Frodo’ poses Tom a question:

Did you hear me calling, Master, or was it just chance that brought you at that moment?’

and, at The Council of Elrond {ibid}, Elrond says :

‘You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered…..’

It is fascinating to speculate was it by ‘chance’ that the colors of the doll named Tom Bombadil were blue and yellow, or was it, in some way so ordered’ that the colors of the character whom Tolkien saw in 1937 – Letter # 19 as :

‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’

were blue and yellow – colors that when mixed make –up the color green- a color also closely associated with Tom in LOTR – one of the primary colors of Nature? And even the ‘peacock’ s feather’ which somewhat surprisingly adorns Tom’s hat in the 1934 poem but disappears by LOTR might be glossed as being a ‘peacock blue’ which is , of course, a greenish blue!

Of course, the logical part of one’s mind tell us that this is mere coincidence, and the literary analytical side tells us that this is part of the Master’s creative genius- taking the everyday as it sometimes affected him and his family and transmuting it into something ‘rich and strange’ while still keeping some of that earlier resonance. But, nonetheless –it is fun to indulge in a little fanciful supposition from time to time!

N. B. The actual color symbolism that some have seen in Tom and Goldberry and what it might/ does represent will be dealt with in a later post, so please hold back on discussing that particular issue in depth at this point.

2) Some Speculation On A Peacock’s Feather

The use of the “peacock’s feather’ in the 1934 version is also worthy of some comment, particularly as it disappears after that poem.

In Letter # 237 to Rayner Unwin (12 April 1962) writing about the to be published Adventures (1962 version) Tolkien observes in an asterisked footnote that he has changed the ‘peacock’s feather’ of the 1934 poem :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R. In it his feather is merely, reported as ‘blue’. Its origin is now revealed’, (i.e. revealed in the poem written to be published with the amended 1934 Adventures and called in the 1962 publication Bombadil Goes Boating}.

And, in Letter # 240 to his illustrator- Pauline Baynes, Tolkien explains:

‘The peacock’s feather belongs to an old draft {in fact it belongs to the 1934 published version of the poem} . Being unsuitable for L.R. this becomes in the L.R. (1p.130} ‘a long blue feather’. In the poems as now to be published Tom appears (in line 4 of the first poem) with a ‘swan-wing’ feather: to increase the riverishness , and to allow for the incident in the second poem, the gift of a blue feather by the king’s fisher. That incident also explains the blue feather of the L.R. Poem one is evidently, as said in the introduction, a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. But the second poem refers to to the days of growing shadow, before Frodo set out (as the consultation with Maggott shows: cf. L.R.1 p. 143). When Tom therefore appears in the L.R. he is wearing a blue feather……………….I found that the bird’s name did not mean, as I had supposed, ‘a King that fishes’ . It was originally the kings fisher. That links the swan (traditionally the proerty of the King) with the fisher –bird; explains both their rivalry, and their special friendship with Tom: they were both creatures who looked for the return of their rightful Lord, the true king.”

Now these letters contain a lot of important points that will be returned to later as this thread develops. At this point I want to concentrate solely on the change from ‘peacock’s feather’ in the 1934 draft to ‘a long blue feather’ in LOTR- The Old Forest.

It might be useful to remind ourselves of the chronology of Tom’s feather so that we do not become too confused:

1. In the 1920’s ’Bonhedig fragment’ Tom’s feather was blue (as was the actual feather in the hat of Michael Tolkien’s Bombadil doll’

2. In the mid 30’s ’Germ’ poem no  physical description of Tom is given so no color is mentioned.

3. In the 1934 ’Adventures’ Tom wears a ’peacock’s feather’ (which we might or might not be able to asume is ’peacock blue’ or greenish blue).

4. In 1937 Letter # 19 wheer Tom is locationally  linked to Oxfordhsire and Berkshire no physical description is given of him, but those counties are hardly a natural habitat for peacocks!

5.In LOTR Tom is wearing a ’blue’ feather.

6. In the amended 1962 ’Adventures’ poem Tom is wearing a ’swan-wing feather’ - which clarly isn’t blue (but Tolkien explains why in Letter # 210 quoted above)

7. In the accompanying 1962 Tom Goes Boating poem Tom is given a ’jewel-blue’ feather by the kingfisher.

In his letter to Rayner Unwin in 1962 Tolkien had commented regarding the change from ‘peacock’s feather’ to ‘blue’ feather :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R.’

He could also have said:

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation as the spirit of the (vanishing ) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’.

or

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable for a fictional work that was attempting to be a myth for England’

But, of course, Tolkien was in any case writing specifically, some twenty –five years later, in the context of questions in 1962 regarding the publication of a book of poems about Tom Bombadil - not discussing the possible gestation of the character per se and what it might or might not represent, or of the external mythic implications of LOTR.

Because it can be argued that Tolkien’s change of peacock’s feather ties in with the very ‘Englishness’ that pervades Tom’s character in all its pre- LOTR days- an ‘Englishness’ which he gradually developed until he specifically named it in 1937, and which carried –over into ME when he integrated and assimilated Tom into that work, which in itself was a microcosm of another England.

Moreover, the use of ‘peacock’s feather’ seems incongruous in the 1934 poem itself unless it is co-joined with the color it can be said to represent.

And there is further evidence of Tolkien’s ‘anglicization’ of works which were later revised to integrate them with LOTR in the shape of revisions he made to The Hobbit, which support the ‘Englishness’ thesis advanced here for the changing of ‘peacock’s feather’ in pre- LOTR 1937 Tom too.

In changing ‘cold chicken and tomatoes’ (1937) to ‘cold chicken and pickles’ (1966)

Tom Shippey suggests in the Road to Middle-earth that as Tolkien wrote the sequel to The Hobbit, and as he came to perceive the hobbits and their landscape as characteristically English in nature, he recognized tomatoes as foreign in origin and nature. They were imports from America, like potatoes and tobacco, which were quickly adopted in England. Though Tolkien

does use the word tobacco in The Hobbit a handful of times, it is strictly avoided in The Lord of the Rings , where pipeweed is used. There, as well, potatoes are given the more rustic name taters. Tomatoes were thus out of place in the Shire as Tolkien came to perceive it.” {Quoted by Douglas Anderson – The Annotated Hobbit Chptr. An Unexpected Party – Note 26}

Perhaps this argument has pushed too far into the realms of speculation, and that Part 1 on Colors has influenced Part 2 on the Peacock’s Feather. I leave that for the reader to judge, but I personally believe that while Tolkien’s statement to Rayner Unwin about the incongruity of the ‘peacock’s feather’ appearing in LOTR is totally true with regard  to that story, it is also equally incongruent for it to have been attached to a pre- LOTR 1937 Tom who had, by 1937 - Letter # 19, become so specifically English.

To Be Continued

halfir 07/Nov/2005 at 12:31 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Enter Tom Bombadil (1) – A Little Color Speculation and (2) Some Speculation on a Peacock’s Feather.

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter V1 The StorytellerBonhedig Fragment’ my bold emphasis}

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’s feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.
{Verse 1- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- 1934 my bold emphasis}

‘The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hopping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, tough he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was as red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies. {FOTR- The Old Forest – my bold emphasis}

‘’We know that Tom Bombadil was Dutch doll belonging to Michael Tolkien and, in a conversation reported in Mallorn 5, Father John {John Tolkien became a RC priest} , many years later, said he really did wear the same bizarre clothing mentioned in The Lord of the Rings{Christina Scull- Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings –essay in Leaves From The Tree 4th Tolkien Society workshop}.

In an earlier post in this thread - Tolkien as Children’s Storyteller, it was observed:

In her essay Christina Scull makes the following very pertinent comments regarding the way in which childish griefs and fears were utilized by the master both to create characters and stories to comfort and reassure his children- and provide a seed-bed of inspiration for his creative genius:’

“Even with the LOTR Tolkien maintained the habit of incorporating his children’s toys into his stories. ‘As originally conceived , apart from Tom Bombadil, Bingo Bolger-Baggins (the precursor of Frodo Baggins) derived his name from the Bingos, a family of toy koala bears owned by the Tolkien children.’’ {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop}

By the time he had traveled the path that Tolkien set him on, Tom Bombadil had changed dramatically from a child’s toy that had suffered the ignominy of being stuffed down a toilet, into an ‘enigma’ that has kept thousands of us speculating for years. But, as Tolkien himself shrewdly observed- and most certainly believed – journey’s change people:

‘even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects’ {Letter # 183}

and Tom’s journey, from RL to ME most certainly did this, uniting both the old and the new, to produce the enigmatic character that we are presented with in LOTR.

Yet one thing did not change- Tom’s colors!

(1) A Little Color Speculation

From the “Bonhedig fragment’ through the doll referred to by John Tolkien, through the 1934 Adventures to LOTR, Tom’s primary colors remained – Blue and Yellow – with the addition of a brown beard and a red face in LOTR. In The House of Tom Bombadil {FOTR} Frodo’ poses Tom a question:

Did you hear me calling, Master, or was it just chance that brought you at that moment?’

and, at The Council of Elrond {ibid}, Elrond says :

‘You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered…..’

It is fascinating to speculate was it by ‘chance’ that the colors of the doll named Tom Bombadil were blue and yellow, or was it, in some way so ordered’ that the colors of the character whom Tolkien saw in 1937 – Letter # 19 as :

‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’

were blue and yellow – colors that when mixed make –up the color green- a color also closely associated with Tom in LOTR – one of the primary colors of Nature? And even the ‘peacock’ s feather’ which somewhat surprisingly adorns Tom’s hat in the 1934 poem but disappears by LOTR might be glossed as being a ‘peacock blue’ which is , of course, a greenish blue!

Of course, the logical part of one’s mind tell us that this is mere coincidence, and the literary analytical side tells us that this is part of the Master’s creative genius- taking the everyday as it sometimes affected him and his family and transmuting it into something ‘rich and strange’ while still keeping some of that earlier resonance. But, nonetheless –it is fun to indulge in a little fanciful supposition from time to time!

N. B. The actual color symbolism that some have seen in Tom and Goldberry and what it might/ does represent will be dealt with in a later post, so please hold back on discussing that particular issue in depth at this point.

2) Some Speculation On A Peacock’s Feather

The use of the “peacock’s feather’ in the 1934 version is also worthy of some comment, particularly as it disappears after that poem.

In Letter # 237 to Rayner Unwin (12 April 1962) writing about the to be published Adventures (1962 version) Tolkien observes in an asterisked footnote that he has changed the ‘peacock’s feather’ of the 1934 poem :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R. In it his feather is merely, reported as ‘blue’. Its origin is now revealed’, (i.e. revealed in the poem written to be published with the amended 1934 Adventures and called in the 1962 publication Bombadil Goes Boating}.

And, in Letter # 240 to his illustrator- Pauline Baynes, Tolkien explains:

‘The peacock’s feather belongs to an old draft {in fact it belongs to the 1934 published version of the poem} . Being unsuitable for L.R. this becomes in the L.R. (1p.130} ‘a long blue feather’. In the poems as now to be published Tom appears (in line 4 of the first poem) with a ‘swan-wing’ feather: to increase the riverishness , and to allow for the incident in the second poem, the gift of a blue feather by the king’s fisher. That incident also explains the blue feather of the L.R. Poem one is evidently, as said in the introduction, a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. But the second poem refers to to the days of growing shadow, before Frodo set out (as the consultation with Maggott shows: cf. L.R.1 p. 143). When Tom therefore appears in the L.R. he is wearing a blue feather……………….I found that the bird’s name did not mean, as I had supposed, ‘a King that fishes’ . It was originally the kings fisher. That links the swan (traditionally the proerty of the King) with the fisher –bird; explains both their rivalry, and their special friendship with Tom: they were both creatures who looked for the return of their rightful Lord, the true king.”

Now these letters contain a lot of important points that will be returned to later as this thread develops. At this point I want to concentrate solely on the change from ‘peacock’s feather’ in the 1934 draft to ‘a long blue feather’ in LOTR- The Old Forest.

It might be useful to remind ourselves of the chronology of Tom’s feather so that we do not become too confused:

1. In the 1920’s ’Bonhedig fragment’ Tom’s feather was blue (as was the actual feather in the hat of Michael Tolkien’s Bombadil doll’

2. In the mid 30’s ’Germ’ poem no  physical description of Tom is given so no color is mentioned.

3. In the 1934 ’Adventures’ Tom wears a ’peacock’s feather’ (which we might or might not be able to asume is ’peacock blue’ or greenish blue).

4. In 1937 Letter # 19 wheer Tom is locationally  linked to Oxfordhsire and Berkshire no physical description is given of him, but those counties are hardly a natural habitat for peacocks!

5.In LOTR Tom is wearing a ’blue’ feather.

6. In the amended 1962 ’Adventures’ poem Tom is wearing a ’swan-wing feather’ - which clarly isn’t blue (but Tolkien explains why in Letter # 210 quoted above)

7. In the accompanying 1962 Tom Goes Boating poem Tom is given a ’jewel-blue’ feather by the kingfisher.

In his letter to Rayner Unwin in 1962 Tolkien had commented regarding the change from ‘peacock’s feather’ to ‘blue’ feather :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R.’

He could also have said:

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation as the spirit of the (vanishing ) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’.

or

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable for a fictional work that was attempting to be a myth for England’

But, of course, Tolkien was in any case writing specifically, some twenty –five years later, in the context of questions in 1962 regarding the publication of a book of poems about Tom Bombadil - not discussing the possible gestation of the character per se and what it might or might not represent, or of the external mythic implications of LOTR.

Because it can be argued that Tolkien’s change of peacock’s feather ties in with the very ‘Englishness’ that pervades Tom’s character in all its pre- LOTR days- an ‘Englishness’ which he gradually developed until he specifically named it in 1937, and which carried –over into ME when he integrated and assimilated Tom into that work, which in itself was a microcosm of another England.

Moreover, the use of ‘peacock’s feather’ seems incongruous in the 1934 poem itself unless it is co-joined with the color it can be said to represent.

And there is further evidence of Tolkien’s ‘anglicization’ of works which were later revised to integrate them with LOTR in the shape of revisions he made to The Hobbit, which support the ‘Englishness’ thesis advanced here for the changing of ‘peacock’s feather’ in pre- LOTR 1937 Tom too.

In changing ‘cold chicken and tomatoes’ (1937) to ‘cold chicken and pickles’ (1966)

Tom Shippey suggests in the Road to Middle-earth that as Tolkien wrote the sequel to The Hobbit, and as he came to perceive the hobbits and their landscape as characteristically English in nature, he recognized tomatoes as foreign in origin and nature. They were imports from America, like potatoes and tobacco, which were quickly adopted in England. Though Tolkien

does use the word tobacco in The Hobbit a handful of times, it is strictly avoided in The Lord of the Rings , where pipeweed is used. There, as well, potatoes are given the more rustic name taters. Tomatoes were thus out of place in the Shire as Tolkien came to perceive it.” {Quoted by Douglas Anderson – The Annotated Hobbit Chptr. An Unexpected Party – Note 26}

Perhaps this argument has pushed too far into the realms of speculation, and that Part 1 on Colors has influenced Part 2 on the Peacock’s Feather. I leave that for the reader to judge, but I personally believe that while Tolkien’s statement to Rayner Unwin about the incongruity of the ‘peacock’s feather’ appearing in LOTR is totally true with regard  to that story, it is also equally incongruent for it to have been attached to a pre- LOTR 1937 Tom who had, by 1937 - Letter # 19, become so specifically English.

To Be Continued

halfir 07/Nov/2005 at 10:10 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Tom and Song

Tom was born with song! We don’t actually know that, as our first introduction to him – the ‘Bonhedig fragment’ -gives a very brief snapshot and mentions only his ‘color code’ , the fact that he was old, short and broad, and that  : ‘he was a hale and hearty fellow.’

Yet, without indulging in hindsight- and transferring to his beginning what we come to learn about him and song in later poems and stories, even the term ‘ hale and hearty fellow’ conjures a picture of rustic joyfulness, rumbustiousness, and merry song.

And the emphasis is on ‘merry song’ because until Tom is imported into the world of ME his is a song of sheer joy and pleasure, of fun at being alive, not yet has the concept of song as power entered his world.

And in the mid-1930’s ‘germ’ poem he again uses song to express joy and merriment:

(And he sang)
’Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’
{My bold emphasis}

‘Merry is our singing!…… let laughter run a-ringing.’

From the beginning, and throughout his developing stages as a character imported to ME and made part of it, Tom’s love of life, laughter, and of song remains even in the darkest of moments.

And that joyful, carefree, spirit, which on one level can be seen to symbolize the exuberant joy of natural creation, the sheer exuberance of just being, also stays with Tom, and was with him too from his beginning.

By 1934 and the “Adventures’ song is still used as part of Tom’s celebration of life:

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
. {My bold emphasis}

whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!……. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle

His music is like his being, loud, noisy, raucous ‘like a starling’, declaiming the sheer joy of life and creation.

And yet, even at this stage in his development, Tom has a serious side, and dangers that have to be avoided or overcome: Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow-wight all ‘catch’ him – he is not yet Master. But he has enough mastery of words to ensure that they all release him – and the words that he uses are words that command them to sleep- they should not yet be waking, and they must not impede his walking- as he tells the Badgers:

You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.

N.B. {We will return to the sleep/hibernation/life/death/natural cycle motif in a later post in this thread.}

Tom’s words carry power – all those who have tried to impede him release him at once when he speaks, and the Badgers show both contrition and fear for what they have done:

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
{my bold emphasis}

Tom might singlike a starling’, and use words such as - Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling! but he is still a being of power, whose commands are respected.

But although Tom does not yet use song as a medium of control- that comes as part of his assimilation into ME- OMW certainly knows the power of song- a knowledge that he carries forward into ME where he - also an imported character- blends much more easily than Tom.

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
{ Adventures 1934 - my bold emphasis}

’I don’t like this great big tree. I don’t trust it. Hark at it singing about sleep now.’ {FOTR- The Old Forest - Sam  my bold emphasis}

And OMW too uses sleep –like Tom – as a medium of control.

Tom and Song in  ME

Middle Earth was sung into being:

‘In the beginning Eru, The One, who in the elvish tongue is named Iluvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him. In this Music the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song of the Ainur , and they beheld it as a light in the darkness.’ {The Silmarillion- Valaquenta}

Like many recorded acts of primary creation song is essentially the fons et origo of ME. {For further discussion on this particular subject of Song and Creation see Heron’s excellent thread in archived AL The Power of Song and Chant

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9350&PagePosition=8

So it is not surprising, that in assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME Tolkien gives him as a major aspect of his being, the power of song, and the power over others that song gives.

In the early ages of ME song had been a powerful weapon used by both the forces of good and evil, and song was what distinguished many of the great characters of the Elder Days. Thus, for Tom to be cast into the ME framework as a being of those days – and before- (albeit one whose origins are not in LOTR or ME }, he too had to bear the hallmarks of those other great beings, of which the power of song was one.

Luthien, ‘singing like a lark’ spellbinds Carcharoth with the power of song and sends him to sleep. And even the mighty Morgoth succumbs to her song with its ‘theme of sleep and slumbering.’ Finrod sang and lost a duel of songs of power with Sauron.

By the Third Age- for reasons I will not adumbrate here- the power of song was in decline. Yet it still remained a hallmark of some of the great Elder Day beings. Gandalf, {TT-The King of the Golden Hall} sings softly of Galadriel before he casts Wormtongue to the floor. And Tom – created outwith ME but assimilated into it and thus becoming part of it- characterized as one who has been from all time- too has to have the power of song- as both a hallmark of his ME pedigree and as his coming of age as Master.

Now no longer is Tom simply never caught

walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-‘
{1934 Adventures}

he is never caught in the forest either!

None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water
.{1962 Adventures post LOTR assimilation – my bold emphasis}

So one very significant difference between Tom of the 1934 Adventures and Tom of LOTR is that in order to be assimilated into LOTR he has to use the power of song- which he now does. It is his song which commands OMW and the Barrow –Wight, not his words.

And he has also become Master – for now he cannot be caught at all!

And the process of assimilation into LOTR also interlinks with what had happened to Tom in 1937 when in Letter # 19 Tolkien had specifically identified him with a locality and as being the genius loci of that place- the Master. So, both in his 1937 non LOTR form and in his assimilated LOTR form Tom has become the Master, and in his LOTR form he has also taken on one ‘badge’ of ME greatness – that of the power of song, and thus is identified with ME although not originating from it.

To Be Continued

halfir 07/Nov/2005 at 10:10 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Tom and Song

Tom was born with song! We don’t actually know that, as our first introduction to him – the ‘Bonhedig fragment’ -gives a very brief snapshot and mentions only his ‘color code’ , the fact that he was old, short and broad, and that  : ‘he was a hale and hearty fellow.’

Yet, without indulging in hindsight- and transferring to his beginning what we come to learn about him and song in later poems and stories, even the term ‘ hale and hearty fellow’ conjures a picture of rustic joyfulness, rumbustiousness, and merry song.

And the emphasis is on ‘merry song’ because until Tom is imported into the world of ME his is a song of sheer joy and pleasure, of fun at being alive, not yet has the concept of song as power entered his world.

And in the mid-1930’s ‘germ’ poem he again uses song to express joy and merriment:

(And he sang)
’Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’
{My bold emphasis}

‘Merry is our singing!…… let laughter run a-ringing.’

From the beginning, and throughout his developing stages as a character imported to ME and made part of it, Tom’s love of life, laughter, and of song remains even in the darkest of moments.

And that joyful, carefree, spirit, which on one level can be seen to symbolize the exuberant joy of natural creation, the sheer exuberance of just being, also stays with Tom, and was with him too from his beginning.

By 1934 and the “Adventures’ song is still used as part of Tom’s celebration of life:

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
. {My bold emphasis}

whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!……. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle

His music is like his being, loud, noisy, raucous ‘like a starling’, declaiming the sheer joy of life and creation.

And yet, even at this stage in his development, Tom has a serious side, and dangers that have to be avoided or overcome: Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow-wight all ‘catch’ him – he is not yet Master. But he has enough mastery of words to ensure that they all release him – and the words that he uses are words that command them to sleep- they should not yet be waking, and they must not impede his walking- as he tells the Badgers:

You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.

N.B. {We will return to the sleep/hibernation/life/death/natural cycle motif in a later post in this thread.}

Tom’s words carry power – all those who have tried to impede him release him at once when he speaks, and the Badgers show both contrition and fear for what they have done:

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
{my bold emphasis}

Tom might singlike a starling’, and use words such as - Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling! but he is still a being of power, whose commands are respected.

But although Tom does not yet use song as a medium of control- that comes as part of his assimilation into ME- OMW certainly knows the power of song- a knowledge that he carries forward into ME where he - also an imported character- blends much more easily than Tom.

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
{ Adventures 1934 - my bold emphasis}

’I don’t like this great big tree. I don’t trust it. Hark at it singing about sleep now.’ {FOTR- The Old Forest - Sam  my bold emphasis}

And OMW too uses sleep –like Tom – as a medium of control.

Tom and Song in  ME

Middle Earth was sung into being:

‘In the beginning Eru, The One, who in the elvish tongue is named Iluvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him. In this Music the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song of the Ainur , and they beheld it as a light in the darkness.’ {The Silmarillion- Valaquenta}

Like many recorded acts of primary creation song is essentially the fons et origo of ME. {For further discussion on this particular subject of Song and Creation see Heron’s excellent thread in archived AL The Power of Song and Chant

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9350&PagePosition=8

So it is not surprising, that in assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME Tolkien gives him as a major aspect of his being, the power of song, and the power over others that song gives.

In the early ages of ME song had been a powerful weapon used by both the forces of good and evil, and song was what distinguished many of the great characters of the Elder Days. Thus, for Tom to be cast into the ME framework as a being of those days – and before- (albeit one whose origins are not in LOTR or ME }, he too had to bear the hallmarks of those other great beings, of which the power of song was one.

Luthien, ‘singing like a lark’ spellbinds Carcharoth with the power of song and sends him to sleep. And even the mighty Morgoth succumbs to her song with its ‘theme of sleep and slumbering.’ Finrod sang and lost a duel of songs of power with Sauron.

By the Third Age- for reasons I will not adumbrate here- the power of song was in decline. Yet it still remained a hallmark of some of the great Elder Day beings. Gandalf, {TT-The King of the Golden Hall} sings softly of Galadriel before he casts Wormtongue to the floor. And Tom – created outwith ME but assimilated into it and thus becoming part of it- characterized as one who has been from all time- too has to have the power of song- as both a hallmark of his ME pedigree and as his coming of age as Master.

Now no longer is Tom simply never caught

walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-‘
{1934 Adventures}

he is never caught in the forest either!

None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water
.{1962 Adventures post LOTR assimilation – my bold emphasis}

So one very significant difference between Tom of the 1934 Adventures and Tom of LOTR is that in order to be assimilated into LOTR he has to use the power of song- which he now does. It is his song which commands OMW and the Barrow –Wight, not his words.

And he has also become Master – for now he cannot be caught at all!

And the process of assimilation into LOTR also interlinks with what had happened to Tom in 1937 when in Letter # 19 Tolkien had specifically identified him with a locality and as being the genius loci of that place- the Master. So, both in his 1937 non LOTR form and in his assimilated LOTR form Tom has become the Master, and in his LOTR form he has also taken on one ‘badge’ of ME greatness – that of the power of song, and thus is identified with ME although not originating from it.

To Be Continued

halfir 10/Nov/2005 at 08:06 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Textual Similarities

In an earlier post it was observed:

“‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

This first picture of Tom, of height, width, color coordination, and health, remains constant from this earlier unfinished story throughout The Adventures, LOTR, and Tom Goes Boating {certain minor changes are made in LOTR, The Adventures and Tom Goes Boating but they do not disturb the overall picture.”

And if we compare the ‘King Bonhedig’ fragment (above) quoted from Carpenter with the 1934 Adventures and LOTR-The Old Forest – we see how accurate the consistency observation is.

Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

A 1 -1934

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s *feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

*the significance of the peacock’s feather has been dealt with in an earlier post.

LOTR-The Old Forest

‘Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted. The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hoping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big people, though he made noise enough for one., stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a bright blue coat , and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, his face was red a as ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray as mall pile of white water lilies.’

So the pre-LOTR physical description of Tom, of Michael’s doll, of Bonhedig’s fragment, and of the 1934 Adventures is imported into the story. Only the blue eyes, and the red face are added, and the beard is given the color brown whereas in the 1934 Adventures no color is mentioned.

As Christina Scull mentions in her excellent essay on Tom Bombadil {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Christopher Tolkien in HOME 6 – The Return of the Shadow comments that his father just doesn’t take episodes from the 1934 Adventures into LOTR but quotes verbatim whole phrases.

This again provides us with a verbal linkage bewteen pre-LOTR Tom and the Tom of LOTR and permits Tolkien the luxury of using Tom in the multi-faceted way he finally purposed, and keeping him in both worlds at the same time, without that aspect overtly intruding into or disturbing the LOTR story.

The main song that the hobbits hear before they actually see Tom also has phrases taken from or similar to, or resonant of the earlier 1934 Adventures:

1. Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling { A 21 line 2, A 26 L.4 , LOTR The Old Forest Line 1}

2. He lived down under Hill {A 1 line 3,}
Down along under Hill { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

3. the River-woman’s daughter {A 1 line 3,}

River-woman’s daughter { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

4. round her slender middle {A24 line 6}
Slender as the willow-wand { LOTR The Old Forest Line 6}

5. whistled like a starling { A21 L.1}

and the feathered starling {LOTR The Old Forest Line 2}

The important water-lilies motif which features so strongly with regards to Goldberry in LOTR (dealt with later when we look at Goldberrry} is only briefly mentioned in the 1934 poem :

‘In he went a-swallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a-swallowing’
{ A3 L.4}

But of course the character of Goldberry is virtually non-existent in the 1934 poem and we have no inkling as to whether she featured as a female complement to Tom in his incarnation as the Spirit of the Oxfordhsire and Berkshire countryside as she is not mentioned in Letter # 19 – 1937 -although of course a much later Letter (# 210 1958} links her to ‘seasonal changes’ in river-lands.

To Be Continued

 

 

halfir 10/Nov/2005 at 08:06 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Textual Similarities

In an earlier post it was observed:

“‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

This first picture of Tom, of height, width, color coordination, and health, remains constant from this earlier unfinished story throughout The Adventures, LOTR, and Tom Goes Boating {certain minor changes are made in LOTR, The Adventures and Tom Goes Boating but they do not disturb the overall picture.”

And if we compare the ‘King Bonhedig’ fragment (above) quoted from Carpenter with the 1934 Adventures and LOTR-The Old Forest – we see how accurate the consistency observation is.

Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

A 1 -1934

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s *feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

*the significance of the peacock’s feather has been dealt with in an earlier post.

LOTR-The Old Forest

‘Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted. The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hoping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big people, though he made noise enough for one., stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a bright blue coat , and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, his face was red a as ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray as mall pile of white water lilies.’

So the pre-LOTR physical description of Tom, of Michael’s doll, of Bonhedig’s fragment, and of the 1934 Adventures is imported into the story. Only the blue eyes, and the red face are added, and the beard is given the color brown whereas in the 1934 Adventures no color is mentioned.

As Christina Scull mentions in her excellent essay on Tom Bombadil {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Christopher Tolkien in HOME 6 – The Return of the Shadow comments that his father just doesn’t take episodes from the 1934 Adventures into LOTR but quotes verbatim whole phrases.

This again provides us with a verbal linkage bewteen pre-LOTR Tom and the Tom of LOTR and permits Tolkien the luxury of using Tom in the multi-faceted way he finally purposed, and keeping him in both worlds at the same time, without that aspect overtly intruding into or disturbing the LOTR story.

The main song that the hobbits hear before they actually see Tom also has phrases taken from or similar to, or resonant of the earlier 1934 Adventures:

1. Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling { A 21 line 2, A 26 L.4 , LOTR The Old Forest Line 1}

2. He lived down under Hill {A 1 line 3,}
Down along under Hill { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

3. the River-woman’s daughter {A 1 line 3,}

River-woman’s daughter { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

4. round her slender middle {A24 line 6}
Slender as the willow-wand { LOTR The Old Forest Line 6}

5. whistled like a starling { A21 L.1}

and the feathered starling {LOTR The Old Forest Line 2}

The important water-lilies motif which features so strongly with regards to Goldberry in LOTR (dealt with later when we look at Goldberrry} is only briefly mentioned in the 1934 poem :

‘In he went a-swallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a-swallowing’
{ A3 L.4}

But of course the character of Goldberry is virtually non-existent in the 1934 poem and we have no inkling as to whether she featured as a female complement to Tom in his incarnation as the Spirit of the Oxfordhsire and Berkshire countryside as she is not mentioned in Letter # 19 – 1937 -although of course a much later Letter (# 210 1958} links her to ‘seasonal changes’ in river-lands.

To Be Continued

 

 

Bearamir 11/Nov/2005 at 06:20 AM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
  halfir        Monday, November 07, 2005 at 00:31
  Lordly Legolas     Points: 15200     Posts: 18336     Days: 1342  

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Enter Tom Bombadil (1) – A Little Color Speculation and (2) Some Speculation on a Peacock’;s Feather.

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter V1 The StorytellerBonhedig Fragment’; my bold emphasis}

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.
{Verse 1- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- 1934 my bold emphasis}

‘The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hopping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, tough he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was as red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies. {FOTR- The Old Forest – my bold emphasis}

‘’;We know that Tom Bombadil was Dutch doll belonging to Michael Tolkien and, in a conversation reported in Mallorn 5, Father John {John Tolkien became a RC priest} , many years later, said he really did wear the same bizarre clothing mentioned in The Lord of the Rings’; {Christina Scull- Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings –essay in Leaves From The Tree 4th Tolkien Society workshop}.

In an earlier post in this thread - Tolkien as Children’;s Storyteller, it was observed:

In her essay Christina Scull makes the following very pertinent comments regarding the way in which childish griefs and fears were utilized by the master both to create characters and stories to comfort and reassure his children- and provide a seed-bed of inspiration for his creative genius:’;

“Even with the LOTR Tolkien maintained the habit of incorporating his children’;s toys into his stories. ‘As originally conceived , apart from Tom Bombadil, Bingo Bolger-Baggins (the precursor of Frodo Baggins) derived his name from the Bingos, a family of toy koala bears owned by the Tolkien children.’;’; {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’;s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop}

By the time he had traveled the path that Tolkien set him on, Tom Bombadil had changed dramatically from a child’;s toy that had suffered the ignominy of being stuffed down a toilet, into an ‘enigma’; that has kept thousands of us speculating for years. But, as Tolkien himself shrewdly observed- and most certainly believed – journey’;s change people:

‘even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects’; {Letter # 183}

and Tom’;s journey, from RL to ME most certainly did this, uniting both the old and the new, to produce the enigmatic character that we are presented with in LOTR.

Yet one thing did not change- Tom’;s colors!

(1) A Little Color Speculation

From the “Bonhedig fragment’; through the doll referred to by John Tolkien, through the 1934 Adventures to LOTR, Tom’;s primary colors remained – Blue and Yellow – with the addition of a brown beard and a red face in LOTR. In The House of Tom Bombadil {FOTR} Frodo’; poses Tom a question:

Did you hear me calling, Master, or was it just chance that brought you at that moment?’;

and, at The Council of Elrond {ibid}, Elrond says :

‘You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered…..’;

It is fascinating to speculate was it by ‘chance’; that the colors of the doll named Tom Bombadil were blue and yellow, or was it, in some way so ordered’; that the colors of the character whom Tolkien saw in 1937 – Letter # 19 as :

‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’;

were blue and yellow – colors that when mixed make –up the color green- a color also closely associated with Tom in LOTR – one of the primary colors of Nature? And even the ‘peacock’; s feather’; which somewhat surprisingly adorns Tom’;s hat in the 1934 poem but disappears by LOTR might be glossed as being a ‘peacock blue’; which is , of course, a greenish blue!

Of course, the logical part of one’;s mind tell us that this is mere coincidence, and the literary analytical side tells us that this is part of the Master’;s creative genius- taking the everyday as it sometimes affected him and his family and transmuting it into something ‘rich and strange’; while still keeping some of that earlier resonance. But, nonetheless –it is fun to indulge in a little fanciful supposition from time to time!

N. B. The actual color symbolism that some have seen in Tom and Goldberry and what it might/ does represent will be dealt with in a later post, so please hold back on discussing that particular issue in depth at this point.

2) Some Speculation On A Peacock’;s Feather

The use of the “peacock’;s feather’; in the 1934 version is also worthy of some comment, particularly as it disappears after that poem.

In Letter # 237 to Rayner Unwin (12 April 1962) writing about the to be published Adventures (1962 version) Tolkien observes in an asterisked footnote that he has changed the ‘peacock’;s feather’; of the 1934 poem :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R. In it his feather is merely, reported as ‘blue’;. Its origin is now revealed’;, (i.e. revealed in the poem written to be published with the amended 1934 Adventures and called in the 1962 publication Bombadil Goes Boating}.

And, in Letter # 240 to his illustrator- Pauline Baynes, Tolkien explains:

‘The peacock’;s feather belongs to an old draft {in fact it belongs to the 1934 published version of the poem} . Being unsuitable for L.R. this becomes in the L.R. (1p.130} ‘a long blue feather’;. In the poems as now to be published Tom appears (in line 4 of the first poem) with a ‘swan-wing’; feather: to increase the riverishness , and to allow for the incident in the second poem, the gift of a blue feather by the king’;s fisher. That incident also explains the blue feather of the L.R. Poem one is evidently, as said in the introduction, a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. But the second poem refers to to the days of growing shadow, before Frodo set out (as the consultation with Maggott shows: cf. L.R.1 p. 143). When Tom therefore appears in the L.R. he is wearing a blue feather……………….I found that the bird’;s name did not mean, as I had supposed, ‘a King that fishes’; . It was originally the kings fisher. That links the swan (traditionally the proerty of the King) with the fisher –bird; explains both their rivalry, and their special friendship with Tom: they were both creatures who looked for the return of their rightful Lord, the true king.”

Now these letters contain a lot of important points that will be returned to later as this thread develops. At this point I want to concentrate solely on the change from ‘peacock’;s feather’; in the 1934 draft to ‘a long blue feather’; in LOTR- The Old Forest.

It might be useful to remind ourselves of the chronology of Tom’;s feather so that we do not become too confused:

1. In the 1920’s ’Bonhedig fragment’ Tom’s feather was blue (as was the actual feather in the hat of Michael Tolkien’s Bombadil doll’

2. In the mid 30’s ’Germ’ poem no  physical description of Tom is given so no color is mentioned.

3. In the 1934 ’Adventures’ Tom wears a ’peacock’s feather’ (which we might or might not be able to asume is ’peacock blue’ or greenish blue).

4. In 1937 Letter # 19 wheer Tom is locationally  linked to Oxfordhsire and Berkshire no physical description is given of him, but those counties are hardly a natural habitat for peacocks!

5.In LOTR Tom is wearing a ’blue’ feather.

6. In the amended 1962 ’Adventures’ poem Tom is wearing a ’swan-wing feather’ - which clarly isn’t blue (but Tolkien explains why in Letter # 210 quoted above)

7. In the accompanying 1962 Tom Goes Boating poem Tom is given a ’jewel-blue’ feather by the kingfisher.

In his letter to Rayner Unwin in 1962 Tolkien had commented regarding the change from ‘peacock’;s feather’; to ‘blue’; feather :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R.’

He could also have said:

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation as the spirit of the (vanishing ) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’;.

or

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable for a fictional work that was attempting to be a myth for England’;

But, of course, Tolkien was in any case writing specifically, some twenty –five years later, in the context of questions in 1962 regarding the publication of a book of poems about Tom Bombadil - not discussing the possible gestation of the character per se and what it might or might not represent, or of the external mythic implications of LOTR.

Because it can be argued that Tolkien’;s change of peacock’;s feather ties in with the very ‘Englishness’; that pervades Tom’;s character in all its pre- LOTR days- an ‘Englishness’; which he gradually developed until he specifically named it in 1937, and which carried –over into ME when he integrated and assimilated Tom into that work, which in itself was a microcosm of another England.

Moreover, the use of ‘peacock’;s feather’; seems incongruous in the 1934 poem itself unless it is co-joined with the color it can be said to represent.

And there is further evidence of Tolkien’;s ‘anglicization’; of works which were later revised to integrate them with LOTR in the shape of revisions he made to The Hobbit, which support the ‘Englishness’; thesis advanced here for the changing of ‘peacock’;s feather’; in pre- LOTR 1937 Tom too.

In changing ‘cold chicken and tomatoes’; (1937) to ‘cold chicken and pickles’; (1966)

Tom Shippey suggests in the Road to Middle-earth that as Tolkien wrote the sequel to The Hobbit, and as he came to perceive the hobbits and their landscape as characteristically English in nature, he recognized tomatoes as foreign in origin and nature. They were imports from America, like potatoes and tobacco, which were quickly adopted in England. Though Tolkien

does use the word tobacco in The Hobbit a handful of times, it is strictly avoided in The Lord of the Rings , where pipeweed is used. There, as well, potatoes are given the more rustic name taters. Tomatoes were thus out of place in the Shire as Tolkien came to perceive it.” {Quoted by Douglas Anderson – The Annotated Hobbit Chptr. An Unexpected Party – Note 26}

Perhaps this argument has pushed too far into the realms of speculation, and that Part 1 on Colors has influenced Part 2 on the Peacock’;s Feather. I leave that for the reader to judge, but I personally believe that while Tolkien’;s statement to Rayner Unwin about the incongruity of the ‘peacock’;s feather’; appearing in LOTR is totally true with regard  to that story, it is also equally incongruent for it to have been attached to a pre- LOTR 1937 Tom who had, by 1937 - Letter # 19, become so specifically English.

To Be Continued



I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble
  halfir   Monday, November 07, 2005 at 22:10
  Lordly Legolas     Points: 15200     Posts: 18336     Days: 1342

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Tom and Song

Tom was born with song! We don’;t actually know that, as our first introduction to him – the ‘Bonhedig fragment’; -gives a very brief snapshot and mentions only his ‘color code’; , the fact that he was old, short and broad, and that  : ‘he was a hale and hearty fellow.’;

Yet, without indulging in hindsight- and transferring to his beginning what we come to learn about him and song in later poems and stories, even the term ‘ hale and hearty fellow’; conjures a picture of rustic joyfulness, rumbustiousness, and merry song.

And the emphasis is on ‘merry song’; because until Tom is imported into the world of ME his is a song of sheer joy and pleasure, of fun at being alive, not yet has the concept of song as power entered his world.

And in the mid-1930’;s ‘germ’; poem he again uses song to express joy and merriment:

(And he sang)
’;Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’;
{My bold emphasis}

‘Merry is our singing!…… let laughter run a-ringing.’;

From the beginning, and throughout his developing stages as a character imported to ME and made part of it, Tom’;s love of life, laughter, and of song remains even in the darkest of moments.

And that joyful, carefree, spirit, which on one level can be seen to symbolize the exuberant joy of natural creation, the sheer exuberance of just being, also stays with Tom, and was with him too from his beginning.

By 1934 and the “Adventures’; song is still used as part of Tom’;s celebration of life:

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
. {My bold emphasis}

whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!……. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle

His music is like his being, loud, noisy, raucous ‘like a starling’;, declaiming the sheer joy of life and creation.

And yet, even at this stage in his development, Tom has a serious side, and dangers that have to be avoided or overcome: Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow-wight all ‘catch’; him – he is not yet Master. But he has enough mastery of words to ensure that they all release him – and the words that he uses are words that command them to sleep- they should not yet be waking, and they must not impede his walking- as he tells the Badgers:

You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.

N.B. {We will return to the sleep/hibernation/life/death/natural cycle motif in a later post in this thread.}

Tom’;s words carry power – all those who have tried to impede him release him at once when he speaks, and the Badgers show both contrition and fear for what they have done:

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
{my bold emphasis}

Tom might singlike a starling’;, and use words such as - Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling! but he is still a being of power, whose commands are respected.

But although Tom does not yet use song as a medium of control- that comes as part of his assimilation into ME- OMW certainly knows the power of song- a knowledge that he carries forward into ME where he - also an imported character- blends much more easily than Tom.

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
{ Adventures 1934 - my bold emphasis}

’;I don’;t like this great big tree. I don’;t trust it. Hark at it singing about sleep now.’; {FOTR- The Old Forest - Sam  my bold emphasis}

And OMW too uses sleep –like Tom – as a medium of control.

Tom and Song in  ME

Middle Earth was sung into being:

‘In the beginning Eru, The One, who in the elvish tongue is named Iluvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him. In this Music the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song of the Ainur , and they beheld it as a light in the darkness.’; {The Silmarillion- Valaquenta}

Like many recorded acts of primary creation song is essentially the fons et origo of ME. {For further discussion on this particular subject of Song and Creation see Heron’;s excellent thread in archived AL The Power of Song and Chant

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9350&PagePosition=8

So it is not surprising, that in assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME Tolkien gives him as a major aspect of his being, the power of song, and the power over others that song gives.

In the early ages of ME song had been a powerful weapon used by both the forces of good and evil, and song was what distinguished many of the great characters of the Elder Days. Thus, for Tom to be cast into the ME framework as a being of those days – and before- (albeit one whose origins are not in LOTR or ME }, he too had to bear the hallmarks of those other great beings, of which the power of song was one.

Luthien, ‘singing like a lark’; spellbinds Carcharoth with the power of song and sends him to sleep. And even the mighty Morgoth succumbs to her song with its ‘theme of sleep and slumbering.’; Finrod sang and lost a duel of songs of power with Sauron.

By the Third Age- for reasons I will not adumbrate here- the power of song was in decline. Yet it still remained a hallmark of some of the great Elder Day beings. Gandalf, {TT-The King of the Golden Hall} sings softly of Galadriel before he casts Wormtongue to the floor. And Tom – created outwith ME but assimilated into it and thus becoming part of it- characterized as one who has been from all time- too has to have the power of song- as both a hallmark of his ME pedigree and as his coming of age as Master.

Now no longer is Tom simply never caught

walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-‘
{1934 Adventures}

he is never caught in the forest either!

None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water
.{1962 Adventures post LOTR assimilation – my bold emphasis}

So one very significant difference between Tom of the 1934 Adventures and Tom of LOTR is that in order to be assimilated into LOTR he has to use the power of song- which he now does. It is his song which commands OMW and the Barrow –Wight, not his words.

And he has also become Master – for now he cannot be caught at all!

And the process of assimilation into LOTR also interlinks with what had happened to Tom in 1937 when in Letter # 19 Tolkien had specifically identified him with a locality and as being the genius loci of that place- the Master. So, both in his 1937 non LOTR form and in his assimilated LOTR form Tom has become the Master, and in his LOTR form he has also taken on one ‘badge’; of ME greatness – that of the power of song, and thus is identified with ME although not originating from it.

To Be Continued



I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble
  halfir        Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 20:06
  Lordly Legolas     Points: 15200     Posts: 18336     Days: 1342   

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Textual Similarities

In an earlier post it was observed:

“‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

This first picture of Tom, of height, width, color coordination, and health, remains constant from this earlier unfinished story throughout The Adventures, LOTR, and Tom Goes Boating {certain minor changes are made in LOTR, The Adventures and Tom Goes Boating but they do not disturb the overall picture.”

And if we compare the ‘King Bonhedig’; fragment (above) quoted from Carpenter with the 1934 Adventures and LOTR-The Old Forest – we see how accurate the consistency observation is.

Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

A 1 -1934

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s *feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

*the significance of the peacock’;s feather has been dealt with in an earlier post.

LOTR-The Old Forest

‘Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted. The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hoping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big people, though he made noise enough for one., stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a bright blue coat , and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, his face was red a as ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray as mall pile of white water lilies.’;

So the pre-LOTR physical description of Tom, of Michael’;s doll, of Bonhedig’;s fragment, and of the 1934 Adventures is imported into the story. Only the blue eyes, and the red face are added, and the beard is given the color brown whereas in the 1934 Adventures no color is mentioned.

As Christina Scull mentions in her excellent essay on Tom Bombadil {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’;s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Christopher Tolkien in HOME 6 – The Return of the Shadow comments that his father just doesn’;t take episodes from the 1934 Adventures into LOTR but quotes verbatim whole phrases.

This again provides us with a verbal linkage bewteen pre-LOTR Tom and the Tom of LOTR and permits Tolkien the luxury of using Tom in the multi-faceted way he finally purposed, and keeping him in both worlds at the same time, without that aspect overtly intruding into or disturbing the LOTR story.

The main song that the hobbits hear before they actually see Tom also has phrases taken from or similar to, or resonant of the earlier 1934 Adventures:

1. Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling { A 21 line 2, A 26 L.4 , LOTR The Old Forest Line 1}

2. He lived down under Hill {A 1 line 3,}
Down along under Hill { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

3. the River-woman’;s daughter {A 1 line 3,}

River-woman’;s daughter { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

4. round her slender middle {A24 line 6}
Slender as the willow-wand { LOTR The Old Forest Line 6}

5. whistled like a starling { A21 L.1}

and the feathered starling {LOTR The Old Forest Line 2}

The important water-lilies motif which features so strongly with regards to Goldberry in LOTR (dealt with later when we look at Goldberrry} is only briefly mentioned in the 1934 poem :

‘In he went a-swallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a-swallowing’;
{ A3 L.4}

But of course the character of Goldberry is virtually non-existent in the 1934 poem and we have no inkling as to whether she featured as a female complement to Tom in his incarnation as the Spirit of the Oxfordhsire and Berkshire countryside as she is not mentioned in Letter # 19 – 1937 -although of course a much later Letter (# 210 1958} links her to ‘seasonal changes’; in river-lands.

To Be Continued

 

 



I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble

Prior Discussion Thread:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=188085

Bearamir 11/Nov/2005 at 06:20 AM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
  halfir        Monday, November 07, 2005 at 00:31
  Lordly Legolas     Points: 15200     Posts: 18336     Days: 1342  

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Enter Tom Bombadil (1) – A Little Color Speculation and (2) Some Speculation on a Peacock’;s Feather.

‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter V1 The StorytellerBonhedig Fragment’; my bold emphasis}

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.
{Verse 1- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil- 1934 my bold emphasis}

‘The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hopping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big People, tough he made noise enough for one, stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a blue coat and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, and his face was as red as a ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray a small pile of white water-lilies. {FOTR- The Old Forest – my bold emphasis}

‘’;We know that Tom Bombadil was Dutch doll belonging to Michael Tolkien and, in a conversation reported in Mallorn 5, Father John {John Tolkien became a RC priest} , many years later, said he really did wear the same bizarre clothing mentioned in The Lord of the Rings’; {Christina Scull- Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings –essay in Leaves From The Tree 4th Tolkien Society workshop}.

In an earlier post in this thread - Tolkien as Children’;s Storyteller, it was observed:

In her essay Christina Scull makes the following very pertinent comments regarding the way in which childish griefs and fears were utilized by the master both to create characters and stories to comfort and reassure his children- and provide a seed-bed of inspiration for his creative genius:’;

“Even with the LOTR Tolkien maintained the habit of incorporating his children’;s toys into his stories. ‘As originally conceived , apart from Tom Bombadil, Bingo Bolger-Baggins (the precursor of Frodo Baggins) derived his name from the Bingos, a family of toy koala bears owned by the Tolkien children.’;’; {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’;s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop}

By the time he had traveled the path that Tolkien set him on, Tom Bombadil had changed dramatically from a child’;s toy that had suffered the ignominy of being stuffed down a toilet, into an ‘enigma’; that has kept thousands of us speculating for years. But, as Tolkien himself shrewdly observed- and most certainly believed – journey’;s change people:

‘even an afternoon-to-evening walk may have important effects’; {Letter # 183}

and Tom’;s journey, from RL to ME most certainly did this, uniting both the old and the new, to produce the enigmatic character that we are presented with in LOTR.

Yet one thing did not change- Tom’;s colors!

(1) A Little Color Speculation

From the “Bonhedig fragment’; through the doll referred to by John Tolkien, through the 1934 Adventures to LOTR, Tom’;s primary colors remained – Blue and Yellow – with the addition of a brown beard and a red face in LOTR. In The House of Tom Bombadil {FOTR} Frodo’; poses Tom a question:

Did you hear me calling, Master, or was it just chance that brought you at that moment?’;

and, at The Council of Elrond {ibid}, Elrond says :

‘You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered…..’;

It is fascinating to speculate was it by ‘chance’; that the colors of the doll named Tom Bombadil were blue and yellow, or was it, in some way so ordered’; that the colors of the character whom Tolkien saw in 1937 – Letter # 19 as :

‘the spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’;

were blue and yellow – colors that when mixed make –up the color green- a color also closely associated with Tom in LOTR – one of the primary colors of Nature? And even the ‘peacock’; s feather’; which somewhat surprisingly adorns Tom’;s hat in the 1934 poem but disappears by LOTR might be glossed as being a ‘peacock blue’; which is , of course, a greenish blue!

Of course, the logical part of one’;s mind tell us that this is mere coincidence, and the literary analytical side tells us that this is part of the Master’;s creative genius- taking the everyday as it sometimes affected him and his family and transmuting it into something ‘rich and strange’; while still keeping some of that earlier resonance. But, nonetheless –it is fun to indulge in a little fanciful supposition from time to time!

N. B. The actual color symbolism that some have seen in Tom and Goldberry and what it might/ does represent will be dealt with in a later post, so please hold back on discussing that particular issue in depth at this point.

2) Some Speculation On A Peacock’;s Feather

The use of the “peacock’;s feather’; in the 1934 version is also worthy of some comment, particularly as it disappears after that poem.

In Letter # 237 to Rayner Unwin (12 April 1962) writing about the to be published Adventures (1962 version) Tolkien observes in an asterisked footnote that he has changed the ‘peacock’;s feather’; of the 1934 poem :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R. In it his feather is merely, reported as ‘blue’;. Its origin is now revealed’;, (i.e. revealed in the poem written to be published with the amended 1934 Adventures and called in the 1962 publication Bombadil Goes Boating}.

And, in Letter # 240 to his illustrator- Pauline Baynes, Tolkien explains:

‘The peacock’;s feather belongs to an old draft {in fact it belongs to the 1934 published version of the poem} . Being unsuitable for L.R. this becomes in the L.R. (1p.130} ‘a long blue feather’;. In the poems as now to be published Tom appears (in line 4 of the first poem) with a ‘swan-wing’; feather: to increase the riverishness , and to allow for the incident in the second poem, the gift of a blue feather by the king’;s fisher. That incident also explains the blue feather of the L.R. Poem one is evidently, as said in the introduction, a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. But the second poem refers to to the days of growing shadow, before Frodo set out (as the consultation with Maggott shows: cf. L.R.1 p. 143). When Tom therefore appears in the L.R. he is wearing a blue feather……………….I found that the bird’;s name did not mean, as I had supposed, ‘a King that fishes’; . It was originally the kings fisher. That links the swan (traditionally the proerty of the King) with the fisher –bird; explains both their rivalry, and their special friendship with Tom: they were both creatures who looked for the return of their rightful Lord, the true king.”

Now these letters contain a lot of important points that will be returned to later as this thread develops. At this point I want to concentrate solely on the change from ‘peacock’;s feather’; in the 1934 draft to ‘a long blue feather’; in LOTR- The Old Forest.

It might be useful to remind ourselves of the chronology of Tom’;s feather so that we do not become too confused:

1. In the 1920’s ’Bonhedig fragment’ Tom’s feather was blue (as was the actual feather in the hat of Michael Tolkien’s Bombadil doll’

2. In the mid 30’s ’Germ’ poem no  physical description of Tom is given so no color is mentioned.

3. In the 1934 ’Adventures’ Tom wears a ’peacock’s feather’ (which we might or might not be able to asume is ’peacock blue’ or greenish blue).

4. In 1937 Letter # 19 wheer Tom is locationally  linked to Oxfordhsire and Berkshire no physical description is given of him, but those counties are hardly a natural habitat for peacocks!

5.In LOTR Tom is wearing a ’blue’ feather.

6. In the amended 1962 ’Adventures’ poem Tom is wearing a ’swan-wing feather’ - which clarly isn’t blue (but Tolkien explains why in Letter # 210 quoted above)

7. In the accompanying 1962 Tom Goes Boating poem Tom is given a ’jewel-blue’ feather by the kingfisher.

In his letter to Rayner Unwin in 1962 Tolkien had commented regarding the change from ‘peacock’;s feather’; to ‘blue’; feather :

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation in the L.R.’

He could also have said:

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable to his new situation as the spirit of the (vanishing ) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’;.

or

‘which (I think you will agree) was entirely unsuitable for a fictional work that was attempting to be a myth for England’;

But, of course, Tolkien was in any case writing specifically, some twenty –five years later, in the context of questions in 1962 regarding the publication of a book of poems about Tom Bombadil - not discussing the possible gestation of the character per se and what it might or might not represent, or of the external mythic implications of LOTR.

Because it can be argued that Tolkien’;s change of peacock’;s feather ties in with the very ‘Englishness’; that pervades Tom’;s character in all its pre- LOTR days- an ‘Englishness’; which he gradually developed until he specifically named it in 1937, and which carried –over into ME when he integrated and assimilated Tom into that work, which in itself was a microcosm of another England.

Moreover, the use of ‘peacock’;s feather’; seems incongruous in the 1934 poem itself unless it is co-joined with the color it can be said to represent.

And there is further evidence of Tolkien’;s ‘anglicization’; of works which were later revised to integrate them with LOTR in the shape of revisions he made to The Hobbit, which support the ‘Englishness’; thesis advanced here for the changing of ‘peacock’;s feather’; in pre- LOTR 1937 Tom too.

In changing ‘cold chicken and tomatoes’; (1937) to ‘cold chicken and pickles’; (1966)

Tom Shippey suggests in the Road to Middle-earth that as Tolkien wrote the sequel to The Hobbit, and as he came to perceive the hobbits and their landscape as characteristically English in nature, he recognized tomatoes as foreign in origin and nature. They were imports from America, like potatoes and tobacco, which were quickly adopted in England. Though Tolkien

does use the word tobacco in The Hobbit a handful of times, it is strictly avoided in The Lord of the Rings , where pipeweed is used. There, as well, potatoes are given the more rustic name taters. Tomatoes were thus out of place in the Shire as Tolkien came to perceive it.” {Quoted by Douglas Anderson – The Annotated Hobbit Chptr. An Unexpected Party – Note 26}

Perhaps this argument has pushed too far into the realms of speculation, and that Part 1 on Colors has influenced Part 2 on the Peacock’;s Feather. I leave that for the reader to judge, but I personally believe that while Tolkien’;s statement to Rayner Unwin about the incongruity of the ‘peacock’;s feather’; appearing in LOTR is totally true with regard  to that story, it is also equally incongruent for it to have been attached to a pre- LOTR 1937 Tom who had, by 1937 - Letter # 19, become so specifically English.

To Be Continued



I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble
  halfir   Monday, November 07, 2005 at 22:10
  Lordly Legolas     Points: 15200     Posts: 18336     Days: 1342

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Tom and Song

Tom was born with song! We don’;t actually know that, as our first introduction to him – the ‘Bonhedig fragment’; -gives a very brief snapshot and mentions only his ‘color code’; , the fact that he was old, short and broad, and that  : ‘he was a hale and hearty fellow.’;

Yet, without indulging in hindsight- and transferring to his beginning what we come to learn about him and song in later poems and stories, even the term ‘ hale and hearty fellow’; conjures a picture of rustic joyfulness, rumbustiousness, and merry song.

And the emphasis is on ‘merry song’; because until Tom is imported into the world of ME his is a song of sheer joy and pleasure, of fun at being alive, not yet has the concept of song as power entered his world.

And in the mid-1930’;s ‘germ’; poem he again uses song to express joy and merriment:

(And he sang)
’;Go, boat! Row!The willows are a-bending,
Reeds are leaning, wind is in the grasses.
Flow, stream, flow! The ripples are unending;
green they gleam, and shimmer as it passes.

Run, fair Sun, through heaven all the morning,
rolling golden! Merry is our singing!
Cool the pools, though summer be a burning;
in shady glades let laughter run a-ringing.’;
{My bold emphasis}

‘Merry is our singing!…… let laughter run a-ringing.’;

From the beginning, and throughout his developing stages as a character imported to ME and made part of it, Tom’;s love of life, laughter, and of song remains even in the darkest of moments.

And that joyful, carefree, spirit, which on one level can be seen to symbolize the exuberant joy of natural creation, the sheer exuberance of just being, also stays with Tom, and was with him too from his beginning.

By 1934 and the “Adventures’; song is still used as part of Tom’;s celebration of life:

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
. {My bold emphasis}

whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!……. He sang like a starling,
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle

His music is like his being, loud, noisy, raucous ‘like a starling’;, declaiming the sheer joy of life and creation.

And yet, even at this stage in his development, Tom has a serious side, and dangers that have to be avoided or overcome: Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow-wight all ‘catch’; him – he is not yet Master. But he has enough mastery of words to ensure that they all release him – and the words that he uses are words that command them to sleep- they should not yet be waking, and they must not impede his walking- as he tells the Badgers:

You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.

N.B. {We will return to the sleep/hibernation/life/death/natural cycle motif in a later post in this thread.}

Tom’;s words carry power – all those who have tried to impede him release him at once when he speaks, and the Badgers show both contrition and fear for what they have done:

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
{my bold emphasis}

Tom might singlike a starling’;, and use words such as - Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling! but he is still a being of power, whose commands are respected.

But although Tom does not yet use song as a medium of control- that comes as part of his assimilation into ME- OMW certainly knows the power of song- a knowledge that he carries forward into ME where he - also an imported character- blends much more easily than Tom.

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
{ Adventures 1934 - my bold emphasis}

’;I don’;t like this great big tree. I don’;t trust it. Hark at it singing about sleep now.’; {FOTR- The Old Forest - Sam  my bold emphasis}

And OMW too uses sleep –like Tom – as a medium of control.

Tom and Song in  ME

Middle Earth was sung into being:

‘In the beginning Eru, The One, who in the elvish tongue is named Iluvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him. In this Music the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song of the Ainur , and they beheld it as a light in the darkness.’; {The Silmarillion- Valaquenta}

Like many recorded acts of primary creation song is essentially the fons et origo of ME. {For further discussion on this particular subject of Song and Creation see Heron’;s excellent thread in archived AL The Power of Song and Chant

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=9350&PagePosition=8

So it is not surprising, that in assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME Tolkien gives him as a major aspect of his being, the power of song, and the power over others that song gives.

In the early ages of ME song had been a powerful weapon used by both the forces of good and evil, and song was what distinguished many of the great characters of the Elder Days. Thus, for Tom to be cast into the ME framework as a being of those days – and before- (albeit one whose origins are not in LOTR or ME }, he too had to bear the hallmarks of those other great beings, of which the power of song was one.

Luthien, ‘singing like a lark’; spellbinds Carcharoth with the power of song and sends him to sleep. And even the mighty Morgoth succumbs to her song with its ‘theme of sleep and slumbering.’; Finrod sang and lost a duel of songs of power with Sauron.

By the Third Age- for reasons I will not adumbrate here- the power of song was in decline. Yet it still remained a hallmark of some of the great Elder Day beings. Gandalf, {TT-The King of the Golden Hall} sings softly of Galadriel before he casts Wormtongue to the floor. And Tom – created outwith ME but assimilated into it and thus becoming part of it- characterized as one who has been from all time- too has to have the power of song- as both a hallmark of his ME pedigree and as his coming of age as Master.

Now no longer is Tom simply never caught

walking in the meadows
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-‘
{1934 Adventures}

he is never caught in the forest either!

None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle,
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle,
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water
.{1962 Adventures post LOTR assimilation – my bold emphasis}

So one very significant difference between Tom of the 1934 Adventures and Tom of LOTR is that in order to be assimilated into LOTR he has to use the power of song- which he now does. It is his song which commands OMW and the Barrow –Wight, not his words.

And he has also become Master – for now he cannot be caught at all!

And the process of assimilation into LOTR also interlinks with what had happened to Tom in 1937 when in Letter # 19 Tolkien had specifically identified him with a locality and as being the genius loci of that place- the Master. So, both in his 1937 non LOTR form and in his assimilated LOTR form Tom has become the Master, and in his LOTR form he has also taken on one ‘badge’; of ME greatness – that of the power of song, and thus is identified with ME although not originating from it.

To Be Continued



I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble
  halfir        Thursday, November 10, 2005 at 20:06
  Lordly Legolas     Points: 15200     Posts: 18336     Days: 1342   

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: The Old Forest continued: Textual Similarities

In an earlier post it was observed:

“‘Tom Bombadil was the name of one of the oldest inhabitants of the kingdom; but he was a hale and hearty fellow. Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

This first picture of Tom, of height, width, color coordination, and health, remains constant from this earlier unfinished story throughout The Adventures, LOTR, and Tom Goes Boating {certain minor changes are made in LOTR, The Adventures and Tom Goes Boating but they do not disturb the overall picture.”

And if we compare the ‘King Bonhedig’; fragment (above) quoted from Carpenter with the 1934 Adventures and LOTR-The Old Forest – we see how accurate the consistency observation is.

Four foot high in his boots he was, and three feet broad. He wore a tall hat with a blue feather, his jacket was blue, and his boots were yellow’;;. {H. Carpenter JRR Tolkien A Biography Part 3 Chapter v1 The Storyteller}

A 1 -1934

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s *feather
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

*the significance of the peacock’;s feather has been dealt with in an earlier post.

LOTR-The Old Forest

‘Frodo and Sam stood as if enchanted. The wind puffed out. The leaves hung silently again on stiff branches. There was another burst of song, and then suddenly, hoping and dancing along the path, there appeared above the reeds an old battered hat with a tall crown and a long blue feather stuck in the band. With another hop and a bound there came into view a man, or so it seemed. At any rate he was too large and heavy for a hobbit, if not quite tall enough for one of the Big people, though he made noise enough for one., stumping along with great yellow boots on his thick legs, and charging through grass and rushes like a cow going down to drink. He had a bright blue coat , and a long brown beard; his eyes were blue and bright, his face was red a as ripe apple, but creased into a hundred wrinkles of laughter. In his hands he carried on a large leaf as on a tray as mall pile of white water lilies.’;

So the pre-LOTR physical description of Tom, of Michael’;s doll, of Bonhedig’;s fragment, and of the 1934 Adventures is imported into the story. Only the blue eyes, and the red face are added, and the beard is given the color brown whereas in the 1934 Adventures no color is mentioned.

As Christina Scull mentions in her excellent essay on Tom Bombadil {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’;s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Christopher Tolkien in HOME 6 – The Return of the Shadow comments that his father just doesn’;t take episodes from the 1934 Adventures into LOTR but quotes verbatim whole phrases.

This again provides us with a verbal linkage bewteen pre-LOTR Tom and the Tom of LOTR and permits Tolkien the luxury of using Tom in the multi-faceted way he finally purposed, and keeping him in both worlds at the same time, without that aspect overtly intruding into or disturbing the LOTR story.

The main song that the hobbits hear before they actually see Tom also has phrases taken from or similar to, or resonant of the earlier 1934 Adventures:

1. Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling { A 21 line 2, A 26 L.4 , LOTR The Old Forest Line 1}

2. He lived down under Hill {A 1 line 3,}
Down along under Hill { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

3. the River-woman’;s daughter {A 1 line 3,}

River-woman’;s daughter { LOTR The Old Forest Line 3}

4. round her slender middle {A24 line 6}
Slender as the willow-wand { LOTR The Old Forest Line 6}

5. whistled like a starling { A21 L.1}

and the feathered starling {LOTR The Old Forest Line 2}

The important water-lilies motif which features so strongly with regards to Goldberry in LOTR (dealt with later when we look at Goldberrry} is only briefly mentioned in the 1934 poem :

‘In he went a-swallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a-swallowing’;
{ A3 L.4}

But of course the character of Goldberry is virtually non-existent in the 1934 poem and we have no inkling as to whether she featured as a female complement to Tom in his incarnation as the Spirit of the Oxfordhsire and Berkshire countryside as she is not mentioned in Letter # 19 – 1937 -although of course a much later Letter (# 210 1958} links her to ‘seasonal changes’; in river-lands.

To Be Continued

 

 



I have not fed my readers with straw, neither will I be confuted with stubble

Prior Discussion Thread:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=188085

Bearamir 11/Nov/2005 at 06:21 AM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Ladies & Gentlemen:  I have been asked to start a new thread on this topic as this thread has gotten virtually impossible to load.  So, without further ado, please continue your discussion here:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=191126

Bearamir 11/Nov/2005 at 06:21 AM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008

Ladies & Gentlemen:  I have been asked to start a new thread on this topic as this thread has gotten virtually impossible to load.  So, without further ado, please continue your discussion here:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=191126

halfir 11/Nov/2005 at 07:50 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS

Given the fact that the first thread was becoming cumbersome to open Bear has kindly agreed to opening Part 11. She has also  included the last three posts of my current on-going analysis of the  differences between a number of  Tolkien texts dealing with Tom.

Much has preceded the three quoted- including the overall context of this analysis and much new ground has ben covered and new information come to light .

If you have not read the first thread and wish to comment on Tom I urge you to do before you post, so as we are trying to ensure that posts keep-as far as possible- in line with the textual analysis being undertaken at any given time.

If you want to comment on the three posts above of course feel free to do so.

There is a fair way to go on textual analysis before we start getting to the ’nitty gritty’ topics that so many like to discuss about Tom, but, unlike virtually every other purveyor of their own- as opposed to Tolkien’s wisdom about Tom, this thread will have an exhaustive textual analysis before we actually start discussing some of the ’livelier areas’ and sillier theories i.e. virtually everything written about Tom - excluding of courrse, my own work!X(

halfir 11/Nov/2005 at 07:50 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

NOTE FOR NEWCOMERS

Given the fact that the first thread was becoming cumbersome to open Bear has kindly agreed to opening Part 11. She has also  included the last three posts of my current on-going analysis of the  differences between a number of  Tolkien texts dealing with Tom.

Much has preceded the three quoted- including the overall context of this analysis and much new ground has ben covered and new information come to light .

If you have not read the first thread and wish to comment on Tom I urge you to do before you post, so as we are trying to ensure that posts keep-as far as possible- in line with the textual analysis being undertaken at any given time.

If you want to comment on the three posts above of course feel free to do so.

There is a fair way to go on textual analysis before we start getting to the ’nitty gritty’ topics that so many like to discuss about Tom, but, unlike virtually every other purveyor of their own- as opposed to Tolkien’s wisdom about Tom, this thread will have an exhaustive textual analysis before we actually start discussing some of the ’livelier areas’ and sillier theories i.e. virtually everything written about Tom - excluding of courrse, my own work!X(

geordie 11/Nov/2005 at 10:22 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Might I add a note here on the question of the original poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil? As has been said in the original thread, this poem was originally published in the Oxford Magazine of 15th February 1934. NE mentioned the fact that the original version had not been reprinted since [in this thread, or in her own thread on Goldberry].

The good news is that the entire original poem is reprinted in _The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion_ by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, published just a couple of weeks ago in the uK, and due out soon in the US.

This book also includes Tolkien’s ’Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, part of which had been previously published in earlier editions of Jared Lobdell’s _A Tolkien Compass_

One point which Hammond and Scull make about Tom regards his name Iarwain Ben-adar.

’In an unpublished draft letter of 1968 Tolkien wrote that Iarwain= old-young, presumably because as far as anyone remembered he had always looked much the same: old but very vigourous’
[private collection]


   
geordie 11/Nov/2005 at 10:22 AM
Hugo Bracegirdle Points: 20570 Posts: 14087 Joined: 06/Mar/2005
Might I add a note here on the question of the original poem The Adventures of Tom Bombadil? As has been said in the original thread, this poem was originally published in the Oxford Magazine of 15th February 1934. NE mentioned the fact that the original version had not been reprinted since [in this thread, or in her own thread on Goldberry].

The good news is that the entire original poem is reprinted in _The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion_ by Wayne Hammond and Christina Scull, published just a couple of weeks ago in the uK, and due out soon in the US.

This book also includes Tolkien’s ’Nomenclature of The Lord of the Rings, part of which had been previously published in earlier editions of Jared Lobdell’s _A Tolkien Compass_

One point which Hammond and Scull make about Tom regards his name Iarwain Ben-adar.

’In an unpublished draft letter of 1968 Tolkien wrote that Iarwain= old-young, presumably because as far as anyone remembered he had always looked much the same: old but very vigourous’
[private collection]


   
halfir 11/Nov/2005 at 02:54 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
geordie: Many thanks for that very helpful input.X( It’s great to know that both the 1934 Adventures and the Nomenclature are published ’at large’, at last. And the note about Iarwain is another layer of the onion unpeeled!X(
halfir 11/Nov/2005 at 02:54 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
geordie: Many thanks for that very helpful input.X( It’s great to know that both the 1934 Adventures and the Nomenclature are published ’at large’, at last. And the note about Iarwain is another layer of the onion unpeeled!X(
halfir 11/Nov/2005 at 05:55 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: In The House Of Tom Bombadil: Textual Similarities

We have seen from the previous posts how Tolkien incorporated not only his four main non-ME created figures from his pre- 1937 writings about Tom into LOTR- Tom, Goldberry, OMW, the Barrow-wight, but how he also kept textual links with the 1934 ‘Adventures’ either by direct transfer of words and phrases or by literary resonance.

Although this has at one level a perfectly simple explanation- they suited the context of the story he was now writing as LOTR, they also hold a deeper significance, for they are visible reminders of the fact that Tolkien’s usage of them, particularly of Tom and Goldberry, provides for him the opportunity to disguise another aspect of Tom which was personally very dear to him – that of Tom as an observer of and a commentary on some of the deeper nuances of LOTR, nuances which could be linked –back to the non-ME world from which Tom was taken. This is a subject we will return to in more detail later, but it is worth flagging at this point.

In the same way that Tolkien argued that ‘the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism’ {Letter # 142} so much of what Tom represented for him in LOTR is ‘veiled’ in a similar way.

Textual Similarities

When Frodo and the Hobbits first see Goldberry {In The House Of Tom Bombadil} she is described as follows:

‘Her long yellow hair rippled-down her shoulders; her gown was green, green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew; and her belt was of gold, shaped like a chain of flag-lilies set with pale-blue eyes of forget-me-nots.’

Compare this with the wedding dress that Goldberry wears in the 1934 Adventures

A24

His bride with forgetmenots and flag lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green

And in

A26

While Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

And, as Christina Scull points out in her excellent Tom Bombadil essay Bombadil {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Goldberry’s answer to Frodo’s question as to who Tom Bombadil is:

‘He is the Master of wood, water, and hill……….Noone has ever caught old Tom walking in the forest, wading in the water, leaping on the hill-tops under light and shadow. {In The House Of Tom Bombadil

is very like

A22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow

Bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer-time in the lights and shadow
down dale, over hill, jumping over water.

BUT as was observed in the first thread the 1934 Adventures was written before Tolkien had elevated Tom to be the Spirit of the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside (1937) –their genius loci which made him Master of wood and forest too. And that significant change is reflected in the fact that Goldberry’s words – written after the 1937 elevation, include wood and forest , and the 1934 Adventures do not!

The table that Tom and Goldberry offer their guests is:

Yellow cream and honeycomb, and white bread and butter, milk cheese, and green herbs and ripe berries’. {In The House Of Tom Bombadil

Like Beorn’s table in The Hobbit, as was observed earlier, it is strictly vegetarian- there are no meats on offer.

And it is very similar to the fare that Tom offers Goldberry when he catches her and brings her home to be his wife in the 1934 Adventures:

A 23

You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream , honeycomb, white bread and butter

{On a somewhat facetious note perhapsTom and Goldberry were slightly elitist as ‘In the sixteenth century, white bread was only for the privileged in England. The rest of the people would make do with ’dark bread’ made from barley, millet and other coarse grains.

http://www.homebakingco.com/history.htm#Bread

but perhaps that was not the case in earlier years!}

And before the Hobbits go to sleep Goldberry tells them to

Heed no nightly noises but Pippin wakes believing he hears taps and squeakings –like the sounds of willow-trees ‘scraping wall and window’ {In The House Of Tom Bombadil}

Compare that with:

A 25

and Old Man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow

and

A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps. Knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises.

And although The Badger family who capture Tom in the 1934 Adventures {cf. A12-A15} and drag him underground, are not mentioned in that vein in LOTR- they do get a mention, just as Frodo is slipping the Ring on- annoyed by the fact that it has not affected Tom”

‘Tom was telling an absurd story about badgers and their queer ways’ {In The House Of Tom Bombadil}

So direct words and phrases are taken form the pre-LOTR writings because they fit nicely (when expanded and enlarged} within the story-line of LOTR. But they also provide a link-back to a different part of Tom, that part which although imported, assimilated and integrated by Tolkien into LOTR remains in it but not of it- but we have ‘way to go’ before we start to analyze that!

To Be Continued

halfir 11/Nov/2005 at 05:55 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: In The House Of Tom Bombadil: Textual Similarities

We have seen from the previous posts how Tolkien incorporated not only his four main non-ME created figures from his pre- 1937 writings about Tom into LOTR- Tom, Goldberry, OMW, the Barrow-wight, but how he also kept textual links with the 1934 ‘Adventures’ either by direct transfer of words and phrases or by literary resonance.

Although this has at one level a perfectly simple explanation- they suited the context of the story he was now writing as LOTR, they also hold a deeper significance, for they are visible reminders of the fact that Tolkien’s usage of them, particularly of Tom and Goldberry, provides for him the opportunity to disguise another aspect of Tom which was personally very dear to him – that of Tom as an observer of and a commentary on some of the deeper nuances of LOTR, nuances which could be linked –back to the non-ME world from which Tom was taken. This is a subject we will return to in more detail later, but it is worth flagging at this point.

In the same way that Tolkien argued that ‘the religious element is absorbed into the story and the symbolism’ {Letter # 142} so much of what Tom represented for him in LOTR is ‘veiled’ in a similar way.

Textual Similarities

When Frodo and the Hobbits first see Goldberry {In The House Of Tom Bombadil} she is described as follows:

‘Her long yellow hair rippled-down her shoulders; her gown was green, green as young reeds, shot with silver like beads of dew; and her belt was of gold, shaped like a chain of flag-lilies set with pale-blue eyes of forget-me-nots.’

Compare this with the wedding dress that Goldberry wears in the 1934 Adventures

A24

His bride with forgetmenots and flag lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green

And in

A26

While Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

And, as Christina Scull points out in her excellent Tom Bombadil essay Bombadil {Tom Bombadil and The Lord of the Rings -Leaves From The Tree – JRR Tolkien’s Shorter Fiction- 4th Tolkien Society Workshop} Goldberry’s answer to Frodo’s question as to who Tom Bombadil is:

‘He is the Master of wood, water, and hill……….Noone has ever caught old Tom walking in the forest, wading in the water, leaping on the hill-tops under light and shadow. {In The House Of Tom Bombadil

is very like

A22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow

Bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows
winter and summer-time in the lights and shadow
down dale, over hill, jumping over water.

BUT as was observed in the first thread the 1934 Adventures was written before Tolkien had elevated Tom to be the Spirit of the Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside (1937) –their genius loci which made him Master of wood and forest too. And that significant change is reflected in the fact that Goldberry’s words – written after the 1937 elevation, include wood and forest , and the 1934 Adventures do not!

The table that Tom and Goldberry offer their guests is:

Yellow cream and honeycomb, and white bread and butter, milk cheese, and green herbs and ripe berries’. {In The House Of Tom Bombadil

Like Beorn’s table in The Hobbit, as was observed earlier, it is strictly vegetarian- there are no meats on offer.

And it is very similar to the fare that Tom offers Goldberry when he catches her and brings her home to be his wife in the 1934 Adventures:

A 23

You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream , honeycomb, white bread and butter

{On a somewhat facetious note perhapsTom and Goldberry were slightly elitist as ‘In the sixteenth century, white bread was only for the privileged in England. The rest of the people would make do with ’dark bread’ made from barley, millet and other coarse grains.

http://www.homebakingco.com/history.htm#Bread

but perhaps that was not the case in earlier years!}

And before the Hobbits go to sleep Goldberry tells them to

Heed no nightly noises but Pippin wakes believing he hears taps and squeakings –like the sounds of willow-trees ‘scraping wall and window’ {In The House Of Tom Bombadil}

Compare that with:

A 25

and Old Man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow

and

A 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps. Knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises.

And although The Badger family who capture Tom in the 1934 Adventures {cf. A12-A15} and drag him underground, are not mentioned in that vein in LOTR- they do get a mention, just as Frodo is slipping the Ring on- annoyed by the fact that it has not affected Tom”

‘Tom was telling an absurd story about badgers and their queer ways’ {In The House Of Tom Bombadil}

So direct words and phrases are taken form the pre-LOTR writings because they fit nicely (when expanded and enlarged} within the story-line of LOTR. But they also provide a link-back to a different part of Tom, that part which although imported, assimilated and integrated by Tolkien into LOTR remains in it but not of it- but we have ‘way to go’ before we start to analyze that!

To Be Continued

halfir 14/Nov/2005 at 04:10 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: Fog on the Barrow-Downs – The Importation Completed

‘A shadow came out of dark places faraway, and the bones were stirred in the mounds. Barrow-wights walked in the hollow-places with a clink of rings on cold fingers, and gold chains in the wind. Stone rings grinned out of the ground like broken teeth in the moonlight. The hobbits shuddered. Even in the Shire the rumour of Barrow-wights of the Barrow-downs beyond the Forest had been heard’ {FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil’}

And of course, the hobbits are soon to personally experience the full terror of those wights, whne they are captured by one and imprisoned underground (cf. FOTR Fog on the Barrow-Downs).

In many ways the Barrrow-wights and OMW are the most successful of the four ‘importations’ from the pre-LOTR legendarum, contained in the 1934 Adventures. They fit nicely into the Mordorian scenario that LOTR contains and feel much more at home in ME than Goldberry and especially Tom. The main reason for this is that Tolkien does not use them to achieve any other purpose, and thus they can settle down and assimilate into their new ‘country’ quite happily.

Goldberry, and more particularly Tom do not ‘settle-in’ in the same way. Although they ‘fit’ the LOTR story reasonably well, Tom especially appears to be a ‘quirky’ character who is not entirely at home in the ME Legendarium, and Goldberry , as his consort, to a lesser degree suffers the same fate. This is quite understandable as Tom and Goldberry are representative of a tradition that exists outside the boundaries of ME, which is why Tolkien in his letter to Christopher Fettes in 1961 wrote about Tom:

‘he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings."

But the detailed implications of that are for discussion much later in our analysis!

With the tales of Barrow-wights ‘In The House of Tom Bombadil’ and the hobbits’ capture by a barrow-wight in Fog on the Barrow Downs, the transference of pre- LOTR characters from a different world to that of ME is complete, for the Barrow-wight who captures the hobbits is of course our old friend from the 1934 Adventures- with some finesses of detail and plot line.

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’s got loose tonight; under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

A 18

;Go out! Shut the door, and don’;t slam it after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

A 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

In the 1934 Adventures the barrow-wight is hiding behind Tom’s bedroom door and threatens to take Tom underground to his barrow:

under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

And Tom, as with Goldberry, the Badgers, and OMW uses sleep to control the Barrow-wight- he tells him:

Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

Tolkien takes this episode from his pre-LOTR work, and brilliantly transposes it to ME. Instead of Tom it is the four hobbits who are captured by the Barrow-wight- a Barrow-wight who has taken on even more dread annd terror as in LOTR he is aligned with the Dark Lord.Indeed, a barrow-wight who is set in a pre -Third Age context by Tom’s comments to the hobbits in ‘In The House of Tom Bombadil’.

This grafting, together with that of OMW one finds totally compelling and completely explainable within the world of ME- yet it, too, like its three predecessors, is an ‘import ’ that has had to have been assimilated.

Futher textual similarities and resonances

1.I am waitng for you{Line3. A17 1934}
  I am waiting for you
{Fog on the Barrow Downs p.151 1966}

2. Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you! {Line 8 A 17 1934}
..their faces looked deadly pale and they were clad in white {Fog on the Barrow Downs p.151 1966}

3. Go back to buried gold {Line 6 A 18 1934}
About them lay many treasures, of gold maybe { Fog on the Barrow downs p. 152 1966}

4. Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
{A 18 Lines 3-4 1934}

Cold be hand and heart and bone
and cold be sleep under stone;
never more to wake on stony bed
{Fog on the Barrow Downs p. 152}

And when Tom rescues the hobbits, this time he does not speak words of command- as in the 1934 poem, he sings them, for Tom is now part of the song that is LOTR and he is the Master.

There are other similarities that one could comment on but there is no need to over-egg the cake. From Tom himself, through Goldberry (who is developed much more fully in LOTR than in the 1934 poem) through OMW to the Barrow-wight we witness the importation and assimilation, to a greater or lesser degree, of characters created in a world that was not ME, characters who exist in the circle of influence of Tom Bombadil.

It is because of him, and his 1934 incarnation and 1937 development that the Tom of LOTR exists- and, of course in developing Tom within the context of LOTR Tolkien gives him some ME attributes- but he also keeps with him aspects that do not originate in that world –including of course- Tom himself.

Tom appears again, as a referenced figure, in The Council of Elrond (FOTR) and Gandalf is going to talk with him after the successful conclusion of the Quest –in Homeward Bound,(ROTK) but those episodes belong to a different part of our analysis.

We have now clearly established by comparing the 1934 Adventures and the 1937 Letter # 19 that the provenance of Tom ls outside LOTR and ME. So too, is that of Goldberry, OMW, and the Barrow-wight.

Tolkien’s transference of all of them to LOTR as imports to ME is a stroke of genius, but is more successful in some instances than others. And while Tom, and Goldberry especially, are both deepened in character and developed in context in LOTR they still remain beings who have:

‘no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings.’

To Be Continued

halfir 14/Nov/2005 at 04:10 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil 1934 and Letter # 19 1937 – LOTR Chapter: Fog on the Barrow-Downs – The Importation Completed

‘A shadow came out of dark places faraway, and the bones were stirred in the mounds. Barrow-wights walked in the hollow-places with a clink of rings on cold fingers, and gold chains in the wind. Stone rings grinned out of the ground like broken teeth in the moonlight. The hobbits shuddered. Even in the Shire the rumour of Barrow-wights of the Barrow-downs beyond the Forest had been heard’ {FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil’}

And of course, the hobbits are soon to personally experience the full terror of those wights, whne they are captured by one and imprisoned underground (cf. FOTR Fog on the Barrow-Downs).

In many ways the Barrrow-wights and OMW are the most successful of the four ‘importations’ from the pre-LOTR legendarum, contained in the 1934 Adventures. They fit nicely into the Mordorian scenario that LOTR contains and feel much more at home in ME than Goldberry and especially Tom. The main reason for this is that Tolkien does not use them to achieve any other purpose, and thus they can settle down and assimilate into their new ‘country’ quite happily.

Goldberry, and more particularly Tom do not ‘settle-in’ in the same way. Although they ‘fit’ the LOTR story reasonably well, Tom especially appears to be a ‘quirky’ character who is not entirely at home in the ME Legendarium, and Goldberry , as his consort, to a lesser degree suffers the same fate. This is quite understandable as Tom and Goldberry are representative of a tradition that exists outside the boundaries of ME, which is why Tolkien in his letter to Christopher Fettes in 1961 wrote about Tom:

‘he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings."

But the detailed implications of that are for discussion much later in our analysis!

With the tales of Barrow-wights ‘In The House of Tom Bombadil’ and the hobbits’ capture by a barrow-wight in Fog on the Barrow Downs, the transference of pre- LOTR characters from a different world to that of ME is complete, for the Barrow-wight who captures the hobbits is of course our old friend from the 1934 Adventures- with some finesses of detail and plot line.

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’s got loose tonight; under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

A 18

;Go out! Shut the door, and don’;t slam it after!
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

A 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

In the 1934 Adventures the barrow-wight is hiding behind Tom’s bedroom door and threatens to take Tom underground to his barrow:

under earth he’ll take you!
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you!

And Tom, as with Goldberry, the Badgers, and OMW uses sleep to control the Barrow-wight- he tells him:

Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

Tolkien takes this episode from his pre-LOTR work, and brilliantly transposes it to ME. Instead of Tom it is the four hobbits who are captured by the Barrow-wight- a Barrow-wight who has taken on even more dread annd terror as in LOTR he is aligned with the Dark Lord.Indeed, a barrow-wight who is set in a pre -Third Age context by Tom’s comments to the hobbits in ‘In The House of Tom Bombadil’.

This grafting, together with that of OMW one finds totally compelling and completely explainable within the world of ME- yet it, too, like its three predecessors, is an ‘import ’ that has had to have been assimilated.

Futher textual similarities and resonances

1.I am waitng for you{Line3. A17 1934}
  I am waiting for you
{Fog on the Barrow Downs p.151 1966}

2. Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’ll make you! {Line 8 A 17 1934}
..their faces looked deadly pale and they were clad in white {Fog on the Barrow Downs p.151 1966}

3. Go back to buried gold {Line 6 A 18 1934}
About them lay many treasures, of gold maybe { Fog on the Barrow downs p. 152 1966}

4. Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
{A 18 Lines 3-4 1934}

Cold be hand and heart and bone
and cold be sleep under stone;
never more to wake on stony bed
{Fog on the Barrow Downs p. 152}

And when Tom rescues the hobbits, this time he does not speak words of command- as in the 1934 poem, he sings them, for Tom is now part of the song that is LOTR and he is the Master.

There are other similarities that one could comment on but there is no need to over-egg the cake. From Tom himself, through Goldberry (who is developed much more fully in LOTR than in the 1934 poem) through OMW to the Barrow-wight we witness the importation and assimilation, to a greater or lesser degree, of characters created in a world that was not ME, characters who exist in the circle of influence of Tom Bombadil.

It is because of him, and his 1934 incarnation and 1937 development that the Tom of LOTR exists- and, of course in developing Tom within the context of LOTR Tolkien gives him some ME attributes- but he also keeps with him aspects that do not originate in that world –including of course- Tom himself.

Tom appears again, as a referenced figure, in The Council of Elrond (FOTR) and Gandalf is going to talk with him after the successful conclusion of the Quest –in Homeward Bound,(ROTK) but those episodes belong to a different part of our analysis.

We have now clearly established by comparing the 1934 Adventures and the 1937 Letter # 19 that the provenance of Tom ls outside LOTR and ME. So too, is that of Goldberry, OMW, and the Barrow-wight.

Tolkien’s transference of all of them to LOTR as imports to ME is a stroke of genius, but is more successful in some instances than others. And while Tom, and Goldberry especially, are both deepened in character and developed in context in LOTR they still remain beings who have:

‘no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings.’

To Be Continued

halfir 17/Nov/2005 at 07:55 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

Tom Redivivus - Background

The re-appearance of Tom in the 1962 publication of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was not of Tolkien’s desire but that of his beloved aunt, Jane Neave, who was then 90 years old.

After the publication of LOTR (1954-55) Tolkien’s publishers – George Alllen and Unwin- had waited expectantly for further work from the pen of the Master- and waited in vain.

Rayner Unwin who was specially charged with taking care of Tolkien for Unwin’s writes:

By now I was well aware that my colleagues were totally at a loss to understand why, some six years after the success of The Lord of the Rings, nothing else had been published. They knew that there were several projects in the air, and the volume of correspondence that I conducted with Tolkien occupied a noticeable part of my time. Perhaps I was not sufficiently forceful or encouraging? Perhaps I was the cause of his interminable distraction? I really did not know myself. In my simplicity I thought that now he had retired {1959} he had only to settle down to a single project in order to swiftly complete it. I was naturally aware of his perfectionist tendencies, but like almost everybody else I could not conceive that a single word or concept could halt all progress until it had been explored and filtered through the alembic of his self-created disciplines.

He lacked too, the arrogance that allows busy men to chart their own course through the pressures that surround them. He wanted to oblige everyone, but found himself overwhelmed by innumerable, seemingly simple tasks to which the complexity of his intellect gave equal and earnest consideration. Days could be spent dissecting etymological cruxes that might have a bearing on the interwoven linguistic foundation of Middle-earth. Sometimes these explorations arose from his endless, self-absorbing struggle to create a seamless web for his mythology, but as often as not they stemmed from a superficial enquiry from a friend or fan. Anyone who explored or questioned the detail of his creation a little further than the text allowed concentrated Tolkien’s attention. He might be irritated, or he might accept and expand the theme in a reply of many closely reasoned pages. Either way his work was focused away from any other work in hand.’ {Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11 Merlin Unwin Books Ludlow 2000 ISBN 1 873674 37 6 - my bold emphasis]

In my simplicity I thought that now he had retired {1959} he had only to settle down to a single project in order to swiftly complete it

So, in his ‘simplicity’ Rayner Unwin, in 1959 went to visit Tolkien in Oxford armed with three contracts. One was for Sir Gawain, the second for On Fairy Stories, and the third –The Silmarillion:

At the time these were the only titles we knew about. No delivery dates were entered on them, but it was unofficially agreed that the first two books would be ready by the end of 1959 and The Silmarillion by the end of the year after.’ {ibid my bold emphasis }

In the event, as we know, Sir Gawain was finally published in 1975, The Silmarillion in 1977, and On Fairy Stories in 1983. Tolkien died in 1973!

So no wonder Rayner Unwin’s publishing colleagues were totally at a loss to understand why, some six years after the success of The Lord of the Rings, nothing else had been published’, and both he and they were delighted – as well as disconcerted when, out of-the blue Rayner received a letter from Tolkien in October 1961 suggesting a small book based on his Tom Bombadil verses. Nothing to do with what he had contracted to produce, but something nonetheless!

Then suddenly and unexpectedly in October 1961, Tolkien wrote (triggered by an idea from his 90 year-old aunt, Jane Neave,} suggesting a gift book based on his Tom Bombadil verses……The idea of a book of verses based on Tom Bombadil and illustrated by Pauline Baynes was a new distraction , but not an unwelcome one’.{ibid}

Not unwelcome indeed , for, as Rayner Unwin told Tolkien:

‘As you know we are ravening for more work from the pen of JRRT’. {ibid}

It was indeed serendipitous that Jane Neave - the aunt so beloved by Tolkien – decided that a Tom Bombadil book was something that she would very much like to see, for the Master was not in any way inclined to write anything in that direction himself.

Jane Neave was an icon in Tolkien’s life. In early years she had not only acted as match-maker between his father and mother, she had taken the young Tolkien under her wing on journeys, particularly to Switzerland, journey’s which he was to use as ‘story-germ’ for The Hobbit. She had always been very dear to his heart as he showed in letter to Joyce Reeves (#232 4 Nov 1961) where he wrote:

’I always like shrewd sound-hearted maiden aunts. Blessed are those who have them or meet them.

So it was particularly fortunate for Rayner Unwin that in October 1961 she had written to her nephew asking:

‘if you wouldn’t get out a small book with Tom Bombadil at the heart of it.’(Letter # 231)

Fortunate indeed, as it is clear from Tolkien’s reply that if the request had come from any other quarter it would probably have received short shrift:

‘I think your idea about Tom Bombadil is a good one, not that I feel inclined to write any more about him. But I think that the original poem (which appeared in the Oxford Magazine long before The Lord of the Rings} might make a pretty booklet of the kind you would like if each verse could be illustrated by Pauline Baynes. If you have not ever seen the original Tom Bombadil poem I will try and find it and have a copy made for you.”{Letter # 231 my bold emphasis}.

But of course there was a problem. The 1934 Adventures had been written long before the enhancement of Tom in Letter # 19 and even longer before his importation and further alteration to LOTR.And there were problems raised by the publisher too.  So the Master would have to make some substantial changes to his earlier work.

To Be Continued.

halfir 17/Nov/2005 at 07:55 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

Tom Redivivus - Background

The re-appearance of Tom in the 1962 publication of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was not of Tolkien’s desire but that of his beloved aunt, Jane Neave, who was then 90 years old.

After the publication of LOTR (1954-55) Tolkien’s publishers – George Alllen and Unwin- had waited expectantly for further work from the pen of the Master- and waited in vain.

Rayner Unwin who was specially charged with taking care of Tolkien for Unwin’s writes:

By now I was well aware that my colleagues were totally at a loss to understand why, some six years after the success of The Lord of the Rings, nothing else had been published. They knew that there were several projects in the air, and the volume of correspondence that I conducted with Tolkien occupied a noticeable part of my time. Perhaps I was not sufficiently forceful or encouraging? Perhaps I was the cause of his interminable distraction? I really did not know myself. In my simplicity I thought that now he had retired {1959} he had only to settle down to a single project in order to swiftly complete it. I was naturally aware of his perfectionist tendencies, but like almost everybody else I could not conceive that a single word or concept could halt all progress until it had been explored and filtered through the alembic of his self-created disciplines.

He lacked too, the arrogance that allows busy men to chart their own course through the pressures that surround them. He wanted to oblige everyone, but found himself overwhelmed by innumerable, seemingly simple tasks to which the complexity of his intellect gave equal and earnest consideration. Days could be spent dissecting etymological cruxes that might have a bearing on the interwoven linguistic foundation of Middle-earth. Sometimes these explorations arose from his endless, self-absorbing struggle to create a seamless web for his mythology, but as often as not they stemmed from a superficial enquiry from a friend or fan. Anyone who explored or questioned the detail of his creation a little further than the text allowed concentrated Tolkien’s attention. He might be irritated, or he might accept and expand the theme in a reply of many closely reasoned pages. Either way his work was focused away from any other work in hand.’ {Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11 Merlin Unwin Books Ludlow 2000 ISBN 1 873674 37 6 - my bold emphasis]

In my simplicity I thought that now he had retired {1959} he had only to settle down to a single project in order to swiftly complete it

So, in his ‘simplicity’ Rayner Unwin, in 1959 went to visit Tolkien in Oxford armed with three contracts. One was for Sir Gawain, the second for On Fairy Stories, and the third –The Silmarillion:

At the time these were the only titles we knew about. No delivery dates were entered on them, but it was unofficially agreed that the first two books would be ready by the end of 1959 and The Silmarillion by the end of the year after.’ {ibid my bold emphasis }

In the event, as we know, Sir Gawain was finally published in 1975, The Silmarillion in 1977, and On Fairy Stories in 1983. Tolkien died in 1973!

So no wonder Rayner Unwin’s publishing colleagues were totally at a loss to understand why, some six years after the success of The Lord of the Rings, nothing else had been published’, and both he and they were delighted – as well as disconcerted when, out of-the blue Rayner received a letter from Tolkien in October 1961 suggesting a small book based on his Tom Bombadil verses. Nothing to do with what he had contracted to produce, but something nonetheless!

Then suddenly and unexpectedly in October 1961, Tolkien wrote (triggered by an idea from his 90 year-old aunt, Jane Neave,} suggesting a gift book based on his Tom Bombadil verses……The idea of a book of verses based on Tom Bombadil and illustrated by Pauline Baynes was a new distraction , but not an unwelcome one’.{ibid}

Not unwelcome indeed , for, as Rayner Unwin told Tolkien:

‘As you know we are ravening for more work from the pen of JRRT’. {ibid}

It was indeed serendipitous that Jane Neave - the aunt so beloved by Tolkien – decided that a Tom Bombadil book was something that she would very much like to see, for the Master was not in any way inclined to write anything in that direction himself.

Jane Neave was an icon in Tolkien’s life. In early years she had not only acted as match-maker between his father and mother, she had taken the young Tolkien under her wing on journeys, particularly to Switzerland, journey’s which he was to use as ‘story-germ’ for The Hobbit. She had always been very dear to his heart as he showed in letter to Joyce Reeves (#232 4 Nov 1961) where he wrote:

’I always like shrewd sound-hearted maiden aunts. Blessed are those who have them or meet them.

So it was particularly fortunate for Rayner Unwin that in October 1961 she had written to her nephew asking:

‘if you wouldn’t get out a small book with Tom Bombadil at the heart of it.’(Letter # 231)

Fortunate indeed, as it is clear from Tolkien’s reply that if the request had come from any other quarter it would probably have received short shrift:

‘I think your idea about Tom Bombadil is a good one, not that I feel inclined to write any more about him. But I think that the original poem (which appeared in the Oxford Magazine long before The Lord of the Rings} might make a pretty booklet of the kind you would like if each verse could be illustrated by Pauline Baynes. If you have not ever seen the original Tom Bombadil poem I will try and find it and have a copy made for you.”{Letter # 231 my bold emphasis}.

But of course there was a problem. The 1934 Adventures had been written long before the enhancement of Tom in Letter # 19 and even longer before his importation and further alteration to LOTR.And there were problems raised by the publisher too.  So the Master would have to make some substantial changes to his earlier work.

To Be Continued.

halfir 18/Nov/2005 at 06:03 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

Tom Redivivus – Background –2

Jane Neave’s intervention was serendipitous for Tolkien too. By October 1961 he was yet again in default with his publishers. Gawain and On Fairy Stories had been promised by the end of 1959, The Silmarillion by the end of 1960. None of them were anywhere near completion. Moreover, Tolkien had also earlier blotted his copybook with Unwin’s –albeit innocently, over the matter of the publication of Gawain.

They had been interested in its publication ever since Charles Furth - in 1950 -had written to him about the modern English version he was preparing for the BBC. They were thus horrified to receive a letter from Tolkien in 1959 saying that he had been sent a contract for the book by Heinemann, having completely forgotten – ‘owing to distractions and incompetence’ that he had an option with Unwin’s for his next book. {Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11 }

Hence the rapid visit to Oxford that Rayner made that was referred to in the previous post.

So by late 1961 not only was Tolkien under an obligation to make up for the Gawain publishing mess he was under great pressure from Unwin’s to produce something – and the three promised works had not materialized. So Aunt Jane’s idea must have appeared as manna from heaven.

But, however it might have appeared to Tolkien, the Bombadil suggestion did not appear in quite the same light to Rayner Unwin.

As far as Unwin’s was concerned the 1934 poem did not make a book. Even with illustrations by Pauline Baynes it would be no more than a pamphlet.

Rayner Unwin writes:

‘I insisted that he produce some more poems in order to bulk it up to at least 64 pages, and rather reluctantly he did so. {ibid}

On 15 November 1961 (Letter # 233} Tolkien wrote to Rayner Unwin:

I have in fact made a search, as far as time allowed, and had copies made of any poems that might conceivably see the light or (somewhat tidied up) be presented again. The harvest is not rich, for one thing there is not much that really goes together with Tom Bombadil. Besides Tom Bombadil (of which you have a copy) I send Errantry and The Man in the Moon, which might go together. About the others I am all together doubtful; I do not know even if they have any virtues at all by themselves, or in a series. If however you think any of them would make a book and might attract Pauline Baynes to illustrate the I would be delighted.’ {My bold emphasis}

And the Master clearly doubted that the work he wanted to produce for his Aunt Jane, and as a palliative to his long-suffering publishers, still waiting for unfulfilled promises to be fufilled, as he wrote to Jane Neave (Letter # 234) on 22 Nov 1961:

Thank you for returning the poems. Do not worry about giving me trouble. I have enjoyed myself very much digging out these old half-forgotten things and rubbing them up. All the more because there are other and duller things that I ought to have been doing. At any rate they have you as an audience. Printed publication is, I fear very unlikely. {my bold emphasis}

Rayner Unwin says that on receiving the poems he doubts if he remembered how cavalierly he had treated ‘Tom Bombadil’ when Unwin’s had received the 1934 ‘Adventures’ in 1937. But he did remember ‘Errantry’ (first published in the Oxford Magazine in 1933, a year before the Adventures} and felt that there were enough other verses to make a book even if their themes were varied.

Once with Pauline Baynes- an illustrator for whom Tolkien had the highest regard (he recommended her to C S Lewis for his Narnia series} the problem that Tolkien had highlighted to Rayner Unwin there is not much that really goes together with Tom Bombadil’ appeared again.

On Dec 6 1961 ( Letter # 235) Tolkien wrote to Ms. Baynes:

‘Alas! You put your finger unerringly on a main difficulty: they are not a unity from any point of view, but made at different times under varying inspirations. {My bold emphasis}

By April 1962 (Letter # 237)Tolkien was getting more and more depressed about ever being able to complete the work. In a letter to Rayner Unwin his deep despondency is quite dramatically manifested:

‘I have given every moment that I could spare to the ‘poems’, in spite of the usual obstacle, and some new ones. I am afraid I have lost all confidence in these things, and all judgement, and unless Pauline Baynes can be inspired by them, I cannot see them making as ‘book’. ……The various items- all that I now venture to offer, some with misgiving – do not really ‘collect’. The only possible link is the fiction that they come from the Shire from about the period of The Lord of the Rings. But that fits some uneasily. I have done a good deal of work, trying to make them fit better: if not much for their good, I hope not to their serious detriment. You may note that I have written a new Bombadil poem, which I hope is adequate to go with the older one, though for its understanding it requires some knowledge of the L.R. At any rate it performs the function of further ‘integrating’ Tom with the world of L.R. into which he was inserted. I am afraid it largely tickles my pedantic fancy , because of its echo of the Norse Niblung matter (the otter’s whisker’); and because one of the lines comes straight , incredible though it may seem, from the Ancrene Wisse….

Some kind of foreword might possibly be required. The enclosed is not intended for that purpose. Though one or two of its points might be made more simply. But I found it easier, and more amusing (for myself) to represent to you in the form of a ridiculous editorial fiction, what I have done in the verses and what their references now are. Actually, although a fiction, the relative age, order of writing, and references of the items, are pretty nearly represented as they were.

I hope you are not greatly disappointed by my efforts.’ {My bold emphasis}

And on July 18th 1962 (Letter # 238) Tolkien wrote to his aunt, Jane Neave:

The book of poems is going along. Pauline Baynes has accepted the contract and is now beginning on the illustrations. The publishers certainly intend it for Christmas. I have done my part.’

He certainly had, and Rayner Unwin was not disappointed:

As soon as Tolkien had produced enough I went to Oxford in order finally to determine the choice. For decisions such as this I had learned that correspondence always left doubts, but Tolkien never retracted from decisions face to face. Then I was able to send them to Pauline Baynes, who liked them, and agreed to do the illustrations. Her pictures matched Tolkien’s text magically, and to everyone’s astonishment a year after the book had been first mooted it was published. Our confidence in Tolkien’s marketability, even for a book of occasional verse, was demonstrated by a first printing of 10,00 copies.’ . {Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11 – my bold emphasis }

Some wrinkles remained – as Letter # 240 to Pauline Baynes shows – but these dealt with differences between typescript and galleys that reflected some important changes Tolkien had had to make to the text in order to accommodate both pre-and post LOTR scenarios:

‘I am sorry that you have been bothered by this detail. There have been a number of minor changes made at various times in the process of assimilating Tom. B. to the Lord of the Ring’s world……The peacock’s feather belongs to an old draft….That incident also explains the blue feather of the L.R. Poem one is evidently, as said in the introduction, a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. But the second poem {Bombadil Goes Boating – the one newly written for the purposes of extending the size of the 1962 publication} refers to the days of the shadow before Frodo set out.’ {My bold emphasis}

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was published on 22 November 1962 - ’to everyone’s astonishment’{cf. Rayner Unwin}. On the 28th of November –Letter # 242- a happy Tolkien wrote to Sir Stanley Unwin:

‘I have so far seen two reviews of ‘Tom Bombadil’: T.Litt.Suppl. and Listener: I was agreeably surprised: I expected remarks far more snooty and patronizing. Also I was rather pleased, since it seemed that the reviewers had both started out not wanting to be amused, but had failed to maintain their Victorian dignity intact.’

To Be Continued

halfir 18/Nov/2005 at 06:03 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

Tom Redivivus – Background –2

Jane Neave’s intervention was serendipitous for Tolkien too. By October 1961 he was yet again in default with his publishers. Gawain and On Fairy Stories had been promised by the end of 1959, The Silmarillion by the end of 1960. None of them were anywhere near completion. Moreover, Tolkien had also earlier blotted his copybook with Unwin’s –albeit innocently, over the matter of the publication of Gawain.

They had been interested in its publication ever since Charles Furth - in 1950 -had written to him about the modern English version he was preparing for the BBC. They were thus horrified to receive a letter from Tolkien in 1959 saying that he had been sent a contract for the book by Heinemann, having completely forgotten – ‘owing to distractions and incompetence’ that he had an option with Unwin’s for his next book. {Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11 }

Hence the rapid visit to Oxford that Rayner made that was referred to in the previous post.

So by late 1961 not only was Tolkien under an obligation to make up for the Gawain publishing mess he was under great pressure from Unwin’s to produce something – and the three promised works had not materialized. So Aunt Jane’s idea must have appeared as manna from heaven.

But, however it might have appeared to Tolkien, the Bombadil suggestion did not appear in quite the same light to Rayner Unwin.

As far as Unwin’s was concerned the 1934 poem did not make a book. Even with illustrations by Pauline Baynes it would be no more than a pamphlet.

Rayner Unwin writes:

‘I insisted that he produce some more poems in order to bulk it up to at least 64 pages, and rather reluctantly he did so. {ibid}

On 15 November 1961 (Letter # 233} Tolkien wrote to Rayner Unwin:

I have in fact made a search, as far as time allowed, and had copies made of any poems that might conceivably see the light or (somewhat tidied up) be presented again. The harvest is not rich, for one thing there is not much that really goes together with Tom Bombadil. Besides Tom Bombadil (of which you have a copy) I send Errantry and The Man in the Moon, which might go together. About the others I am all together doubtful; I do not know even if they have any virtues at all by themselves, or in a series. If however you think any of them would make a book and might attract Pauline Baynes to illustrate the I would be delighted.’ {My bold emphasis}

And the Master clearly doubted that the work he wanted to produce for his Aunt Jane, and as a palliative to his long-suffering publishers, still waiting for unfulfilled promises to be fufilled, as he wrote to Jane Neave (Letter # 234) on 22 Nov 1961:

Thank you for returning the poems. Do not worry about giving me trouble. I have enjoyed myself very much digging out these old half-forgotten things and rubbing them up. All the more because there are other and duller things that I ought to have been doing. At any rate they have you as an audience. Printed publication is, I fear very unlikely. {my bold emphasis}

Rayner Unwin says that on receiving the poems he doubts if he remembered how cavalierly he had treated ‘Tom Bombadil’ when Unwin’s had received the 1934 ‘Adventures’ in 1937. But he did remember ‘Errantry’ (first published in the Oxford Magazine in 1933, a year before the Adventures} and felt that there were enough other verses to make a book even if their themes were varied.

Once with Pauline Baynes- an illustrator for whom Tolkien had the highest regard (he recommended her to C S Lewis for his Narnia series} the problem that Tolkien had highlighted to Rayner Unwin there is not much that really goes together with Tom Bombadil’ appeared again.

On Dec 6 1961 ( Letter # 235) Tolkien wrote to Ms. Baynes:

‘Alas! You put your finger unerringly on a main difficulty: they are not a unity from any point of view, but made at different times under varying inspirations. {My bold emphasis}

By April 1962 (Letter # 237)Tolkien was getting more and more depressed about ever being able to complete the work. In a letter to Rayner Unwin his deep despondency is quite dramatically manifested:

‘I have given every moment that I could spare to the ‘poems’, in spite of the usual obstacle, and some new ones. I am afraid I have lost all confidence in these things, and all judgement, and unless Pauline Baynes can be inspired by them, I cannot see them making as ‘book’. ……The various items- all that I now venture to offer, some with misgiving – do not really ‘collect’. The only possible link is the fiction that they come from the Shire from about the period of The Lord of the Rings. But that fits some uneasily. I have done a good deal of work, trying to make them fit better: if not much for their good, I hope not to their serious detriment. You may note that I have written a new Bombadil poem, which I hope is adequate to go with the older one, though for its understanding it requires some knowledge of the L.R. At any rate it performs the function of further ‘integrating’ Tom with the world of L.R. into which he was inserted. I am afraid it largely tickles my pedantic fancy , because of its echo of the Norse Niblung matter (the otter’s whisker’); and because one of the lines comes straight , incredible though it may seem, from the Ancrene Wisse….

Some kind of foreword might possibly be required. The enclosed is not intended for that purpose. Though one or two of its points might be made more simply. But I found it easier, and more amusing (for myself) to represent to you in the form of a ridiculous editorial fiction, what I have done in the verses and what their references now are. Actually, although a fiction, the relative age, order of writing, and references of the items, are pretty nearly represented as they were.

I hope you are not greatly disappointed by my efforts.’ {My bold emphasis}

And on July 18th 1962 (Letter # 238) Tolkien wrote to his aunt, Jane Neave:

The book of poems is going along. Pauline Baynes has accepted the contract and is now beginning on the illustrations. The publishers certainly intend it for Christmas. I have done my part.’

He certainly had, and Rayner Unwin was not disappointed:

As soon as Tolkien had produced enough I went to Oxford in order finally to determine the choice. For decisions such as this I had learned that correspondence always left doubts, but Tolkien never retracted from decisions face to face. Then I was able to send them to Pauline Baynes, who liked them, and agreed to do the illustrations. Her pictures matched Tolkien’s text magically, and to everyone’s astonishment a year after the book had been first mooted it was published. Our confidence in Tolkien’s marketability, even for a book of occasional verse, was demonstrated by a first printing of 10,00 copies.’ . {Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11 – my bold emphasis }

Some wrinkles remained – as Letter # 240 to Pauline Baynes shows – but these dealt with differences between typescript and galleys that reflected some important changes Tolkien had had to make to the text in order to accommodate both pre-and post LOTR scenarios:

‘I am sorry that you have been bothered by this detail. There have been a number of minor changes made at various times in the process of assimilating Tom. B. to the Lord of the Ring’s world……The peacock’s feather belongs to an old draft….That incident also explains the blue feather of the L.R. Poem one is evidently, as said in the introduction, a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. But the second poem {Bombadil Goes Boating – the one newly written for the purposes of extending the size of the 1962 publication} refers to the days of the shadow before Frodo set out.’ {My bold emphasis}

The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was published on 22 November 1962 - ’to everyone’s astonishment’{cf. Rayner Unwin}. On the 28th of November –Letter # 242- a happy Tolkien wrote to Sir Stanley Unwin:

‘I have so far seen two reviews of ‘Tom Bombadil’: T.Litt.Suppl. and Listener: I was agreeably surprised: I expected remarks far more snooty and patronizing. Also I was rather pleased, since it seemed that the reviewers had both started out not wanting to be amused, but had failed to maintain their Victorian dignity intact.’

To Be Continued

halfir 18/Nov/2005 at 09:01 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

Tom Redivivus – Background – 3

In his Preface to the 1962 Adventures Tolkien, as ‘editor’ of the Poems in the Preface fictionalizes their pedigree by stating that they are taken from various verses in the Red Book of Westmarch. They are taken from legends and jests of the Shire at the end of the Third Age, that appear to have been made by Hobbits, especially Bilbo and friends, or their immediate descendants. He even goes as far as attributing certain poems to certain individuals, e.g. No.5 to Bilbo, No. 7 to Sam.

Of the first two, the Bombadil poems- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (revised from the 1934 edition) and Bombadil Goes Boating – written especially for this publication by Tolkien- the ‘editor’ says, in the Preface:

’Nos. 1 and 2 evidently come from the Buckland. They show more knowledge of the country, and of the dingle, the wooded valley of the Withywindle, than any Hobbits west of the Marish were likely to possess. They also show that the Bucklanders knew Bombadil, though no doubt, they had as little understanding of his powers as the Shire-folk had of Gandalf’s: both were regarded as benevolent persons, mysterious maybe and unpredictable, but nonetheless comic. No.1. is the earlier piece, and is made up of various hobbit-versions of legends concerning Bombadil. No. 2 uses similar traditions, though Tom’s raillery is here turned in jest upon his friends, who treat it with amusement (tinged with fear) ; but it was probably composed much later and after the visit of Frodo and his companions to the house of Bombadil.’

This ‘fictionalizing ‘ of the Preface had been referred to by Tolkien writing to Rayner Unwin in April 1962 –Letter # 237:

But I found it easier, and more amusing (for myself) to represent to you in the form of a ridiculous editorial fiction, what I have done in the verses and what their references now are. Actually, although a fiction, the relative age, order of writing, and references of the items, are pretty nearly represented as they were.’ {my bold emphasis}

It was a fiction that amused Rayner Unwin and it was kept as the Preface. And it works very well, attempting as it does to locate non-ME and non-Bombadil material to an ME and Bombadilian tradition.

But it is a fiction, and those who try and claim that Tolkien wanted us to see both the 1934 revision that it contains, and the other poems as part of an actual Hobbit ME tradition are talking nonsense, for Tom was never part of any Hobbit or ME tradition- he was an import to their world.

He did with the 1962 Adventures what he did with revisions to the Hobbit post LOTR- he tried to make them align with the later work- and succeeded, in part. But he knew, and said it was a fiction and he was not at all happy that it worked, anymore than he was with the revisions to The Hobbit, or the truncated Appendices to LOTR that he was forced by book-economy to produce.

And the fact that Tom- and thus by definition those characters associated with him in the 1934 poem, are imports- are stressed again and again in the letters he wrote to Rayner Unwin, his aunt, and Pauline Baynes, as is his admission that many of the ‘filler’ poems in the 1962 Adventures- there are 14 over and above the two Bombadil poems- had little or nothing to do with ME – although he connived to make them appear to do so.

The reality of the 1962 Adventures is this:

1.The re-appearance of Tom in the 1962 publication of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was not of Tolkien’s desire but that of his beloved aunt, Jane Neave, who was then 90 years old, conjoined with the fact that yet again he was dismally overdue with promised books to his publisher.

2.Indeed, Tolkien had nothing more he wanted to say about Tom, in published form: ’not that I feel inclined to write any more about him (Letter # 231)

3. When asked by Rayner Unwin to ’bulk’ the proosed book more with other verse he responded by saying: ’there is not much that really goes together with Tom Bombadil’ (Letter # 233)

4. The non-Bombadilian or ME nature of the other verse, and its lack of unity he confirmed to Pauline Baynes: ’they are not a unity from any point of view, but made at different times under varying inspirations.’ (Letter # 235)

5. This lack of unity and ME credibility continued to concern him: The various items- all that I now venture to offer, some with misgiving – do not really ‘collect’.The only possible link is the fiction that they come from the Shire from about the period of The Lord of the Rings.But that fits some uneasily. (Letter # 237)

6. Much of this was caused by the fact that Tom –and they- were never originally part of the LOTR or ME scene:’You may note that I have written a new Bombadil poem, which I hope is adequate to go with the older one though for its understanding it requires some knowledge of the L.R. At any rate it performs the function of further intergrating Tom Bombadil into the world into which he was inserted. {Letter # 237}

7. The ‘fiction’ that surrounds the poems is to be continued in the Preface to establish some sort of consistency and credibility:in the form of a ridiculous editorial fiction, what I have done in the verses and what their references now are.Actually, although a fiction.....{Letter # 237}

8. Rayner Unwin further emphasizes the non ME aspect by calling the work: "a book of occasional verse.{Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11}

9. And Tolkien, in responding to Pauline Baynes regarding changes in the text tells her that they were made as part of:’the process of assimilating Tom B. to The Lord of The Rings’s world......{Letter # 240}

N.B. My emphasis and underline throughout.

What this demonstrates yet again, is the essential fact that Tom Bombadil was never a ME figure- he was an import who was assimilated and integrated into the story but who always had aspects that were other than those of the world of ME and the Hobbits of LOTR. And even in the 1962 Adventures, refined through the lens of LOTR- Tolkien has to change the text to accommodate the Tom of 1934 and 1937’s progression through LOTR.

The 1962 Adventures add nothing at all to our understanding of the nature of Tom or to his character. Tolkien had said it all in 1934, 1937 and in LOTR.Indeed he said as much in 1961, ‘not that I feel inclined to write any more about him’ {Letter # 231}. And in reality, although he wrote Bombadil Goes Boating for the 1962 work, he actually tells us nothing further about Tom. By the end of LOTR,other than in letters of explanation to readers, he has finished his story of Tom Bombadil. All that needed to be said had been said by the end of the Quest,

To Be Continued

halfir 18/Nov/2005 at 09:01 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

Tom Redivivus – Background – 3

In his Preface to the 1962 Adventures Tolkien, as ‘editor’ of the Poems in the Preface fictionalizes their pedigree by stating that they are taken from various verses in the Red Book of Westmarch. They are taken from legends and jests of the Shire at the end of the Third Age, that appear to have been made by Hobbits, especially Bilbo and friends, or their immediate descendants. He even goes as far as attributing certain poems to certain individuals, e.g. No.5 to Bilbo, No. 7 to Sam.

Of the first two, the Bombadil poems- The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (revised from the 1934 edition) and Bombadil Goes Boating – written especially for this publication by Tolkien- the ‘editor’ says, in the Preface:

’Nos. 1 and 2 evidently come from the Buckland. They show more knowledge of the country, and of the dingle, the wooded valley of the Withywindle, than any Hobbits west of the Marish were likely to possess. They also show that the Bucklanders knew Bombadil, though no doubt, they had as little understanding of his powers as the Shire-folk had of Gandalf’s: both were regarded as benevolent persons, mysterious maybe and unpredictable, but nonetheless comic. No.1. is the earlier piece, and is made up of various hobbit-versions of legends concerning Bombadil. No. 2 uses similar traditions, though Tom’s raillery is here turned in jest upon his friends, who treat it with amusement (tinged with fear) ; but it was probably composed much later and after the visit of Frodo and his companions to the house of Bombadil.’

This ‘fictionalizing ‘ of the Preface had been referred to by Tolkien writing to Rayner Unwin in April 1962 –Letter # 237:

But I found it easier, and more amusing (for myself) to represent to you in the form of a ridiculous editorial fiction, what I have done in the verses and what their references now are. Actually, although a fiction, the relative age, order of writing, and references of the items, are pretty nearly represented as they were.’ {my bold emphasis}

It was a fiction that amused Rayner Unwin and it was kept as the Preface. And it works very well, attempting as it does to locate non-ME and non-Bombadil material to an ME and Bombadilian tradition.

But it is a fiction, and those who try and claim that Tolkien wanted us to see both the 1934 revision that it contains, and the other poems as part of an actual Hobbit ME tradition are talking nonsense, for Tom was never part of any Hobbit or ME tradition- he was an import to their world.

He did with the 1962 Adventures what he did with revisions to the Hobbit post LOTR- he tried to make them align with the later work- and succeeded, in part. But he knew, and said it was a fiction and he was not at all happy that it worked, anymore than he was with the revisions to The Hobbit, or the truncated Appendices to LOTR that he was forced by book-economy to produce.

And the fact that Tom- and thus by definition those characters associated with him in the 1934 poem, are imports- are stressed again and again in the letters he wrote to Rayner Unwin, his aunt, and Pauline Baynes, as is his admission that many of the ‘filler’ poems in the 1962 Adventures- there are 14 over and above the two Bombadil poems- had little or nothing to do with ME – although he connived to make them appear to do so.

The reality of the 1962 Adventures is this:

1.The re-appearance of Tom in the 1962 publication of The Adventures of Tom Bombadil was not of Tolkien’s desire but that of his beloved aunt, Jane Neave, who was then 90 years old, conjoined with the fact that yet again he was dismally overdue with promised books to his publisher.

2.Indeed, Tolkien had nothing more he wanted to say about Tom, in published form: ’not that I feel inclined to write any more about him (Letter # 231)

3. When asked by Rayner Unwin to ’bulk’ the proosed book more with other verse he responded by saying: ’there is not much that really goes together with Tom Bombadil’ (Letter # 233)

4. The non-Bombadilian or ME nature of the other verse, and its lack of unity he confirmed to Pauline Baynes: ’they are not a unity from any point of view, but made at different times under varying inspirations.’ (Letter # 235)

5. This lack of unity and ME credibility continued to concern him: The various items- all that I now venture to offer, some with misgiving – do not really ‘collect’.The only possible link is the fiction that they come from the Shire from about the period of The Lord of the Rings.But that fits some uneasily. (Letter # 237)

6. Much of this was caused by the fact that Tom –and they- were never originally part of the LOTR or ME scene:’You may note that I have written a new Bombadil poem, which I hope is adequate to go with the older one though for its understanding it requires some knowledge of the L.R. At any rate it performs the function of further intergrating Tom Bombadil into the world into which he was inserted. {Letter # 237}

7. The ‘fiction’ that surrounds the poems is to be continued in the Preface to establish some sort of consistency and credibility:in the form of a ridiculous editorial fiction, what I have done in the verses and what their references now are.Actually, although a fiction.....{Letter # 237}

8. Rayner Unwin further emphasizes the non ME aspect by calling the work: "a book of occasional verse.{Rayner Unwin- George Allen and Unwin- A Remembrancer Chptr. Publishing Tolkien 11}

9. And Tolkien, in responding to Pauline Baynes regarding changes in the text tells her that they were made as part of:’the process of assimilating Tom B. to The Lord of The Rings’s world......{Letter # 240}

N.B. My emphasis and underline throughout.

What this demonstrates yet again, is the essential fact that Tom Bombadil was never a ME figure- he was an import who was assimilated and integrated into the story but who always had aspects that were other than those of the world of ME and the Hobbits of LOTR. And even in the 1962 Adventures, refined through the lens of LOTR- Tolkien has to change the text to accommodate the Tom of 1934 and 1937’s progression through LOTR.

The 1962 Adventures add nothing at all to our understanding of the nature of Tom or to his character. Tolkien had said it all in 1934, 1937 and in LOTR.Indeed he said as much in 1961, ‘not that I feel inclined to write any more about him’ {Letter # 231}. And in reality, although he wrote Bombadil Goes Boating for the 1962 work, he actually tells us nothing further about Tom. By the end of LOTR,other than in letters of explanation to readers, he has finished his story of Tom Bombadil. All that needed to be said had been said by the end of the Quest,

To Be Continued

halfir 20/Nov/2005 at 09:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 1

Please note that stanzas marked A refer to the 1934 version and stanzas marked B to the 1962 version. Where version A differs from version B, version A is given in blue, and version B in red. Where the two versions are the same they are noted together as A and B and denoted by the color black.

I owe –as ever- a huge debt of gratitude to my great friend, and the Plaza’;s ‘source-guru’;- geordie for making the 1934 version available to me.

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow 1
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s feather 2
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

B 1

Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow 1
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather;
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle 2
ran from a grassy well down into the dingle.

1.’is’ changes to ‘was’ in the later version as we are now talking about Tom B whom we have come to know in LOTR – therefore he now has a history.

2. The question of the ’peacock’s feather’ has been dealt with at length in the opening post of this thread(see above).

down under’ is now changed to ‘up under’ to fit in with the geography of LOTR. The Withywindle, introduced into LOTR is retained in the later version of the poem, in the earlier version no river is named.

A 2

Old Tom Bombadil walked about the meadows 1
Gathering the buttercups, a-chasing of the shadows,
tickling the bumblebees a-buzzing in the flowers
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

B 2

Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows 1
gathering the buttercups, running after shadows,
tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers,
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

1. The ‘seasonality’ that occurs in LOTR with regard to Tom and Goldberry is here established much earlier on in the 1962 poem, whereas the 1934 poem does not mention seasons until Stanza A 22

A 3 and B 3

There his beard dangled long down into the water:
up came Goldberry, the River-woman’;s daughter;
pulled Tom’;s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a –swallowing.

A 4 and B 4

‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’;
said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing,
frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat,
startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather –hat!’;

A 5 and B 5

‘You bring it back again, there’;s a pretty maiden!’;
said Tom Bombadil. ‘I do not care for wading.
Go down! Sleep again where the pools are shady
far below the willow-roots, little water- lady!’;

A 6 and B 6

Back to her mother’;s house in the deepest hollow
swam young Goldberry. But Tom, he would not follow;
on knotted willow-roots he sat in sunny weather,
drying his yellow boots and his draggled feather.

To Be Continued

halfir 20/Nov/2005 at 09:56 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 1

Please note that stanzas marked A refer to the 1934 version and stanzas marked B to the 1962 version. Where version A differs from version B, version A is given in blue, and version B in red. Where the two versions are the same they are noted together as A and B and denoted by the color black.

I owe –as ever- a huge debt of gratitude to my great friend, and the Plaza’;s ‘source-guru’;- geordie for making the 1934 version available to me.

A 1

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow 1
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
He lived down under Hill: and a peacock’;s feather 2
nodded in his old hat, tossing in the weather.

B 1

Old Tom Bombadil was a merry fellow 1
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
green were his girdle and his breeches all of leather;
He lived up under Hill, where the Withywindle 2
ran from a grassy well down into the dingle.

1.’is’ changes to ‘was’ in the later version as we are now talking about Tom B whom we have come to know in LOTR – therefore he now has a history.

2. The question of the ’peacock’s feather’ has been dealt with at length in the opening post of this thread(see above).

down under’ is now changed to ‘up under’ to fit in with the geography of LOTR. The Withywindle, introduced into LOTR is retained in the later version of the poem, in the earlier version no river is named.

A 2

Old Tom Bombadil walked about the meadows 1
Gathering the buttercups, a-chasing of the shadows,
tickling the bumblebees a-buzzing in the flowers
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

B 2

Old Tom in summertime walked about the meadows 1
gathering the buttercups, running after shadows,
tickling the bumblebees that buzzed among the flowers,
sitting by the waterside for hours upon hours.

1. The ‘seasonality’ that occurs in LOTR with regard to Tom and Goldberry is here established much earlier on in the 1962 poem, whereas the 1934 poem does not mention seasons until Stanza A 22

A 3 and B 3

There his beard dangled long down into the water:
up came Goldberry, the River-woman’;s daughter;
pulled Tom’;s hanging hair. In he went a-wallowing
under the water-lilies, bubbling and a –swallowing.

A 4 and B 4

‘Hey, Tom Bombadil! Whither are you going?’;
said fair Goldberry. ‘Bubbles you are blowing,
frightening the finny fish and the brown water-rat,
startling the dabchicks, and drowning your feather –hat!’;

A 5 and B 5

‘You bring it back again, there’;s a pretty maiden!’;
said Tom Bombadil. ‘I do not care for wading.
Go down! Sleep again where the pools are shady
far below the willow-roots, little water- lady!’;

A 6 and B 6

Back to her mother’;s house in the deepest hollow
swam young Goldberry. But Tom, he would not follow;
on knotted willow-roots he sat in sunny weather,
drying his yellow boots and his draggled feather.

To Be Continued

Rohanya 21/Nov/2005 at 05:06 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
My Lord halfir, I have tried to read these but there are so many in what is now two threads. Perhaps I have gone through one-third, and with my sort of mind hard it is to recall key points. I wish however to bang down what seems to be your main contention, that of Bombadil as an importation, inserted into Middle-earth.

I think you say elsewhere that he is in Middle-earth but not of it. Was that correct?

However, you seem to be placing a lot of emphasis on this in terms of conclusions. I am wondering if the distinction can be used to dispell other interpretations.

For example, there can be a counter-argument (and please don’t laugh. Laugh)...the reader is in Middle-earth, but not of it. At least, as far as I see matters, to remove Bombadil a tad from the fabric of Middle-earth, as you seem to be doing (and correct me if I am wrong) might require, as balancing act, a step forward on the part of acknowledged readership, and its domain.



It could sound like blabbing but I have to get this clarified.
Rohanya 21/Nov/2005 at 05:06 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
My Lord halfir, I have tried to read these but there are so many in what is now two threads. Perhaps I have gone through one-third, and with my sort of mind hard it is to recall key points. I wish however to bang down what seems to be your main contention, that of Bombadil as an importation, inserted into Middle-earth.

I think you say elsewhere that he is in Middle-earth but not of it. Was that correct?

However, you seem to be placing a lot of emphasis on this in terms of conclusions. I am wondering if the distinction can be used to dispell other interpretations.

For example, there can be a counter-argument (and please don’t laugh. Laugh)...the reader is in Middle-earth, but not of it. At least, as far as I see matters, to remove Bombadil a tad from the fabric of Middle-earth, as you seem to be doing (and correct me if I am wrong) might require, as balancing act, a step forward on the part of acknowledged readership, and its domain.



It could sound like blabbing but I have to get this clarified.
halfir 21/Nov/2005 at 03:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: Bombadil is a multi-faceted character. Tolkien uses him for a number of reasons in ME in a way that is not open to other characters being used as Tom’s origins are not of ME. He participates in it, and in that participation he is part of it, but he is not sui generis, an ME character.

When you enter the Enchanted State-your comment of the Reader being in ME- you are indeed in it and I would say also of it. As Tolkien  points out painstakingly in On Fairy Stories- if the writer is succesful at sub-creation he makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter.

’Inside it what he relates is ’true’; it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside.’{my bold emphasis}

So, at the point of interaction betwen you and the text when you are in that "Enchanted State’ you are ’in’ the story.

But Tom isn’t- or only partially so. He doesn’t accord with all the laws of that world.The One has no power over him. And this is because he is not of that world, as Tolkien points out in the Fettes letter, although anyone with knowledge of the Bombadil Legendarium that preceded LOTR  could work that out {cf. Germ poem, 1934 Adventures, Letter # 19}:

"in any world or universe devised imaginatively [or imposed simply upon the actual world] there is always some element that does not fit and opens as it were a window into some other system. You will notice that thought the Ring is a serious matter and has great power for all the inhabitants of the world of Lord of The Rings, even the best and most holy, it does not touch Tom Bombadil at all. So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in LOTR." {Letter from Tolkien to Christopher Fettes 1961 -Amon Hen no. 173 January 2002; pp.31-31 reprinted in Hammond/Scull pp. 133-4- info courtesy of geordie.- my bold emphasis and underline}

Indeed Tom textually existed long before LOTR and was conceived as part of a Legendarium that was not ME.

And the terms, intergrated, inserted, assimilated, regarding Tom’s introduction into LOTR and ME are Tolkien’s, not mine- imported is.

halfir 21/Nov/2005 at 03:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: Bombadil is a multi-faceted character. Tolkien uses him for a number of reasons in ME in a way that is not open to other characters being used as Tom’s origins are not of ME. He participates in it, and in that participation he is part of it, but he is not sui generis, an ME character.

When you enter the Enchanted State-your comment of the Reader being in ME- you are indeed in it and I would say also of it. As Tolkien  points out painstakingly in On Fairy Stories- if the writer is succesful at sub-creation he makes a Secondary World which your mind can enter.

’Inside it what he relates is ’true’; it accords with the laws of that world. You therefore believe it, while you are, as it were, inside.’{my bold emphasis}

So, at the point of interaction betwen you and the text when you are in that "Enchanted State’ you are ’in’ the story.

But Tom isn’t- or only partially so. He doesn’t accord with all the laws of that world.The One has no power over him. And this is because he is not of that world, as Tolkien points out in the Fettes letter, although anyone with knowledge of the Bombadil Legendarium that preceded LOTR  could work that out {cf. Germ poem, 1934 Adventures, Letter # 19}:

"in any world or universe devised imaginatively [or imposed simply upon the actual world] there is always some element that does not fit and opens as it were a window into some other system. You will notice that thought the Ring is a serious matter and has great power for all the inhabitants of the world of Lord of The Rings, even the best and most holy, it does not touch Tom Bombadil at all. So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in LOTR." {Letter from Tolkien to Christopher Fettes 1961 -Amon Hen no. 173 January 2002; pp.31-31 reprinted in Hammond/Scull pp. 133-4- info courtesy of geordie.- my bold emphasis and underline}

Indeed Tom textually existed long before LOTR and was conceived as part of a Legendarium that was not ME.

And the terms, intergrated, inserted, assimilated, regarding Tom’s introduction into LOTR and ME are Tolkien’s, not mine- imported is.

Rohanya 24/Nov/2005 at 06:32 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, this is exactly what I would like to get pinned down. I get the impression that your account of Bombadil has more there than meets the eye, that it can be used to bar certain lines of interpretation; in other words, that it has what should I say? The potential to attack.

I wish I could phrase it better, but, yes, any comments? Is it a theory of the usual sort or one with `juice`?

I am not criticizing at this point: I simply wish to understand the matter, see it for its fuller implications.

Rohanya 24/Nov/2005 at 06:32 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, this is exactly what I would like to get pinned down. I get the impression that your account of Bombadil has more there than meets the eye, that it can be used to bar certain lines of interpretation; in other words, that it has what should I say? The potential to attack.

I wish I could phrase it better, but, yes, any comments? Is it a theory of the usual sort or one with `juice`?

I am not criticizing at this point: I simply wish to understand the matter, see it for its fuller implications.

halfir 24/Nov/2005 at 02:44 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Rohanya: It is very much one with juice- and I would argue that it is not a theory-it is- at last- very much a fact - as the Master’s own words confirm. And it bars out virtually every other proposition that has been advanced regarding Tom- most of which totally ignore the textual reality of his non ME creation. This will become clear as the threads unfold. At the moment I am still concerned with textual examination.X(
halfir 24/Nov/2005 at 02:44 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Rohanya: It is very much one with juice- and I would argue that it is not a theory-it is- at last- very much a fact - as the Master’s own words confirm. And it bars out virtually every other proposition that has been advanced regarding Tom- most of which totally ignore the textual reality of his non ME creation. This will become clear as the threads unfold. At the moment I am still concerned with textual examination.X(
Rohanya 24/Nov/2005 at 07:35 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
My Lord halfir, as I expected then. Tis a clear statement. Looking forward to subsequent postings on your part.
Rohanya 24/Nov/2005 at 07:35 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
My Lord halfir, as I expected then. Tis a clear statement. Looking forward to subsequent postings on your part.
Rohanya 25/Nov/2005 at 04:51 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, one possible argument, re your stance, has occurred to me. You are of course assuming that all meaningful or meaningless propositions about Tom Bombadil are those that arrive via the usual avenues of Lore discussion.

That could certainly be questioned; in fact, I am beginning to suspect it a counter-approach of great value, therefore one worth protecting. For we can respond in a knowing manner to works of art by means of our own artistic processes. What, then, of the Imaginative response? Unfortunately, the very word often implies lacking substance (as in being pure imagination).

A poem, a painting, even a short story about Tom can, I claim, bypass your `guards.` However, that depends on the intrinsic merits of the actual work. Yet there is no reason why it must be lacking in epistemological substance.

I suppose you might counter in the following manner. Lore is, by definition, of reasoned sort. These must be propositions stated in such a manner that make subsequent debate possible. I think that, in itself, can be questioned: Surely it is mainly the result of tradition, unquestioned.

However, the paragraph above is not central to what I wish to say.

So, to conclude, yes, I can see one way of avoiding ’The Guns of Navarone.’ (Or whatever we should name it. Laugh. )

Rohanya 25/Nov/2005 at 04:51 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, one possible argument, re your stance, has occurred to me. You are of course assuming that all meaningful or meaningless propositions about Tom Bombadil are those that arrive via the usual avenues of Lore discussion.

That could certainly be questioned; in fact, I am beginning to suspect it a counter-approach of great value, therefore one worth protecting. For we can respond in a knowing manner to works of art by means of our own artistic processes. What, then, of the Imaginative response? Unfortunately, the very word often implies lacking substance (as in being pure imagination).

A poem, a painting, even a short story about Tom can, I claim, bypass your `guards.` However, that depends on the intrinsic merits of the actual work. Yet there is no reason why it must be lacking in epistemological substance.

I suppose you might counter in the following manner. Lore is, by definition, of reasoned sort. These must be propositions stated in such a manner that make subsequent debate possible. I think that, in itself, can be questioned: Surely it is mainly the result of tradition, unquestioned.

However, the paragraph above is not central to what I wish to say.

So, to conclude, yes, I can see one way of avoiding ’The Guns of Navarone.’ (Or whatever we should name it. Laugh. )

Bearamir 25/Nov/2005 at 12:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Quote: Originally posted by Rohanya on Friday, November 25, 2005

However, the paragraph above is not central to what I wish to say.

...So, to conclude, yes, I can see one way of avoiding ’The Guns of Navarone.’ (Or whatever we should name it. Laugh. )


I look forward to your further deliberations, gentlemen.  But by all means, *do* avoid the "Guns of Navarrone" if possible, (or the Maginot Line if you prefer a more Gallic approach to the topic)..

Tibute 11-25-05.

Bearamir 25/Nov/2005 at 12:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 16276 Posts: 16742 Joined: 21/Sep/2008
Quote: Originally posted by Rohanya on Friday, November 25, 2005

However, the paragraph above is not central to what I wish to say.

...So, to conclude, yes, I can see one way of avoiding ’The Guns of Navarone.’ (Or whatever we should name it. Laugh. )


I look forward to your further deliberations, gentlemen.  But by all means, *do* avoid the "Guns of Navarrone" if possible, (or the Maginot Line if you prefer a more Gallic approach to the topic)..

Tibute 11-25-05.

halfir 25/Nov/2005 at 04:11 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bear: Thank you for the kindness of the tribute and the recognition therein, it is much appreciated.X(

Rohanya: It is entirely appropriate that Bear’s signature carries the name of Ma’at- the Egyptian Goddess of Truth, Order, and Balance because that is what my propositiions represent!X(

And rather than ’The Guns of Navarone’ what about ’Big Bertha" X(

halfir 25/Nov/2005 at 04:11 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bear: Thank you for the kindness of the tribute and the recognition therein, it is much appreciated.X(

Rohanya: It is entirely appropriate that Bear’s signature carries the name of Ma’at- the Egyptian Goddess of Truth, Order, and Balance because that is what my propositiions represent!X(

And rather than ’The Guns of Navarone’ what about ’Big Bertha" X(

Rohanya 25/Nov/2005 at 06:18 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
Baelmyrrdn, feeling emboldened by your tribute, which I heartily thank you for, I will provide an actual example to illustrate my point. This is a poem I wrote the other day. In fact, it is not sufficient as is; the intent was to compose a Suchness Poem -- it would have to work read in every possible direction, backwards, up to down, down to up.

However, not yet finding the time, I repeat, it is not a poem of that sort. It is however a poem.

My Lord halfir, let us therefore see how this addition impacts on the debate. Ready? Presto!

Tom Bombadil of Gondolin

Tom is exactly as seen
growing wild on Value Tree

fresh green, reaching, by naughting    
   
beans basking
 wooden poles mean
red flowers touch, answer me

Tom is exactly as seen

whyfores sharing 
who I`ve been
not diced, not sliced, sanity
fresh green, reaching, by naughting

come now, oh 
dark season keen!
in whereforing, answer glee
Tom is exactly as seen

groundless reason
you are lean!
naught runs rampant -- 
slap of knee
fresh green, reaching by naughting

for stompyboots `pon path clean
earthenwork lift...Men of 
Bree
Tom is, exactly as seen,
fresh greens, reaching, by naughting


It does not quite satisfy me as poem (and then again, it requires the `importation` of suchness so that it can be read from every possible angle. Not yet, however).

But it is at least something visual. Words, too, are of course visual, and yet when placed in the context of usual lore discussions, conform to the pathways of traditional discussion. My own is, however, an import. It arrives in the land of lore, though not of it.

Anyway, I shall leave it as is, and see what happens.

Rohanya 25/Nov/2005 at 06:18 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
Baelmyrrdn, feeling emboldened by your tribute, which I heartily thank you for, I will provide an actual example to illustrate my point. This is a poem I wrote the other day. In fact, it is not sufficient as is; the intent was to compose a Suchness Poem -- it would have to work read in every possible direction, backwards, up to down, down to up.

However, not yet finding the time, I repeat, it is not a poem of that sort. It is however a poem.

My Lord halfir, let us therefore see how this addition impacts on the debate. Ready? Presto!

Tom Bombadil of Gondolin

Tom is exactly as seen
growing wild on Value Tree

fresh green, reaching, by naughting    
   
beans basking
 wooden poles mean
red flowers touch, answer me

Tom is exactly as seen

whyfores sharing 
who I`ve been
not diced, not sliced, sanity
fresh green, reaching, by naughting

come now, oh 
dark season keen!
in whereforing, answer glee
Tom is exactly as seen

groundless reason
you are lean!
naught runs rampant -- 
slap of knee
fresh green, reaching by naughting

for stompyboots `pon path clean
earthenwork lift...Men of 
Bree
Tom is, exactly as seen,
fresh greens, reaching, by naughting


It does not quite satisfy me as poem (and then again, it requires the `importation` of suchness so that it can be read from every possible angle. Not yet, however).

But it is at least something visual. Words, too, are of course visual, and yet when placed in the context of usual lore discussions, conform to the pathways of traditional discussion. My own is, however, an import. It arrives in the land of lore, though not of it.

Anyway, I shall leave it as is, and see what happens.

Rohanya 25/Nov/2005 at 11:03 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
The full version has now been completed, and can be seen in my Poetry Thread. But not necessary to bring in to the argument.
Rohanya 25/Nov/2005 at 11:03 PM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
The full version has now been completed, and can be seen in my Poetry Thread. But not necessary to bring in to the argument.
halfir 26/Nov/2005 at 12:16 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: An excellent piece BUT:

a). Tom is not of Gondolin- other than in your imagination. And your Gondolion is not Tolkien’s!

B). Tom  is exactly as seen- but it depends where you first meet him! If you meet him in the 1934 Adventures then you know he is not of ME. Of course he aligns with ME because he is esentially an aspect of nature, but he is not of ME as the Master himself has determined:

he has no historical origin in the world described in LOTR.

However, I will return to your quersies later, as yet we have not yet finished our textual examination.

halfir 26/Nov/2005 at 12:16 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: An excellent piece BUT:

a). Tom is not of Gondolin- other than in your imagination. And your Gondolion is not Tolkien’s!

B). Tom  is exactly as seen- but it depends where you first meet him! If you meet him in the 1934 Adventures then you know he is not of ME. Of course he aligns with ME because he is esentially an aspect of nature, but he is not of ME as the Master himself has determined:

he has no historical origin in the world described in LOTR.

However, I will return to your quersies later, as yet we have not yet finished our textual examination.

Rohanya 26/Nov/2005 at 12:33 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, I can live with your responses. Laugh. At least for the time being. And as you probably sense, I am not presenting facts as such, just positioning matters in a different sort of soil. Once planted within the boundaries of a poem (one with rigour) it is however objectively there.

But again, all goes with the terrain of monism: There is nothing which cannot be linked, for it demands linkages. In essence, then, the fundamental difference is one of metaphysics. 

However, I shall stay silent on that score for another week or so, not wishing to slow things down. Yes, let us see what further analysis is to come; you did state a long time back that there was, in the end, a surprising number of congruences.

Can`t imagine how, at this point.

Rohanya 26/Nov/2005 at 12:33 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, I can live with your responses. Laugh. At least for the time being. And as you probably sense, I am not presenting facts as such, just positioning matters in a different sort of soil. Once planted within the boundaries of a poem (one with rigour) it is however objectively there.

But again, all goes with the terrain of monism: There is nothing which cannot be linked, for it demands linkages. In essence, then, the fundamental difference is one of metaphysics. 

However, I shall stay silent on that score for another week or so, not wishing to slow things down. Yes, let us see what further analysis is to come; you did state a long time back that there was, in the end, a surprising number of congruences.

Can`t imagine how, at this point.

halfir 26/Nov/2005 at 05:35 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’;s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’; -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 2

A 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,1
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.

B 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,1
sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather
.

1 In the 1934 Adventures it is Willow-man who knows the power of song- Tom only learns this, or is given it, as part of his translation into the world of ME in LOTR. And song is used to ‘lull’ the listener to sleep- like the lullaby sung to babies – a motif we shall return to later when we deal with Tom and song.

A 8 and B 8

‘Ha, Tom Bombadil! What be you a-thinking,
peeping inside my tree, watching me a-drinking
deep in my wooden house, tickling me with feather,
dripping wet down my face like a rainy weather?’;;

A 9 and B 9

You let me out again, Old Man Willow!
I am stiff lying here; they’;re no sort of pillow

your hard crooked roots. Drink you river-water!
Go back to sleep again like the River daughter!

A 10

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking,
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Tom he sat a-listening.
On the boughs, piping birds were chirruping and whistling
Tom saw the butterflies quivering and winking:
Tom called the conies out till the sun was sinking.1

1. The conies and Tom’s ‘summoning’ of them- an aspect of is power have disappeared from the Tom of LOTR, for he is now ‘Master’ of all.

Willow-man let him loose when he heard him speaking;
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Out from willow-dingle
Tom went walking on up the Withywindle. 2
Under the forest eaves- he sat a-while a-listening:
on the boughs the piping birds were chirruping and whistling.
Butterflies about his head went quivering and winking,
until grey clouds came up, as the sun was sinking.

2. Tom is identified with ‘place’ – hence the river, un-named in the 1934 Adventures is called the Withywindle- after the willow-trees that line its banks. The naming of the river does not just give it a locational aspect within the world of LOTR it serves also to identify Tom with a particular location.

We noted in an earlier post that:

“Tolkien had a very strong sense of ’place’. It was part and parcel of what we might call the ‘Englishness ‘ in him. That is made clear in the comments he made to C S Lewis – quoted in an earlier post:

‘ Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

And in talking of the Shire in Letter # 178 {cf. also Letter # 181} he says:

‘It is in fact more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee’

and in Letter # 190 he writes:

But, of course if we drop the ‘fiction’ of long ago, ‘The Shire’ is based on rural England.. The toponymy (place names) of The Shire , to take the first list, is a ‘parody’ of that of rural England, in much the same sense as are its inhabitants: they go together and are meant to. After all the book is English, and written by an Englishman…”

And in referring to place-names of The Shire he remarks in Letter # 276:

‘The names already entered, even those that seem unlikely (as Nobottle) , are in fact devised according to the style, origins, and mode of formation of English (especially Midland) place names.’

Name and place are very important to Tolkien, they give identity. And sometime – I think between 1934 and 1936, Tolkien had finally come to identify Tom Bombadil with the countryside of Oxfordshire and Berkshire that he and his friends C S Lewis and Warnie Lewis and others walked so frequently.

And Tolkien reaffirms his strong sense of place by giving Tom self-imposed boundaries in LOTR and naming the river, forest, and area in which he abides, an area he knows intimately, like the family who had: fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations.

A 11

Then Tom went away. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river
Clouds passed, hurrying drops were falling helter-skelter;
Old Tom Bomdadil crept into a shelter 1

B 11

Then Tom hurried on. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river;
a wind blew, shaken leaves chilly drops were dripping;
into a sheltering hole Old Tom went skipping. 1

1 By the time we reach LOTR Tom has become the ‘Master’ – he is afraid of nothing, although he still remains wary cf. Stanza B 22 –‘ Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;’
- he has the wariness of the animal in its natural state. So clearly the word ‘crept’ is totally inappropriate for such a self-possessed character, and, refined through the lens of LOTR by 1962 Tom, far from ‘creeping’ into a shelter , goes ‘skipping’ into one- far more appropriate for the character which he has now become.

A 12 and B 12

Out came Badger-brock with his snowy forehead,
and his dark blinking eyes. In the hill he quarried
with his wife and many sons. By the coat they caught him,
pulled him inside their earth, down their tunnels brought him
.

A 13 and B 13

Inside their secret house, there they sat a mumbling;
’;Ho Tom Bombadil! Where have you come tumbling,
bursting in the front-door? Badger-folk have caught you.
You’;ll never find it out, the way we have brought you!’;

A14 and B 14

’;Now old Badger-brock, do you hear me talking?
You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.
Show me to your backdoor under briar –roses;
then clean grimy paws, wipe your earthy noses!
Go back to sleep again on your straw pillow,
Like fair Goldberry and Old Man Willow!’;

To Be Continued

halfir 26/Nov/2005 at 05:35 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’;s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’; -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 2

A 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,1
Sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! quiet it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather.

B 7

Up woke Willow-man, began upon his singing,1
sang Tom fast asleep under branches swinging;
in a crack caught him tight: snick! it closed together,
trapped Tom Bombadil, coat and hat and feather
.

1 In the 1934 Adventures it is Willow-man who knows the power of song- Tom only learns this, or is given it, as part of his translation into the world of ME in LOTR. And song is used to ‘lull’ the listener to sleep- like the lullaby sung to babies – a motif we shall return to later when we deal with Tom and song.

A 8 and B 8

‘Ha, Tom Bombadil! What be you a-thinking,
peeping inside my tree, watching me a-drinking
deep in my wooden house, tickling me with feather,
dripping wet down my face like a rainy weather?’;;

A 9 and B 9

You let me out again, Old Man Willow!
I am stiff lying here; they’;re no sort of pillow

your hard crooked roots. Drink you river-water!
Go back to sleep again like the River daughter!

A 10

Willow-man let him loose, when he heard him speaking,
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Tom he sat a-listening.
On the boughs, piping birds were chirruping and whistling
Tom saw the butterflies quivering and winking:
Tom called the conies out till the sun was sinking.1

1. The conies and Tom’s ‘summoning’ of them- an aspect of is power have disappeared from the Tom of LOTR, for he is now ‘Master’ of all.

Willow-man let him loose when he heard him speaking;
locked fast his wooden house, muttering and creaking,
whispering inside the tree. Out from willow-dingle
Tom went walking on up the Withywindle. 2
Under the forest eaves- he sat a-while a-listening:
on the boughs the piping birds were chirruping and whistling.
Butterflies about his head went quivering and winking,
until grey clouds came up, as the sun was sinking.

2. Tom is identified with ‘place’ – hence the river, un-named in the 1934 Adventures is called the Withywindle- after the willow-trees that line its banks. The naming of the river does not just give it a locational aspect within the world of LOTR it serves also to identify Tom with a particular location.

We noted in an earlier post that:

“Tolkien had a very strong sense of ’place’. It was part and parcel of what we might call the ‘Englishness ‘ in him. That is made clear in the comments he made to C S Lewis – quoted in an earlier post:

‘ Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

And in talking of the Shire in Letter # 178 {cf. also Letter # 181} he says:

‘It is in fact more or less a Warwickshire village of about the period of the Diamond Jubilee’

and in Letter # 190 he writes:

But, of course if we drop the ‘fiction’ of long ago, ‘The Shire’ is based on rural England.. The toponymy (place names) of The Shire , to take the first list, is a ‘parody’ of that of rural England, in much the same sense as are its inhabitants: they go together and are meant to. After all the book is English, and written by an Englishman…”

And in referring to place-names of The Shire he remarks in Letter # 276:

‘The names already entered, even those that seem unlikely (as Nobottle) , are in fact devised according to the style, origins, and mode of formation of English (especially Midland) place names.’

Name and place are very important to Tolkien, they give identity. And sometime – I think between 1934 and 1936, Tolkien had finally come to identify Tom Bombadil with the countryside of Oxfordshire and Berkshire that he and his friends C S Lewis and Warnie Lewis and others walked so frequently.

And Tolkien reaffirms his strong sense of place by giving Tom self-imposed boundaries in LOTR and naming the river, forest, and area in which he abides, an area he knows intimately, like the family who had: fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations.

A 11

Then Tom went away. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river
Clouds passed, hurrying drops were falling helter-skelter;
Old Tom Bomdadil crept into a shelter 1

B 11

Then Tom hurried on. Rain began to shiver,
round rings spattering in the running river;
a wind blew, shaken leaves chilly drops were dripping;
into a sheltering hole Old Tom went skipping. 1

1 By the time we reach LOTR Tom has become the ‘Master’ – he is afraid of nothing, although he still remains wary cf. Stanza B 22 –‘ Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow;’
- he has the wariness of the animal in its natural state. So clearly the word ‘crept’ is totally inappropriate for such a self-possessed character, and, refined through the lens of LOTR by 1962 Tom, far from ‘creeping’ into a shelter , goes ‘skipping’ into one- far more appropriate for the character which he has now become.

A 12 and B 12

Out came Badger-brock with his snowy forehead,
and his dark blinking eyes. In the hill he quarried
with his wife and many sons. By the coat they caught him,
pulled him inside their earth, down their tunnels brought him
.

A 13 and B 13

Inside their secret house, there they sat a mumbling;
’;Ho Tom Bombadil! Where have you come tumbling,
bursting in the front-door? Badger-folk have caught you.
You’;ll never find it out, the way we have brought you!’;

A14 and B 14

’;Now old Badger-brock, do you hear me talking?
You show me out at once! I must be a-walking.
Show me to your backdoor under briar –roses;
then clean grimy paws, wipe your earthy noses!
Go back to sleep again on your straw pillow,
Like fair Goldberry and Old Man Willow!’;

To Be Continued

halfir 27/Nov/2005 at 04:14 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’;s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’; -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 3

A 15 Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,1
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
.

B 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
They showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,1
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

1. The 1962 version has the addition of ‘They’ in the second line

A 16

Old Tom Bombadil hurried home to supper,
unlocked his house again, opened up the shutter,
let in the setting sun in the kitchen shining
watched stars peering out and the moon climbing.

B 16

Rain had passed. The sky was clear, and in the summer- gloaming, 1
Old Tom Bombadil laughed , as he came homing,2
unlocked his door again, and opened up a shutter,
In the kitchen round the lamp moths began to flutter;
Tom through the window saw stars come winking,
and the new slender moon early westward sinking.

1. The ‘setting sun’ of Line 3 of the 1934 poem is replaced by ‘summer- gloaming’ –summer evening- which identifies the season,

2. and Tom’s ‘control’ and lack of concern- for he is now ‘Master’ is demonstrated by his laughter in Line 2.

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you 1
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’;ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound 2
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’;s got loose tonight; under earth he’;ll take you! 3
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’;ll make you!

B 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle;
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil! Look what night has brought you! 1
I’;m here behind the door! Now at last I’;ve caught you!
You’;d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound 2
up there on hill-top with the ring of stones round.
He’;s got loose again. Under earth he’;ll take you.3
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’;ll make you

1. The 1962 poem- unlike its 1934 precursor identifies the Barrow-wight as a creature of night- ‘Look what night has brought you’, of shadow and thus of the Shadow – for this is post Tom’s LOTR experiences.

2.The tense change from ‘you’ve’ to’ you’d’ again reflects that this is a tale being told about Tom’s prior experiences in ME.

3.The change from ‘he’s got loose tonight;’ to ‘He’s got loose again.’ - implies some agency involved in the Barrow-wight’s release - and of course, we know that ‘evil things were stirring’ as the Dark Lord took power again.So this line is altered too, to take account of the changed state of Tom’s history as a result of his LOTR experience.

A 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and don’t slam it after! 1
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

B 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and never come back after! 1
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

1. The somewhat facetious comment of ‘and don’t slam it after’ is replaced by a command ‘and never come back after!’ for Tom post LOTR is the master and a commanding figure, and the Barrow-wight too, post LOTR is a more menacing and evil creature than existed in the 1934 poem.

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

B19

Out fled Barrow-wight through the window leaping,
through the yard, over wall like a shadow sweeping, 1
up hill wailing went back to leaning stone –rings,
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

1.The ’shadow’ motif is again introduced to give a link-back to the greater ’Shadow’ that the Barow-wight served in LOTR.

To Be Continued

halfir 27/Nov/2005 at 04:14 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’;s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’; -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 3

A 15 Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
Showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,1
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking
.

B 15

Then all the Badger folk said: ‘We beg your pardon!’;
They showed Tom out again to their thorny garden,1
Went back and hid themselves, a-shivering and a-shaking,
Blocked up all their doors, earth together raking.

1. The 1962 version has the addition of ‘They’ in the second line

A 16

Old Tom Bombadil hurried home to supper,
unlocked his house again, opened up the shutter,
let in the setting sun in the kitchen shining
watched stars peering out and the moon climbing.

B 16

Rain had passed. The sky was clear, and in the summer- gloaming, 1
Old Tom Bombadil laughed , as he came homing,2
unlocked his door again, and opened up a shutter,
In the kitchen round the lamp moths began to flutter;
Tom through the window saw stars come winking,
and the new slender moon early westward sinking.

1. The ‘setting sun’ of Line 3 of the 1934 poem is replaced by ‘summer- gloaming’ –summer evening- which identifies the season,

2. and Tom’s ‘control’ and lack of concern- for he is now ‘Master’ is demonstrated by his laughter in Line 2.

A 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil, I am waiting for you 1
just here behind the door! I came up before you.
you’;ve forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound 2
up here atop the hill with the ring of stones round
he’;s got loose tonight; under earth he’;ll take you! 3
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’;ll make you!

B 17

Dark came under Hill. Tom, he lit a candle;
upstairs creaking went, turned the door –handle
‘Hoo! Tom Bombadil! Look what night has brought you! 1
I’;m here behind the door! Now at last I’;ve caught you!
You’;d forgotten Barrow-wight dwelling in the old mound 2
up there on hill-top with the ring of stones round.
He’;s got loose again. Under earth he’;ll take you.3
Poor Old Tom Bombadil, pale and cold he’;ll make you

1. The 1962 poem- unlike its 1934 precursor identifies the Barrow-wight as a creature of night- ‘Look what night has brought you’, of shadow and thus of the Shadow – for this is post Tom’s LOTR experiences.

2.The tense change from ‘you’ve’ to’ you’d’ again reflects that this is a tale being told about Tom’s prior experiences in ME.

3.The change from ‘he’s got loose tonight;’ to ‘He’s got loose again.’ - implies some agency involved in the Barrow-wight’s release - and of course, we know that ‘evil things were stirring’ as the Dark Lord took power again.So this line is altered too, to take account of the changed state of Tom’s history as a result of his LOTR experience.

A 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and don’t slam it after! 1
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

B 18

’;Go out! Shut the door, and never come back after! 1
Take away gleaming eyes, take your hollow laughter!
Go back to grassy mound, on your stony pillow
Lay down your bony head, like Old Man Willow,
Like young Goldberry, and badger-folk in burrow!
Go back to buried gold and forgotten sorrow!’;

1. The somewhat facetious comment of ‘and don’t slam it after’ is replaced by a command ‘and never come back after!’ for Tom post LOTR is the master and a commanding figure, and the Barrow-wight too, post LOTR is a more menacing and evil creature than existed in the 1934 poem.

A 19

Out fled barrow wight through the window flying,
through yard, over wall, up the hills a crying
past white drowsing sheep, over leaning stone –rings
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

B19

Out fled Barrow-wight through the window leaping,
through the yard, over wall like a shadow sweeping, 1
up hill wailing went back to leaning stone –rings,
back under lonely mound, rattling his bone –rings.

1.The ’shadow’ motif is again introduced to give a link-back to the greater ’Shadow’ that the Barow-wight served in LOTR.

To Be Continued

halfir 27/Nov/2005 at 06:17 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’;s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’; -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 4

A 20 and B 20

Old Tom Bombadil lay upon his pillow
sweeter than Goldberry, quieter than Willow,
snugger than the Badger-folk or the Barrow-dwellers;
slept like a humming-top, snored like a bellows
.

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

B 21

He woke-up in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’; 1
He clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather; 2
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

1.’he sang’ in the 1934 version
2.’
Clapped’ in the 1934 version.

A 22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow 1
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows 2
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-
but one day Tom he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
an old song singing fair to birds upon
the bushes.

B 22

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow; 1
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle, 2
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle, 3
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water. 4
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water -songs to birds upon the bushes.5

1.Tom changes to ‘wise and ‘wary’ in the 1962 poem, fromclever’ in the 1934 one. This reflects the growing maturity that LOTR has imposed on him and emphasizes the ‘nature link’ of the 1937 Letter #19 - animals in the wild arewary’.

2. Tom is now not caught in ’upland or in dingle,’as opposed to the 1934 ’meadows’ again reflecting LOTR. 

3.’forest paths’ and ’Withywindle’ are changes made after the LOTR experience. Tom is now master of all within his boundaries, including the Old Forest and, as we have observed before, naming the Withwindle gives both ME identification, and emphasizes the importance of ’place’.

4. ’lily pools’ affirms this aspect of the tom/Goldbery relationship which is so strongly linked to lilies in LOTR.

5. ‘an old song’ in 1934 is changed to ‘singing old water –songs’ in 1962.N.B. Notice how thios emphasizes Goldberry’s connection with water and nature- an aspect strongly developed in LOTR.

A 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping through the shutter.1
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

B 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter. 1
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

1. ‘peeping through’ in 1934 changes to ‘peeping round’ in 1962.

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling, 1
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
.

B 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling, 1
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle

1.The tense change with the addition of ‘was’ in the 1962 version emphasizes that we are now talking about the past, whereas the 1934 poem was Tom in the present.

A 25 and B 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

A 26 and B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

To Be Continued


 

 

 

 

halfir 27/Nov/2005 at 06:17 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Comparisons Section 3: Comparison of the texts of versions A (1934) and B (1962) demonstrating how Version B reflects Tolkien’;s developed and matured image of Tom Bombadil post the 1934 Adventures, 1937 ‘Spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’; -Letter # 19, and the Tom of FOTR.

The Poems Compared – Part 4

A 20 and B 20

Old Tom Bombadil lay upon his pillow
sweeter than Goldberry, quieter than Willow,
snugger than the Badger-folk or the Barrow-dwellers;
slept like a humming-top, snored like a bellows
.

A 21

He woke in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
he sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
Clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather;
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

B 21

He woke-up in morning-light, whistled like a starling,
sang, ‘Come, derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’; 1
He clapped on his battered hat, boots, and coat, and feather; 2
Opened the window wide to the sunny weather.

1.’he sang’ in the 1934 version
2.’
Clapped’ in the 1934 version.

A 22

Old Tom Bombadil was a clever fellow 1
bright blue his jacket was and his boots were yellow
None ever caught Tom walking in the meadows 2
winter and summer –time in the lights and shadows
down dale, over hill, jumping over water-
but one day Tom he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
an old song singing fair to birds upon
the bushes.

B 22

Wise old Bombadil, he was a wary fellow; 1
bright blue his jacket was, and his boots were yellow
None ever caught old Tom in upland or in dingle, 2
walking the forest paths, or by the Withywindle, 3
or out on the lily-pools in boat upon the water. 4
But one day Tom, he went and caught the River-daughter
in green gown, flowing hair, sitting in the rushes,
singing old water -songs to birds upon the bushes.5

1.Tom changes to ‘wise and ‘wary’ in the 1962 poem, fromclever’ in the 1934 one. This reflects the growing maturity that LOTR has imposed on him and emphasizes the ‘nature link’ of the 1937 Letter #19 - animals in the wild arewary’.

2. Tom is now not caught in ’upland or in dingle,’as opposed to the 1934 ’meadows’ again reflecting LOTR. 

3.’forest paths’ and ’Withywindle’ are changes made after the LOTR experience. Tom is now master of all within his boundaries, including the Old Forest and, as we have observed before, naming the Withwindle gives both ME identification, and emphasizes the importance of ’place’.

4. ’lily pools’ affirms this aspect of the tom/Goldbery relationship which is so strongly linked to lilies in LOTR.

5. ‘an old song’ in 1934 is changed to ‘singing old water –songs’ in 1962.N.B. Notice how thios emphasizes Goldberry’s connection with water and nature- an aspect strongly developed in LOTR.

A 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping through the shutter.1
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

B 23

He caught her, held her fast! Water-rats went scuttering
reeds hissed, herons cried, and her heart was fluttering.
Said Tom Bombadil : ‘Here’;s my pretty maiden!
You shall come home with me! The table is all laden:
yellow cream, honeycomb, white bread and butter;
roses at the window-sill and peeping round the shutter. 1
You shall come under Hill! Never mind your mother
In her deep weedy pool: there you’;ll find no lover!’;

1. ‘peeping through’ in 1934 changes to ‘peeping round’ in 1962.

A 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling, 1
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle
.

B 24

Old Tom Bombadil had a merry wedding,
crowned all with buttercups, hat and feather shedding;
his bride with forgetmenots and flag-lilies for garland
was robed all in silver-green. He sang like a starling, 1
hummed like a honey-bee, lilted to the fiddle,
clasping his river-maid round her slender middle

1.The tense change with the addition of ‘was’ in the 1962 version emphasizes that we are now talking about the past, whereas the 1934 poem was Tom in the present.

A 25 and B 25

Lamps gleamed within his house, and white was the bedding;
in the bright honey – moon Badger –folk came treading,
danced down under Hill, and Old man Willow
tapped, tapped at window pane, as they slept on the pillow,
on the bank in the reeds River-woman sighing
heard old Barrow-wight in his mound crying!

A 26 and B 26

Old Tom Bombadil heeded not the voices,
taps, knocks, dancing feet, all the nightly noises;
slept till the sun arose, then sang like a starling:
“Hey! Come derry-dol, merry-dol, my darling!’;
sitting on the doorstep chopping sticks of willow,
while fair Goldberry combed her tresses yellow.

To Be Continued


 

 

 

 

halfir 27/Nov/2005 at 07:42 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bombadil Goes Boating

Bombadil Goes Boating – was written especially for the 1962 publication by Tolkien as part of his attempt to ‘bolster’ the size of the publication.

In Letter # 240 to his illustrator Pauline Baynes, Tolkien wrote that the first poem – the amended 1934 version- was:

‘a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. : But the second poem {Bombadil Goes Boating }–refers to the days of the shadow before Frodo set out.’

Unlike the 1934 version which has only just become readily available through the publication of Hammond & Scull’s Companion, the 1962 Adventures, which includes Tom Goes Boating has been available for a long-time, so, rather than repeat its verses in full here, in commenting on it I only give relevant lines as reference points and their stanza number.

A Stanza 3

If you tell Willow-man where I’ve gone, I’ll burn you,

Old Man Willow of course appears in the Adventures of Tom Bombadil and LOTR

B Stanza 12

Then he went winging;
dropped down jewel-blue a feather, and Tom caught it
gleaming in a sun-ray: a pretty gift he thought it.
He stuck it in his tall hat, the old feather casting:
Blue now for Tom”, he said, “a merry hue and lasting!”

Like the swan the kingfisher is a royal bird: “It was originally the king’s fisher. That links the swan (traditionally the property of the king) with the fisher-bird; explains both their rivalry, and their special friendship with Tom .” (Letter # 240)

C Stanza 16

“I’ll give your otter-fell to Barrow-wights. They’ll taw you!
Then smother you in gold-rings!

Reminiscent of the chapter Fog on the Barrow Downs - FOTR after the hobbits have been captured by the Barrow wight.

‘taw’ process of making skins into leather

D Stanza 18

If one day the King returns, in upping he may take you,
brand your yellow bill, and less lordly make you!”
Old Swan huffed his wings

We already know that the swan is the king’s bird, (Letter # 240: ‘they were creatures who looked for the return of their rightful Lord, the true king.” In England, even today, swans are seen as belonging to the monarch and are specially protected. The practice of ‘upping’ still takes place; marking young swans on the upper beak as a sign of ownership.

E Stanza 21

I’ll call the orks on you: that’ll send you running!”

Self-explanatory!

F. Stanza 28

Come, Maggot! Help me up! A tankard now you owe me.

We know from FOTR – In the House of Tom Bombadil that Tom B was both a friend of and had a great respect for Farmer Maggot.

G Stanza 30

daughters did the Springle-ring, goodwife did the laughing.

In FOTR- A Long Expected Party Everard Took and Melilot Brandybuck dance the Springle -ring

H Stanza 31

swapping all the tidings
from Barrow-downs to Tower Hills: of walkings and of ridings;1
of wheat-ear and barley-corn, of sowing and of reaping;
queer tales from Bree,2  and talk at smithy, mill, and cheaping;3
rumours in whispering trees, south-wind in the larches,
tall Watchers by the Ford, 4 Shadows on the marches.5

1. from Barrow-downs to Tower Hills: Until the end of the Third Age a palantir was kept in Elostirion in the Tower Hills. The Tower Hills became the western Boundary of The Shire and later the home of Fastred of Greenholm and Elanor Gamgee, and later of the Fairbairns, their descendants in whose hands the Red Book of Westmarch was kept.

2. queer tales from Bree: ‘Strange as news from Bree’ was a saying in the Eastfarthing (cf. FOTR At The Sign of the Prancing Pony)

3.‘talk at smithy, mill, and cheaping’: “the three places for gossip, smithy, mill and cheeping (market) from a medieval instructive work that I have been editing” (Letter # 240) { The medieval instructive work was the ‘Ancrene Wisse’}

4.tall Watchers by the Ford – the Dunedain

5. Shadows on the marches - the Nazgul

To Be Continued

halfir 27/Nov/2005 at 07:42 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Bombadil Goes Boating

Bombadil Goes Boating – was written especially for the 1962 publication by Tolkien as part of his attempt to ‘bolster’ the size of the publication.

In Letter # 240 to his illustrator Pauline Baynes, Tolkien wrote that the first poem – the amended 1934 version- was:

‘a hobbit-version of things long before the days of the L.R. : But the second poem {Bombadil Goes Boating }–refers to the days of the shadow before Frodo set out.’

Unlike the 1934 version which has only just become readily available through the publication of Hammond & Scull’s Companion, the 1962 Adventures, which includes Tom Goes Boating has been available for a long-time, so, rather than repeat its verses in full here, in commenting on it I only give relevant lines as reference points and their stanza number.

A Stanza 3

If you tell Willow-man where I’ve gone, I’ll burn you,

Old Man Willow of course appears in the Adventures of Tom Bombadil and LOTR

B Stanza 12

Then he went winging;
dropped down jewel-blue a feather, and Tom caught it
gleaming in a sun-ray: a pretty gift he thought it.
He stuck it in his tall hat, the old feather casting:
Blue now for Tom”, he said, “a merry hue and lasting!”

Like the swan the kingfisher is a royal bird: “It was originally the king’s fisher. That links the swan (traditionally the property of the king) with the fisher-bird; explains both their rivalry, and their special friendship with Tom .” (Letter # 240)

C Stanza 16

“I’ll give your otter-fell to Barrow-wights. They’ll taw you!
Then smother you in gold-rings!

Reminiscent of the chapter Fog on the Barrow Downs - FOTR after the hobbits have been captured by the Barrow wight.

‘taw’ process of making skins into leather

D Stanza 18

If one day the King returns, in upping he may take you,
brand your yellow bill, and less lordly make you!”
Old Swan huffed his wings

We already know that the swan is the king’s bird, (Letter # 240: ‘they were creatures who looked for the return of their rightful Lord, the true king.” In England, even today, swans are seen as belonging to the monarch and are specially protected. The practice of ‘upping’ still takes place; marking young swans on the upper beak as a sign of ownership.

E Stanza 21

I’ll call the orks on you: that’ll send you running!”

Self-explanatory!

F. Stanza 28

Come, Maggot! Help me up! A tankard now you owe me.

We know from FOTR – In the House of Tom Bombadil that Tom B was both a friend of and had a great respect for Farmer Maggot.

G Stanza 30

daughters did the Springle-ring, goodwife did the laughing.

In FOTR- A Long Expected Party Everard Took and Melilot Brandybuck dance the Springle -ring

H Stanza 31

swapping all the tidings
from Barrow-downs to Tower Hills: of walkings and of ridings;1
of wheat-ear and barley-corn, of sowing and of reaping;
queer tales from Bree,2  and talk at smithy, mill, and cheaping;3
rumours in whispering trees, south-wind in the larches,
tall Watchers by the Ford, 4 Shadows on the marches.5

1. from Barrow-downs to Tower Hills: Until the end of the Third Age a palantir was kept in Elostirion in the Tower Hills. The Tower Hills became the western Boundary of The Shire and later the home of Fastred of Greenholm and Elanor Gamgee, and later of the Fairbairns, their descendants in whose hands the Red Book of Westmarch was kept.

2. queer tales from Bree: ‘Strange as news from Bree’ was a saying in the Eastfarthing (cf. FOTR At The Sign of the Prancing Pony)

3.‘talk at smithy, mill, and cheaping’: “the three places for gossip, smithy, mill and cheeping (market) from a medieval instructive work that I have been editing” (Letter # 240) { The medieval instructive work was the ‘Ancrene Wisse’}

4.tall Watchers by the Ford – the Dunedain

5. Shadows on the marches - the Nazgul

To Be Continued

Rohanya 28/Nov/2005 at 02:20 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, having learned recently that it has juice, as intention (or if not, as consequence), I should like to get this pinned down.

Here are some possibilities that come to mind. I could of course be way off track but one must start somewhere in order to clarify.

1) You are saying that the days of enigma explanation are over. Tom is simply an import; in Middle-earth but not of it.
2) Nothing can be read in where Tom is concerned, except, that is, in terms of reader applicability, which, in your best interpretation, is factually wrong. For he is, once again, an import...hence of a different order, not really an element in the composition, at least, not in the usual sense.
3) Once more, the Two-Thirds Theory embraced. We know what the Day Mind of Master Tolkien thought of Bombadil (your argument, and backed by your own independent analyses); we are barred, however, from saying this is not a complete account of Master Tolkien as person (The Night Self, that other third). Hence, like Tom, we are locked in as a consequence. The Two-Thirds Realm cannot be left.

This should do as a start. It is too early for criticism, but you can see where my thoughts are leading. Also, once more for emphasis, where I use the words ’you are saying’...or some such similar structure, best to think of them as ’you might be saying.’ Just trying to get a handle on it.

Other matters.

1) Of a more fundamental order. Middle-earth being an imaginative world, would not the poetic approach be closer, at times, than the reasoned lore one? You say that my poem does not capture the truth of Tom. You have to convince me, however, that Middle-earth is in some sense a tangible item in the existential inventory of the universe. Can it be...if we are entering an Imaginative State? And if so, how is it that reason can pass judgment on the poetic response? To say that such and such is only real in the mind of X is to presume, it seems to me, an order of being that might not be there. And in fact the entire thing is of similar nature -- imagination.

Well, ignore this one for the time being, if you wish. I do not want to impede progress.

2) You speak of place. Place is a fascinating notion. Tom is not met initially on his own; it is the Old Forest which comes first. And later on, not forest, but House Up Down Under Hill. These are two crucial places, of tremendous poetic order. Lost in a forest, then (perhaps, then and only then) the radiance of tranquil, and yet creative, abode. We could even go on to speak of a third -- The Dead Lands. Barrow wights, fogs, naked bodies running freely, lost ponies recovered, etc.

Tom says he himself cannot transcend his boundaries. And yet we ourselves are travelling through the space of the book, quite unimpeded.  We have, as a result, two live places (Forest and Home), and one Dead One. Another curious case of thirds, and incongruences. Do places of great order vivify books? I should like to think so. Whatever one says about Tom (and usually there is precious little -- out there in the Plaza in general, that is), the forest as forest does not go away. One can therefore, it seems, to me allow Forest as Forest, House as House, to speak, and by doing so condition how Tom is encountered.

Which is not necessarily mere subjectivity run rampant.

With your approach, this is not possible. Tom is an item. Yet the notion of import works on substance  analogies. Oil is imported by Japan. Bananas, one supposes, are imported by Sweden. Can any character, especially one so in touch with two living places, be captured by such an analogy? Perhaps I am making too much of the word, but you do seem to emphasize it...in fact, echo Master Tolkien in the matter, as you rightly point out.

It could be better, I believe, to think more in terms of immigrants. Tom is in immigrant in Middle-earth (that is, if we are going to do justice to your theory; and obviously, I am not denigrating in any way the superb quality of your research). Immigrants can, however, change their status. I myself am now a Permanent Resident of Japan.

Once more, can Tom really be explained better as import? With immigrant, we at least get an element of flexibility. The forest is still there, after all, having its poetic say, as is House Up Down Under Hill.

My thoughts, both poetic and rational.

Rohanya 28/Nov/2005 at 02:20 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, having learned recently that it has juice, as intention (or if not, as consequence), I should like to get this pinned down.

Here are some possibilities that come to mind. I could of course be way off track but one must start somewhere in order to clarify.

1) You are saying that the days of enigma explanation are over. Tom is simply an import; in Middle-earth but not of it.
2) Nothing can be read in where Tom is concerned, except, that is, in terms of reader applicability, which, in your best interpretation, is factually wrong. For he is, once again, an import...hence of a different order, not really an element in the composition, at least, not in the usual sense.
3) Once more, the Two-Thirds Theory embraced. We know what the Day Mind of Master Tolkien thought of Bombadil (your argument, and backed by your own independent analyses); we are barred, however, from saying this is not a complete account of Master Tolkien as person (The Night Self, that other third). Hence, like Tom, we are locked in as a consequence. The Two-Thirds Realm cannot be left.

This should do as a start. It is too early for criticism, but you can see where my thoughts are leading. Also, once more for emphasis, where I use the words ’you are saying’...or some such similar structure, best to think of them as ’you might be saying.’ Just trying to get a handle on it.

Other matters.

1) Of a more fundamental order. Middle-earth being an imaginative world, would not the poetic approach be closer, at times, than the reasoned lore one? You say that my poem does not capture the truth of Tom. You have to convince me, however, that Middle-earth is in some sense a tangible item in the existential inventory of the universe. Can it be...if we are entering an Imaginative State? And if so, how is it that reason can pass judgment on the poetic response? To say that such and such is only real in the mind of X is to presume, it seems to me, an order of being that might not be there. And in fact the entire thing is of similar nature -- imagination.

Well, ignore this one for the time being, if you wish. I do not want to impede progress.

2) You speak of place. Place is a fascinating notion. Tom is not met initially on his own; it is the Old Forest which comes first. And later on, not forest, but House Up Down Under Hill. These are two crucial places, of tremendous poetic order. Lost in a forest, then (perhaps, then and only then) the radiance of tranquil, and yet creative, abode. We could even go on to speak of a third -- The Dead Lands. Barrow wights, fogs, naked bodies running freely, lost ponies recovered, etc.

Tom says he himself cannot transcend his boundaries. And yet we ourselves are travelling through the space of the book, quite unimpeded.  We have, as a result, two live places (Forest and Home), and one Dead One. Another curious case of thirds, and incongruences. Do places of great order vivify books? I should like to think so. Whatever one says about Tom (and usually there is precious little -- out there in the Plaza in general, that is), the forest as forest does not go away. One can therefore, it seems, to me allow Forest as Forest, House as House, to speak, and by doing so condition how Tom is encountered.

Which is not necessarily mere subjectivity run rampant.

With your approach, this is not possible. Tom is an item. Yet the notion of import works on substance  analogies. Oil is imported by Japan. Bananas, one supposes, are imported by Sweden. Can any character, especially one so in touch with two living places, be captured by such an analogy? Perhaps I am making too much of the word, but you do seem to emphasize it...in fact, echo Master Tolkien in the matter, as you rightly point out.

It could be better, I believe, to think more in terms of immigrants. Tom is in immigrant in Middle-earth (that is, if we are going to do justice to your theory; and obviously, I am not denigrating in any way the superb quality of your research). Immigrants can, however, change their status. I myself am now a Permanent Resident of Japan.

Once more, can Tom really be explained better as import? With immigrant, we at least get an element of flexibility. The forest is still there, after all, having its poetic say, as is House Up Down Under Hill.

My thoughts, both poetic and rational.

Iarwain Ben-adr 28/Nov/2005 at 03:49 AM
New Soul Points: 79 Posts: 45 Joined: 28/Nov/2005
It’s so obvious who this character is. It’s something that has been figured over for ages but I think I have as good an explanation as any.

Assuming that Tommy old boy is actually OF middle earth then there are three hints in figuring out who he is

1. That he claims is he is the oldest thing in middle earth, eldest and fatherless. Who is the oldest thing in middle earth?

2. That fact that he is unaffected by the power of the ring when every other being In the book is Gandalf included. In fact one of the most heavily affected by the ring is an Istari Saruamon “Ring Maker”

3. That he has bounds and his powers know a heavy limit

This is how I Formed my theory. Tom Bombadil is actually Melkor.

Crazy, I know. But Melkor had been released from the void before, and it was prophesized to happen again. What if this I Melkor the way he should have been? Melkor was the first thing in Arda and Sauron is his servant, should a master be affected by his servants tool? I put in the third point because if they really did release Melkor from the void they would have placed very heavy restrictions on him and watched him carefully so that he could not try any of that “world conquering” stuff. There are a lot of interesting points in this theory, and yes, there are a few things wrong with it, but there is evidence and the evidence is pretty strong.
Iarwain Ben-adr 28/Nov/2005 at 03:49 AM
New Soul Points: 79 Posts: 45 Joined: 28/Nov/2005
It’s so obvious who this character is. It’s something that has been figured over for ages but I think I have as good an explanation as any.

Assuming that Tommy old boy is actually OF middle earth then there are three hints in figuring out who he is

1. That he claims is he is the oldest thing in middle earth, eldest and fatherless. Who is the oldest thing in middle earth?

2. That fact that he is unaffected by the power of the ring when every other being In the book is Gandalf included. In fact one of the most heavily affected by the ring is an Istari Saruamon “Ring Maker”

3. That he has bounds and his powers know a heavy limit

This is how I Formed my theory. Tom Bombadil is actually Melkor.

Crazy, I know. But Melkor had been released from the void before, and it was prophesized to happen again. What if this I Melkor the way he should have been? Melkor was the first thing in Arda and Sauron is his servant, should a master be affected by his servants tool? I put in the third point because if they really did release Melkor from the void they would have placed very heavy restrictions on him and watched him carefully so that he could not try any of that “world conquering” stuff. There are a lot of interesting points in this theory, and yes, there are a few things wrong with it, but there is evidence and the evidence is pretty strong.
halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 04:34 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Iarwain- ben -Adr: Assuming that Tommy old boy is actually OF middle earth

He is not as this as this and the  previous  previous thread have clearly demonstrated and thus all ME arguments of origin fail! cf. Tolkien’s letter to Chrsitopher Fettes quoted in extenso above:

he has no historical origin in the world described in LOTR.

Rohanya: You are anticipating too much of the future of these threads so I will only respond to certain points:

1. Importation- immigrant. I have no real problem with your use of the term immigrant save to point out that the latter implies individual volition and Tom did not emigrate from the earlier legendarium- Tolkien moved him!

2. Tom is in ME but not of it, but that does not mean he has no ME attributes- he clearly does as he has an ME role to play as well as the ’other’ roles that Tolkien cast for him.

3. Forest and House as you use them  are ME concepts- we do not first meet Tom there we meet him in the 1934 Adventures where forest per se is not mentioned, although house is- as  abode!

4. Tom says he himself cannot transcend his boundaries. Tom chooses not to transcend self-imposed boundaries - a very different matter.

As to your wider conceits I will return to them at a later date when I finished my overall analysis - which I estimate will take another two to three months.X(

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 04:34 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Iarwain- ben -Adr: Assuming that Tommy old boy is actually OF middle earth

He is not as this as this and the  previous  previous thread have clearly demonstrated and thus all ME arguments of origin fail! cf. Tolkien’s letter to Chrsitopher Fettes quoted in extenso above:

he has no historical origin in the world described in LOTR.

Rohanya: You are anticipating too much of the future of these threads so I will only respond to certain points:

1. Importation- immigrant. I have no real problem with your use of the term immigrant save to point out that the latter implies individual volition and Tom did not emigrate from the earlier legendarium- Tolkien moved him!

2. Tom is in ME but not of it, but that does not mean he has no ME attributes- he clearly does as he has an ME role to play as well as the ’other’ roles that Tolkien cast for him.

3. Forest and House as you use them  are ME concepts- we do not first meet Tom there we meet him in the 1934 Adventures where forest per se is not mentioned, although house is- as  abode!

4. Tom says he himself cannot transcend his boundaries. Tom chooses not to transcend self-imposed boundaries - a very different matter.

As to your wider conceits I will return to them at a later date when I finished my overall analysis - which I estimate will take another two to three months.X(

Rohanya 28/Nov/2005 at 05:10 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, `As to your wider conceits.` Laugh. That may well be. I could of course disagree with your statement how we first encounter Tom in those `1934 Adventures.` Were that true of the individual reader, yes, you are right; however, the vast majority of us, me included, did so via TLOTR. Of the two, it is the more powerful vehicle of art, and by far: I do not think we should lose sight of the wood for the trees.

However, no need to respond to this. I have had my little venting. I am thankful, however, you give me (and others) a time reference. Okay, let us see where the thing goes. 

Rohanya 28/Nov/2005 at 05:10 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, `As to your wider conceits.` Laugh. That may well be. I could of course disagree with your statement how we first encounter Tom in those `1934 Adventures.` Were that true of the individual reader, yes, you are right; however, the vast majority of us, me included, did so via TLOTR. Of the two, it is the more powerful vehicle of art, and by far: I do not think we should lose sight of the wood for the trees.

However, no need to respond to this. I have had my little venting. I am thankful, however, you give me (and others) a time reference. Okay, let us see where the thing goes. 

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 05:24 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Summary of Textual Analysis

This first part of our analysis of Tom has been concerned with the primary published texts that give us background to and development of his character. This represents the first stage of our journey, as such we yet have ‘way to go!’

This is, however, a good point to summarize the information we have established to date. What follows is a summary of points derived from the substantive arguments and information of two threads:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=188085&PagePosition=1

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=191126&PagePosition=1 {The current thread}

If you wish to comment on any of the summarized points please ensure that you have read in full the relevant posts that refer to them in the threads in question as we do not wish to debate points that have already been covered.

This summary is simply a summation of conclusions whose substantive support has been given in this and the preceding thread.

Please note that this summary is in no way a substitute for reading the threads in full as they contain a cornucopia of information not addressed here.

1. Conceived in the 1920’s, by the 1930’s the actual character of Tom – created outside LOTR, The Silmarillion, and ME, had started to develop. Goldberry, OMW and the Barrow-wight- future characters in LOTR - are also created at this time and are also outside the ME legendarium.

2. From a physical description point of view Tolkien had an image of Tom that remained constant from its inception.

3.It was Tolkien himself who named him - ab initio - as Tom Bombadil.

4.The many references to ‘Nature’ in The Letters, and the comments of other Inklings, demonstrate Tolkien’s infinite appreciation of Nature, an appreciation which, it is suggested, in the 1930’s began to coalesce around the developing figure of Tom Bombadil.

5.It is not too far-fetched to say that the Tom of LOTR was essentially developed by 1934.Far from representing anything created in the LOTR or The Silmarillion legendarium Tomwas the product of Tolkien’s own personal legendarium, which in Tom found his own concepts of Englishness, place, Nature, and a whole plethora of other aspects.

6.What emerged in 1934 was a character definition, of Tom, much more fully developed than previously, alongside a group of other characters, Old Man Willow, Goldberry, a family of Badgers, and a Barrow-wight who were all (other than the Badgers) to feature in the as yet to be constructed LOTR- which did not see its first draft chapter in being until 1938.

7. By 1934 Tolkien had decided that Tom existed in a defined space, that there were boundaries to where he went. Just how defined those boundaries were, and by whom, is difficult to say, but they were certainly not as articulated as they became in Letter # 19, or in LOTR where Tom clearly ss the definer of his own boundaries.

8.Name and place are very important to Tolkien, they give identity. And sometime –probably between 1934 and 1936, Tolkien had finally come to identify Tom Bombadil with the countryside of Oxfordshire and Berkshire that he and his friends C S Lewis and Warnie Lewis and others wal;ked so frequently.

And the Nature that is part of Tom’s persona was derived from the gentle, domesticated countryside of Berkshire and Oxfordshire rather than the wilds of the Yorkshire moors- which Tolkien also knew intimately from his days in Leeds.

As a consequence:

’Tolkien ’domesticates’ the wildness of Nature and its inhabitants by using the ’lens’ of the domestic and comfortable scenery of the counties of Berkshire and Oxforshire and it is not without reason that he describes Tom- in a later development, as the ’spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside.’

9. If we look carefully at Letter # 19 we can perhaps see the beginning of a link between the independent Tom of 1934 and 1937 and the Tom who was later top become the enigmatic charcater of LOTR.

10.Did Tom have to be ‘changed’ to fit in with LOTR? The answer is quite clearly a resounding ’No!’ Tom’s character was expanded to allow him to have credibility within the world of LOTR but much that he had accumulated character –wise in his non- ME life- pre LOTR was to remain with him. Moreover, he entered the world of ME with a group of companions, Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow- wight who were also imports to not creations of LOTR, and most certainly not of The Silmarillion.

11. In enhancing and deepening the role of Tom in LOTR- Tolkien also enhances the roles of those who interact with him in the 1934 poem, Goldberry-particularly, OMW, and the Barrow –wight. Only the badgers are effectively omitted -relegated to a single line of reminisence cf. FOTR- In The House of Tom Bombadil.

12. It is not surprising, that in assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME Tolkien gives him as a major aspect of his being, the power of song, and the power over others that song gives.In the early ages of ME song had been a powerful weapon used by both the forces of good and evil, and song was what distinguished many of the great characters of the Elder Days. Thus, for Tom to be cast into the ME framework as a being of those days – and before- (albeit one whose origins are not in LOTR or ME }, he too had to bear the hallmarks of those other great beings, of which the power of song was one.

13. And in LOTR he has also become Master – for now he cannot be caught at all!

14.In many ways the Barrrow-wight and OMW are the most successful of the four ‘importations’ from the pre-LOTR legendarium, contained in the 1934 Adventures.They fit nicely into the ’Mordorian’ scenario that LOTR contains and feel much more at home in ME than Goldberry and especially Tom.The main reason for this is that Tolkien does not use them to achieve any other purpose, and thus they can settle down and assimilate into their new ‘country’ quite happily.

Goldberry, and more particularly Tom do not ‘settle-in’ in the same way. Although they ‘fit’ the LOTR story reasonably well, Tom especially appears to be a ‘quirky’ character who is not entirely at home in the ME Legendarium, and Goldberry , as his consort, to a lesser degree, suffers the same fate.This is quite understandable as Tom and Goldberry are representative of a tradition that exists outside the boundaries of ME.

15. The 1962 Adventures add nothing at all to our understanding of the nature of Tom or to his character. Tolkien had said it all in 1934, 1937 and in LOTR. Indeed he said as much in 1961:

‘not that I feel inclined to write any more about him’ {Letter # 231}.

And in reality, although he wrote Tom Goes Boating for the 1962 work, he actually tells us nothing further about Tom. By the end of LOTR-,other than in letters of explanation to readers, he has finished his story of Tom Bombadil. All that needed to be said had been said by the end of the Quest.

16. Perhaps the last word in this summary should be Tolkien’s, because it is such an important comment. In a letter to Christopher Fettes in 1961 (not included in Carpenter’s Letters} Tolkien wrote:

You will notice that though the Ring is a serious matter and has great power for all the inhabitants of the world of Lord of the Rings , even the best and most holy, it does not touch Tom Bombadil at all. So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings.” {My bold emphasis}

To Be Continued – The Development of Tom in ME: Home 6-9

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 05:24 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Summary of Textual Analysis

This first part of our analysis of Tom has been concerned with the primary published texts that give us background to and development of his character. This represents the first stage of our journey, as such we yet have ‘way to go!’

This is, however, a good point to summarize the information we have established to date. What follows is a summary of points derived from the substantive arguments and information of two threads:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=188085&PagePosition=1

http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=46&TopicID=191126&PagePosition=1 {The current thread}

If you wish to comment on any of the summarized points please ensure that you have read in full the relevant posts that refer to them in the threads in question as we do not wish to debate points that have already been covered.

This summary is simply a summation of conclusions whose substantive support has been given in this and the preceding thread.

Please note that this summary is in no way a substitute for reading the threads in full as they contain a cornucopia of information not addressed here.

1. Conceived in the 1920’s, by the 1930’s the actual character of Tom – created outside LOTR, The Silmarillion, and ME, had started to develop. Goldberry, OMW and the Barrow-wight- future characters in LOTR - are also created at this time and are also outside the ME legendarium.

2. From a physical description point of view Tolkien had an image of Tom that remained constant from its inception.

3.It was Tolkien himself who named him - ab initio - as Tom Bombadil.

4.The many references to ‘Nature’ in The Letters, and the comments of other Inklings, demonstrate Tolkien’s infinite appreciation of Nature, an appreciation which, it is suggested, in the 1930’s began to coalesce around the developing figure of Tom Bombadil.

5.It is not too far-fetched to say that the Tom of LOTR was essentially developed by 1934.Far from representing anything created in the LOTR or The Silmarillion legendarium Tomwas the product of Tolkien’s own personal legendarium, which in Tom found his own concepts of Englishness, place, Nature, and a whole plethora of other aspects.

6.What emerged in 1934 was a character definition, of Tom, much more fully developed than previously, alongside a group of other characters, Old Man Willow, Goldberry, a family of Badgers, and a Barrow-wight who were all (other than the Badgers) to feature in the as yet to be constructed LOTR- which did not see its first draft chapter in being until 1938.

7. By 1934 Tolkien had decided that Tom existed in a defined space, that there were boundaries to where he went. Just how defined those boundaries were, and by whom, is difficult to say, but they were certainly not as articulated as they became in Letter # 19, or in LOTR where Tom clearly ss the definer of his own boundaries.

8.Name and place are very important to Tolkien, they give identity. And sometime –probably between 1934 and 1936, Tolkien had finally come to identify Tom Bombadil with the countryside of Oxfordshire and Berkshire that he and his friends C S Lewis and Warnie Lewis and others wal;ked so frequently.

And the Nature that is part of Tom’s persona was derived from the gentle, domesticated countryside of Berkshire and Oxfordshire rather than the wilds of the Yorkshire moors- which Tolkien also knew intimately from his days in Leeds.

As a consequence:

’Tolkien ’domesticates’ the wildness of Nature and its inhabitants by using the ’lens’ of the domestic and comfortable scenery of the counties of Berkshire and Oxforshire and it is not without reason that he describes Tom- in a later development, as the ’spirit of the (vanishing) Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside.’

9. If we look carefully at Letter # 19 we can perhaps see the beginning of a link between the independent Tom of 1934 and 1937 and the Tom who was later top become the enigmatic charcater of LOTR.

10.Did Tom have to be ‘changed’ to fit in with LOTR? The answer is quite clearly a resounding ’No!’ Tom’s character was expanded to allow him to have credibility within the world of LOTR but much that he had accumulated character –wise in his non- ME life- pre LOTR was to remain with him. Moreover, he entered the world of ME with a group of companions, Goldberry, OMW, the Badgers, and the Barrow- wight who were also imports to not creations of LOTR, and most certainly not of The Silmarillion.

11. In enhancing and deepening the role of Tom in LOTR- Tolkien also enhances the roles of those who interact with him in the 1934 poem, Goldberry-particularly, OMW, and the Barrow –wight. Only the badgers are effectively omitted -relegated to a single line of reminisence cf. FOTR- In The House of Tom Bombadil.

12. It is not surprising, that in assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME Tolkien gives him as a major aspect of his being, the power of song, and the power over others that song gives.In the early ages of ME song had been a powerful weapon used by both the forces of good and evil, and song was what distinguished many of the great characters of the Elder Days. Thus, for Tom to be cast into the ME framework as a being of those days – and before- (albeit one whose origins are not in LOTR or ME }, he too had to bear the hallmarks of those other great beings, of which the power of song was one.

13. And in LOTR he has also become Master – for now he cannot be caught at all!

14.In many ways the Barrrow-wight and OMW are the most successful of the four ‘importations’ from the pre-LOTR legendarium, contained in the 1934 Adventures.They fit nicely into the ’Mordorian’ scenario that LOTR contains and feel much more at home in ME than Goldberry and especially Tom.The main reason for this is that Tolkien does not use them to achieve any other purpose, and thus they can settle down and assimilate into their new ‘country’ quite happily.

Goldberry, and more particularly Tom do not ‘settle-in’ in the same way. Although they ‘fit’ the LOTR story reasonably well, Tom especially appears to be a ‘quirky’ character who is not entirely at home in the ME Legendarium, and Goldberry , as his consort, to a lesser degree, suffers the same fate.This is quite understandable as Tom and Goldberry are representative of a tradition that exists outside the boundaries of ME.

15. The 1962 Adventures add nothing at all to our understanding of the nature of Tom or to his character. Tolkien had said it all in 1934, 1937 and in LOTR. Indeed he said as much in 1961:

‘not that I feel inclined to write any more about him’ {Letter # 231}.

And in reality, although he wrote Tom Goes Boating for the 1962 work, he actually tells us nothing further about Tom. By the end of LOTR-,other than in letters of explanation to readers, he has finished his story of Tom Bombadil. All that needed to be said had been said by the end of the Quest.

16. Perhaps the last word in this summary should be Tolkien’s, because it is such an important comment. In a letter to Christopher Fettes in 1961 (not included in Carpenter’s Letters} Tolkien wrote:

You will notice that though the Ring is a serious matter and has great power for all the inhabitants of the world of Lord of the Rings , even the best and most holy, it does not touch Tom Bombadil at all. So Bombadil is ’fatherless’, he has no historical origin in the world described in Lord of the Rings.” {My bold emphasis}

To Be Continued – The Development of Tom in ME: Home 6-9

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 05:30 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: I do not think we should lose sight of the wood for the trees.

Nor forget the acorn from which the LOTR Oak of Tom grew- although it was much more than an acorn when it was transplanted!X(

And of course LOTR is by far the most powerful work of art, but we cannot understand Tolkien’s construct of Tom in it without following the course I have taken and will continue to take  in these threads. Reader interpretation can run as riot as it likes- I am concerned to establish the likely intent of the Master - because it is his enigma!

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 05:30 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: I do not think we should lose sight of the wood for the trees.

Nor forget the acorn from which the LOTR Oak of Tom grew- although it was much more than an acorn when it was transplanted!X(

And of course LOTR is by far the most powerful work of art, but we cannot understand Tolkien’s construct of Tom in it without following the course I have taken and will continue to take  in these threads. Reader interpretation can run as riot as it likes- I am concerned to establish the likely intent of the Master - because it is his enigma!

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 05:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Development of Tom in ME Home Volumes 6-9

Unlike Athena, jumping fully formed from Zeus’s brow, Tolkien’s translation of Tom from a non ME legendarium to the world of ME was a much lengthier process of creation and assimilation. While Tom was a ‘known’ entity – {cf Letter # 163} unlike Faramir who , much to Tolkien’s surprise came:

walking into the woods of Ithilien’

‘(I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him) {Letter # 66}

he was by no means a ‘finished article’ when he entered LOTR- he had to be fitted in with its legendarium.

Indeed, it is a grave mistake to think that Tolkien created in a linear fashion, he did not, as any careful reading of HOME and CT’s comments will clearly demonstrate.

So, although Tom comes to ME with quite a lot of ‘baggage’ already determined, he has yet to undergo a process of assimilation and development that will more fully fit him for the ME role per se Tolkien chose for him to play.

HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow

In an editorial comment in HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow, CT observes:

It is to be noted that Tom Bombadil, the Willow-man, and the Barrow-wights were already in existence years before my father began The Lord ol the Rings;

A point that the Readers of these threads will be only too well aware of!X(

In a letter to Charles Furth off Allen & Unwin’s in February 1938 Tolkien wrote that,regarding developing the story after the first chapter of the sequel to The Hobbit:

‘I have only the vaguest notions of how to proceed’

Yet, as CT points out, even at that time::

‘ Tom Bombadil, the Willowman and the Barrow-wights were already envisaged as possibilities’

as Tolkien’s notes show.

By August 1938 however- the literary block had been removed and :

‘It is now flowing along , and getting quite out of hand. It has reached about Chapter V11 and progresses towards quite unforeseen goals.{Letter # 33 to Charles Furth}

As CT observes:

It is clear that in those few days the hobbits had passed through the Old Forest by way of the Withywindle valley, stayed in the house of Tom Bombadil, escaped from the Barrowwight, and reached Bree.

In the earliest drafts the Hobbits do not meet Tom Bombadil until after he rescues them from the Barrowdown.

They run into OMW who catches two of them, but releases them when singing is heard. The singing is Tom’s but in this draft he is not named. They then have the Barrow-down adventure from which they are rescued by Tom, who hears them singing and answers in song, and takes them to his house, followed by two pursuing Barrow-wights on horses (Tolkien has not yet created separate Black Riders):

They go to his house for the night - two Barrowwights come [?galloping] after them, but stop every time Tom Bombadil turns and looks at them

It is interesting to note that in these earlier drafts Tom has more power, in terms of his power over the Barrow –wights /Ringwraiths than in the final publication – where Tolkien lessens his interaction/control with anything outside his boundaries:

‘Tom is not master of riders from the Black Land far beyond his country’ {FOTR-Fog on the Barrow –Downs}

So from the beginning of the LOTR drafts Tom has been given the power of song- a fundamental aspect of power and control in the Elder legendarium stories.

The first main point of interest to note, as the story develops to the form that we are most familiar with, is Tolkien’s first attempt to define the nature of Tom. This ‘definition’ is attempted by trying to specify the nature of Farmer Maggott:

He turns out to know Farmer Maggot. (Make Maggot not a hobbit, but some other kind of creature - not dwarf, but akin to Tom Bombadil).{Tolkien’s draft – my emphasis}

Note the term ‘akin to’. The OED defines ‘akin’ as: ‘Of kin, by way of blood relationship.” Quite how one has a blood relationship with the ‘spirit of the {vanishing} Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ is unclear- and Tolkien soon abandoned the kinship idea.

But the concept of aligning Tom with Maggot made good sense. Maggot, Gaffer Gamgee, Sam, are close to nature- Maggot most of all, and one can see why Tolkien needed to link Tom Bombadil with a community of like –minds- those who understood the significance of land, and nature in man’s psyche, a significance of paramount importance to Tolkien himself:

‘There’s earth under his old feet, and clay on his fingers, wisdom in his bones, and both his eyes are open’ { FOTR- In The House Of Tom Bombadil}

In another incarnation this would not be an unreasonable description of Tom himself!

There are a number of draft notes on these earlier versions which also make interesting reading:

1.Water-lily motive - last lilies of summer for Goldberry.

This motif is strengthened in the published text

2.Relation of Tom Bombadil to Farmer Maggot (Maggot not a hobbit?)

Tolkien is still wrestling with the relationship between Tom and Maggot- finally deciding against a blood one.

3.Tom Bombadil is an’aborigine’- he knew the land before men, before hobbits, before barrow-wights, yes before the necromancer - before the elves came to this quarter of the world.

ab origine from the beginning. The timelessness of Tom, compared to all other ME beings in LOTR is something that exists from the earliest drafts.

4.Goldberry says he is ’master of water , wood and hill’. Does all this land belong to him? No! The land and the things belong to themselves. He is not the possessor but the master, because he belongs to himself.

In translating Tom to ME Tolkien continues the Mastery he had established in Letter # 19 from the non-LOTR legendarium. But this ‘mastery’ is a proper understanding of self- it is self-aware as opposed to self- centered, and thus ego has been conquered or is not relevant.

5.Description of Goldberry, with her hair as yellow as the flaglilies, her green gown and light feet.

The nature symbolism of Goldberry exists from the earliest after her translation to ME.

6.Barrow-wights related to Black-riders. Are Black-riders actually horsed Barrow-wights?

Tolkien still has not decided whether to separate or combine the two entities.

7.The guests sleep - there is a noise as of wind surging in the edges of the forest and......... through the panes and gables and the: doors. Galloping of [?horses] round the house.

Although in this version the dream which is later transferred to Frodo- is dominated by horses- in the final version they are only a minor aspect – yet powerful enough for both Bingo in this draft and Frodo in the final published version to have expected to see hoof prints pock-marking Tom’s turf in the morning when they awake. Indeed, in this version the horse sounds Bingo hears are real!

And song is everywhere! On the second day when Tom is telling tales to the Hobbits, compare the drafts here with the final FOTR version:

‘always in a sing-song or actually singing’ {draft}

‘ Often his voice would turn to song, and he would get out of his chair and dance about.’{In The House of Tom Bombadil – FOTR}

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

halfir 28/Nov/2005 at 05:49 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

The Development of Tom in ME Home Volumes 6-9

Unlike Athena, jumping fully formed from Zeus’s brow, Tolkien’s translation of Tom from a non ME legendarium to the world of ME was a much lengthier process of creation and assimilation. While Tom was a ‘known’ entity – {cf Letter # 163} unlike Faramir who , much to Tolkien’s surprise came:

walking into the woods of Ithilien’

‘(I am sure I did not invent him, I did not even want him, though I like him) {Letter # 66}

he was by no means a ‘finished article’ when he entered LOTR- he had to be fitted in with its legendarium.

Indeed, it is a grave mistake to think that Tolkien created in a linear fashion, he did not, as any careful reading of HOME and CT’s comments will clearly demonstrate.

So, although Tom comes to ME with quite a lot of ‘baggage’ already determined, he has yet to undergo a process of assimilation and development that will more fully fit him for the ME role per se Tolkien chose for him to play.

HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow

In an editorial comment in HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow, CT observes:

It is to be noted that Tom Bombadil, the Willow-man, and the Barrow-wights were already in existence years before my father began The Lord ol the Rings;

A point that the Readers of these threads will be only too well aware of!X(

In a letter to Charles Furth off Allen & Unwin’s in February 1938 Tolkien wrote that,regarding developing the story after the first chapter of the sequel to The Hobbit:

‘I have only the vaguest notions of how to proceed’

Yet, as CT points out, even at that time::

‘ Tom Bombadil, the Willowman and the Barrow-wights were already envisaged as possibilities’

as Tolkien’s notes show.

By August 1938 however- the literary block had been removed and :

‘It is now flowing along , and getting quite out of hand. It has reached about Chapter V11 and progresses towards quite unforeseen goals.{Letter # 33 to Charles Furth}

As CT observes:

It is clear that in those few days the hobbits had passed through the Old Forest by way of the Withywindle valley, stayed in the house of Tom Bombadil, escaped from the Barrowwight, and reached Bree.

In the earliest drafts the Hobbits do not meet Tom Bombadil until after he rescues them from the Barrowdown.

They run into OMW who catches two of them, but releases them when singing is heard. The singing is Tom’s but in this draft he is not named. They then have the Barrow-down adventure from which they are rescued by Tom, who hears them singing and answers in song, and takes them to his house, followed by two pursuing Barrow-wights on horses (Tolkien has not yet created separate Black Riders):

They go to his house for the night - two Barrowwights come [?galloping] after them, but stop every time Tom Bombadil turns and looks at them

It is interesting to note that in these earlier drafts Tom has more power, in terms of his power over the Barrow –wights /Ringwraiths than in the final publication – where Tolkien lessens his interaction/control with anything outside his boundaries:

‘Tom is not master of riders from the Black Land far beyond his country’ {FOTR-Fog on the Barrow –Downs}

So from the beginning of the LOTR drafts Tom has been given the power of song- a fundamental aspect of power and control in the Elder legendarium stories.

The first main point of interest to note, as the story develops to the form that we are most familiar with, is Tolkien’s first attempt to define the nature of Tom. This ‘definition’ is attempted by trying to specify the nature of Farmer Maggott:

He turns out to know Farmer Maggot. (Make Maggot not a hobbit, but some other kind of creature - not dwarf, but akin to Tom Bombadil).{Tolkien’s draft – my emphasis}

Note the term ‘akin to’. The OED defines ‘akin’ as: ‘Of kin, by way of blood relationship.” Quite how one has a blood relationship with the ‘spirit of the {vanishing} Oxfordshire and Berkshire countryside’ is unclear- and Tolkien soon abandoned the kinship idea.

But the concept of aligning Tom with Maggot made good sense. Maggot, Gaffer Gamgee, Sam, are close to nature- Maggot most of all, and one can see why Tolkien needed to link Tom Bombadil with a community of like –minds- those who understood the significance of land, and nature in man’s psyche, a significance of paramount importance to Tolkien himself:

‘There’s earth under his old feet, and clay on his fingers, wisdom in his bones, and both his eyes are open’ { FOTR- In The House Of Tom Bombadil}

In another incarnation this would not be an unreasonable description of Tom himself!

There are a number of draft notes on these earlier versions which also make interesting reading:

1.Water-lily motive - last lilies of summer for Goldberry.

This motif is strengthened in the published text

2.Relation of Tom Bombadil to Farmer Maggot (Maggot not a hobbit?)

Tolkien is still wrestling with the relationship between Tom and Maggot- finally deciding against a blood one.

3.Tom Bombadil is an’aborigine’- he knew the land before men, before hobbits, before barrow-wights, yes before the necromancer - before the elves came to this quarter of the world.

ab origine from the beginning. The timelessness of Tom, compared to all other ME beings in LOTR is something that exists from the earliest drafts.

4.Goldberry says he is ’master of water , wood and hill’. Does all this land belong to him? No! The land and the things belong to themselves. He is not the possessor but the master, because he belongs to himself.

In translating Tom to ME Tolkien continues the Mastery he had established in Letter # 19 from the non-LOTR legendarium. But this ‘mastery’ is a proper understanding of self- it is self-aware as opposed to self- centered, and thus ego has been conquered or is not relevant.

5.Description of Goldberry, with her hair as yellow as the flaglilies, her green gown and light feet.

The nature symbolism of Goldberry exists from the earliest after her translation to ME.

6.Barrow-wights related to Black-riders. Are Black-riders actually horsed Barrow-wights?

Tolkien still has not decided whether to separate or combine the two entities.

7.The guests sleep - there is a noise as of wind surging in the edges of the forest and......... through the panes and gables and the: doors. Galloping of [?horses] round the house.

Although in this version the dream which is later transferred to Frodo- is dominated by horses- in the final version they are only a minor aspect – yet powerful enough for both Bingo in this draft and Frodo in the final published version to have expected to see hoof prints pock-marking Tom’s turf in the morning when they awake. Indeed, in this version the horse sounds Bingo hears are real!

And song is everywhere! On the second day when Tom is telling tales to the Hobbits, compare the drafts here with the final FOTR version:

‘always in a sing-song or actually singing’ {draft}

‘ Often his voice would turn to song, and he would get out of his chair and dance about.’{In The House of Tom Bombadil – FOTR}

To Be Continued

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

halfir 29/Nov/2005 at 03:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow –2

As CT observes Tom Bombadil’s answer to Bingo’s question ’Who are you, Master?’ has some interesting differences from the final published form, which are here marked by underline and black text:

’Eh, what?’ said Tom sitting up, and his eyes glinted in the gloom. ’I am an Aborigine, that’s what I am, the Aborigine of this land. [Struck out, at once: I have spoken a mort 6 of languages and called myself by many names.] {1}Mark my words, my merry {2} friends: Tom was here before the River or the Trees. Tom remembers the first acorn and the first rain-drop. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the Little People arriving. He was here before the kings and the graves and the [ghosts ] {3} Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward Tom was here already before the seas were bent. He saw the Sun rise in the West and the Moon following, before the new order of days was made. {4} He knew he dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.’{5}

1.In the published text this is replaced by the famous- and much debated passage that begins: ‘Don’t you know my name yet?” In saying ‘I am an Aborigine’ which does not appear in the published text Tom is saying that he has been here from the beginning. Mort = many

2. merry –omitted from the published text.

3. [ghosts ] omitted from the published text.

4. omitted from the published text

5. Dark Lord = Morgoth

In the reference to Farmer Maggott that follows later in this draft Tolkien drops the idea of a close blood relationship between Tom and Maggot but still keeps the concept of kinship (omitted from the published version}:

’We are kinsfolk, he and I. In a way of speaking: distantly and far back, but near enough for friendship’

With regard to the Ring episode CT observes:

The episode of Tom and the Ring is told in virtually the same words as in FOTR, the only and very slight difference being that when Bingo put on the Ring Tom cried: ’Hey, come Bingo there, where be you a-going? What be you a-grinning at? Are you tired of talking? Take off that Ring of yours and sit down a moment. We must talk a while more . . .’Against this my father wrote later: ’Make the seeing clearer’, and substituted (after ’where be you a-going?’):’Did you think I should not see when you had the Ring on? Ha, Tom Bombadil’s not as blind as that yet. Take off your golden Ring, and sit down a moment.’

Perhaps the most important observation to make here with regard to the character  development of Tom is Tolkien’s attempt to link him in some way with Farmer Maggot- in other words to take him from the 1937 concept of ’spirit’ and to locate him more firmly with humanity. In the  final event it was to be the ’spirit’ that won and by the time we come to publication any attempt to establish family relationships between Tom and Maggot, or indeed between Tom and anyone, has been discarded.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

halfir 29/Nov/2005 at 03:59 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

HOME 6 The Return of the Shadow –2

As CT observes Tom Bombadil’s answer to Bingo’s question ’Who are you, Master?’ has some interesting differences from the final published form, which are here marked by underline and black text:

’Eh, what?’ said Tom sitting up, and his eyes glinted in the gloom. ’I am an Aborigine, that’s what I am, the Aborigine of this land. [Struck out, at once: I have spoken a mort 6 of languages and called myself by many names.] {1}Mark my words, my merry {2} friends: Tom was here before the River or the Trees. Tom remembers the first acorn and the first rain-drop. He made paths before the Big People, and saw the Little People arriving. He was here before the kings and the graves and the [ghosts ] {3} Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward Tom was here already before the seas were bent. He saw the Sun rise in the West and the Moon following, before the new order of days was made. {4} He knew he dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.’{5}

1.In the published text this is replaced by the famous- and much debated passage that begins: ‘Don’t you know my name yet?” In saying ‘I am an Aborigine’ which does not appear in the published text Tom is saying that he has been here from the beginning. Mort = many

2. merry –omitted from the published text.

3. [ghosts ] omitted from the published text.

4. omitted from the published text

5. Dark Lord = Morgoth

In the reference to Farmer Maggott that follows later in this draft Tolkien drops the idea of a close blood relationship between Tom and Maggot but still keeps the concept of kinship (omitted from the published version}:

’We are kinsfolk, he and I. In a way of speaking: distantly and far back, but near enough for friendship’

With regard to the Ring episode CT observes:

The episode of Tom and the Ring is told in virtually the same words as in FOTR, the only and very slight difference being that when Bingo put on the Ring Tom cried: ’Hey, come Bingo there, where be you a-going? What be you a-grinning at? Are you tired of talking? Take off that Ring of yours and sit down a moment. We must talk a while more . . .’Against this my father wrote later: ’Make the seeing clearer’, and substituted (after ’where be you a-going?’):’Did you think I should not see when you had the Ring on? Ha, Tom Bombadil’s not as blind as that yet. Take off your golden Ring, and sit down a moment.’

Perhaps the most important observation to make here with regard to the character  development of Tom is Tolkien’s attempt to link him in some way with Farmer Maggot- in other words to take him from the 1937 concept of ’spirit’ and to locate him more firmly with humanity. In the  final event it was to be the ’spirit’ that won and by the time we come to publication any attempt to establish family relationships between Tom and Maggot, or indeed between Tom and anyone, has been discarded.

To Be Continued

 

 

 

Rohanya 01/Dec/2005 at 06:26 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, congratulations on your Greymantle! ’We are kinsfolk, he and I. In a way of speaking: distantly and far back, but near enough for friendship’ I wonder if version X ever wins out, totally, over version Y. Whatever we end up with on the plate (book food), two interpretations will enter the writer`s system and probably be assimilated in subtle ways. One can somewhere still work in the background, affecting what eventually comes out (at least, when going back and rewriting).

However, I would not insist upon such in this particular instance.

A `mort` of languages is a curious word for even a writer such as the Master to come up with; he would have known, instinctively, that probably 10,000 out of 10,000 random interviewees would not know it. (Or are my instincts wrong? Was the item known better back in his time? I should think not but correct me if I am wrong). The natural association would be with the French word -- death, though with e added on. One can see why it was jettisoned.

Rohanya 01/Dec/2005 at 06:26 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

My Lord halfir, congratulations on your Greymantle! ’We are kinsfolk, he and I. In a way of speaking: distantly and far back, but near enough for friendship’ I wonder if version X ever wins out, totally, over version Y. Whatever we end up with on the plate (book food), two interpretations will enter the writer`s system and probably be assimilated in subtle ways. One can somewhere still work in the background, affecting what eventually comes out (at least, when going back and rewriting).

However, I would not insist upon such in this particular instance.

A `mort` of languages is a curious word for even a writer such as the Master to come up with; he would have known, instinctively, that probably 10,000 out of 10,000 random interviewees would not know it. (Or are my instincts wrong? Was the item known better back in his time? I should think not but correct me if I am wrong). The natural association would be with the French word -- death, though with e added on. One can see why it was jettisoned.

halfir 01/Dec/2005 at 06:01 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: Thank you for your kind congratulations. May I also reciprocate them for Queen Beruthiel- although being set adrift in a boat with a bunch of cats is not my idea of heaven!X(

You very perceptively pick-up on the word ’mort’  which means many,  - when most would be more familar with ’morte’ which you rightly observe means death.

Both Lewis and Tolkien were srtonlgy influenced by the wring style of William Morris- Tolkien particulalrly in his earlier writings such as The Book of Lost Tales- and there are some hangovers, as Rosebury points out, of what we might call ’Morrisian archaisms’ into his  later works, although no many.(I dealt with this in my thread:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=186383&PagePosition=1}

"In an interesting comment in Tolkien  A Cultural Phenomenon ( Palgrave Macmillan paperback 2003 ISBN 1 4039 1263 7) Brian Rosebury - in commenting on Morris’s influence on Tolkien’s style, disitnguishes between the earlier writings and LOTR:

’Above all, the prose in the pre-1937 legends is far removed from the transparency and felxible use of elevated style, achieved in The Lord of the Rings. Instead there is a sustained archaism, strongly reminiscent of the prose romances of William Morris a generation and more earlier."

I suspect that this is a ’throwback’ to this, which is being used by Tolkien to empahsize the ’antiquity’ of Tom, as it conjoins nicely ( if somehwat obscurely to those who don’t speak "Morrisian English!X(}  with ’Aborigine’.

 

 

 

halfir 01/Dec/2005 at 06:01 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: Thank you for your kind congratulations. May I also reciprocate them for Queen Beruthiel- although being set adrift in a boat with a bunch of cats is not my idea of heaven!X(

You very perceptively pick-up on the word ’mort’  which means many,  - when most would be more familar with ’morte’ which you rightly observe means death.

Both Lewis and Tolkien were srtonlgy influenced by the wring style of William Morris- Tolkien particulalrly in his earlier writings such as The Book of Lost Tales- and there are some hangovers, as Rosebury points out, of what we might call ’Morrisian archaisms’ into his  later works, although no many.(I dealt with this in my thread:

http://www.lotrplaza.com/archive4/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=186383&PagePosition=1}

"In an interesting comment in Tolkien  A Cultural Phenomenon ( Palgrave Macmillan paperback 2003 ISBN 1 4039 1263 7) Brian Rosebury - in commenting on Morris’s influence on Tolkien’s style, disitnguishes between the earlier writings and LOTR:

’Above all, the prose in the pre-1937 legends is far removed from the transparency and felxible use of elevated style, achieved in The Lord of the Rings. Instead there is a sustained archaism, strongly reminiscent of the prose romances of William Morris a generation and more earlier."

I suspect that this is a ’throwback’ to this, which is being used by Tolkien to empahsize the ’antiquity’ of Tom, as it conjoins nicely ( if somehwat obscurely to those who don’t speak "Morrisian English!X(}  with ’Aborigine’.

 

 

 

Saranna 02/Dec/2005 at 03:18 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
*Throws tiny point into vast and learned thread* - You find ’mort’ in Hardy and Dickens and co when they want to make their characters sound old, rustic or both.  I am almost sure I heard very old people use it in my childhood in Devon.  I knew what it meant, anyway, by the time I found it in Tolkien.  Indeed I think the expression "’Tis mortal cold" may be related to mort rather than morte and be an expression of intensity not of potential death.
Saranna 02/Dec/2005 at 03:18 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
*Throws tiny point into vast and learned thread* - You find ’mort’ in Hardy and Dickens and co when they want to make their characters sound old, rustic or both.  I am almost sure I heard very old people use it in my childhood in Devon.  I knew what it meant, anyway, by the time I found it in Tolkien.  Indeed I think the expression "’Tis mortal cold" may be related to mort rather than morte and be an expression of intensity not of potential death.
halfir 02/Dec/2005 at 07:07 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I suspect that this is a ’;throwback’; to this, which is being used by Tolkien to empahsize the ’;antiquity’; of Tom-

You find ’mort’ in Hardy and Dickens and co when they want to make their characters sound old, rustic or both.  QED!

Thanks Sarrana!X(

halfir 02/Dec/2005 at 07:07 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

I suspect that this is a ’;throwback’; to this, which is being used by Tolkien to empahsize the ’;antiquity’; of Tom-

You find ’mort’ in Hardy and Dickens and co when they want to make their characters sound old, rustic or both.  QED!

Thanks Sarrana!X(

halfir 02/Dec/2005 at 07:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

HOME 6 Return of the Shadow- Fog on the Barrow-Downs - Enter the Barrow-Wight

This is something of a fraudulent header as like Tom, Goldberry, OMW and the badgers, the Barrow-wight has entered before- in the 1934 poem- and that archetypal image – after much drafting- and some embellishing of historical record, like Tom, does not change all that much.

And of course, in the original drafts of HOME 6 In The House Of Tom Bombadil Tom had told the Hobbits of the Barrow-Downs and the Wights, in a form virtually the same as that of the published version.

Also, we have seen that Tolkien toyed with the idea of fusing the Barrow-Wights and the Black Riders, and although he rejected this, in some drafts he kept a link between them cf:

But he {Tom Bombadil} encouraged them - a little - by telling them that he guessed the Riders (or some of them) were seeking now among the mounds. For he seemed to think that the Riders and Barrowwights had some kind of kinship or understanding. If that were so, it might prove in the end well that they had been captured. {my bold emphasis}

If evil things were stirring it perhaps made some sense to see them as having some form of liaison, but this point, the relationship between Black Riders and Barrow-Wights, Tolkien did not pursue in the published version.

It could be- reflecting Tolkien’s later comment in HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring-Myths Transformed V11 that ‘all evil hates’ that he decided that such ‘alliances’ were unlikely- even though the entities concerned apparently served the same ends. Either ways, there is no such relationship in the published version.

So again, we see how Tolkien has taken the earlier 1934 character and –after some consideration of how to use it- but giving it an historical perspective before lacking (cf. FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil} - has finally opted for a subject, albeit more developed, that originated in 1934. Its interactions, have, of course changed, as it is with the Hobbits that the Barrow-Wight interfaces, on the Downs, not Tom.

Overall, as CT observes in his editorial notes in HOME 6:

the final form of FR Chapter 8 (’Fog on the Barrow-downs’) is very largely present: for most of its length only very minor alterations were made afterwards.

The Barrow-Wight’s incantation in the published version remains the same as the finally selected draft version, apart from line 7:

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed,

Never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.

In the black wind the stars shall die,
and here on gold still let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand

{’till the king of the dark tower lifts his hand} Draft version *
over dead sea and withered land

* On this CT notes : In the rough workings for this verse my father wrote: ’The dark lord sits in the tower and looks over the dark seas and the dark world’, and also ’his hand stretches over the cold sea and the dead world.’

And the drafts give us a better insight into those whose treasures Tom blessed by laying them in the Sun and breaking the spell – thus preventing the Wight’s return, by making the treasures ‘free to all finders”:

’For the makers and owners of these things are not here, and their day is long past, and the makers cannot claim them again until the world is mended." And when he took the brooch for Goldberry he said: ’Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder, and Goldberry shall wear it now, and we shall not forget them, the vanished folk, the old kings, the children and the maidens, and all those who walked the earth when the world was younger.’

BUT as CT observes:

Of the hints in Tom’s words in {the published} FR concerning the history of Angmar and the coming of Aragorn there is of course no suggestion

And of course, as with OMW , so with the now departed Barrow-Wight – whose incantation to the Dark Lord is no match for Tom’s own songs of power:

‘None has ever caught him yet, for Tom he is the master:
His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.’

So song again, in draft and published version identify Tom and those imported with him from the 1934 poem, with the world of ME and its elder -days Songs of Power, continuing the assimilation process.

But perhaps, most significant of all is Tom’s farewell to the hobbits where, unlike the published version, he does not state:

‘Tom’s country ends here: he will not pass the borders’ {FOTR- Fog On The Barrow-Downs}

but says:

They begged him to come as far as the inn and drink once more with them. But he laughed and refused, saying: ’Tom has his house to mind, and Goldberry is waiting.’ Then he turned, tossed up his hat, leaped on Lumpkin’s back, and rode over the bank and away singing into the gathering dusk.{HOME 6 Fog On The Barrow-Downs}

Tolkien has yet to return to Letter # 19 and the location of Tom in a specific place- Tom’s boundaries have not yet been defined in the ME story - as we shall see later when we examine Tom’s relationship with Barliman Butterbur.

To Be Continued

halfir 02/Dec/2005 at 07:20 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

HOME 6 Return of the Shadow- Fog on the Barrow-Downs - Enter the Barrow-Wight

This is something of a fraudulent header as like Tom, Goldberry, OMW and the badgers, the Barrow-wight has entered before- in the 1934 poem- and that archetypal image – after much drafting- and some embellishing of historical record, like Tom, does not change all that much.

And of course, in the original drafts of HOME 6 In The House Of Tom Bombadil Tom had told the Hobbits of the Barrow-Downs and the Wights, in a form virtually the same as that of the published version.

Also, we have seen that Tolkien toyed with the idea of fusing the Barrow-Wights and the Black Riders, and although he rejected this, in some drafts he kept a link between them cf:

But he {Tom Bombadil} encouraged them - a little - by telling them that he guessed the Riders (or some of them) were seeking now among the mounds. For he seemed to think that the Riders and Barrowwights had some kind of kinship or understanding. If that were so, it might prove in the end well that they had been captured. {my bold emphasis}

If evil things were stirring it perhaps made some sense to see them as having some form of liaison, but this point, the relationship between Black Riders and Barrow-Wights, Tolkien did not pursue in the published version.

It could be- reflecting Tolkien’s later comment in HOME 10 Morgoth’s Ring-Myths Transformed V11 that ‘all evil hates’ that he decided that such ‘alliances’ were unlikely- even though the entities concerned apparently served the same ends. Either ways, there is no such relationship in the published version.

So again, we see how Tolkien has taken the earlier 1934 character and –after some consideration of how to use it- but giving it an historical perspective before lacking (cf. FOTR-In The House of Tom Bombadil} - has finally opted for a subject, albeit more developed, that originated in 1934. Its interactions, have, of course changed, as it is with the Hobbits that the Barrow-Wight interfaces, on the Downs, not Tom.

Overall, as CT observes in his editorial notes in HOME 6:

the final form of FR Chapter 8 (’Fog on the Barrow-downs’) is very largely present: for most of its length only very minor alterations were made afterwards.

The Barrow-Wight’s incantation in the published version remains the same as the finally selected draft version, apart from line 7:

Cold be hand and heart and bone,
and cold be sleep under stone:
never more to wake on stony bed,

Never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead.

In the black wind the stars shall die,
and here on gold still let them lie,
till the dark lord lifts his hand

{’till the king of the dark tower lifts his hand} Draft version *
over dead sea and withered land

* On this CT notes : In the rough workings for this verse my father wrote: ’The dark lord sits in the tower and looks over the dark seas and the dark world’, and also ’his hand stretches over the cold sea and the dead world.’

And the drafts give us a better insight into those whose treasures Tom blessed by laying them in the Sun and breaking the spell – thus preventing the Wight’s return, by making the treasures ‘free to all finders”:

’For the makers and owners of these things are not here, and their day is long past, and the makers cannot claim them again until the world is mended." And when he took the brooch for Goldberry he said: ’Fair was she who long ago wore this on her shoulder, and Goldberry shall wear it now, and we shall not forget them, the vanished folk, the old kings, the children and the maidens, and all those who walked the earth when the world was younger.’

BUT as CT observes:

Of the hints in Tom’s words in {the published} FR concerning the history of Angmar and the coming of Aragorn there is of course no suggestion

And of course, as with OMW , so with the now departed Barrow-Wight – whose incantation to the Dark Lord is no match for Tom’s own songs of power:

‘None has ever caught him yet, for Tom he is the master:
His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.’

So song again, in draft and published version identify Tom and those imported with him from the 1934 poem, with the world of ME and its elder -days Songs of Power, continuing the assimilation process.

But perhaps, most significant of all is Tom’s farewell to the hobbits where, unlike the published version, he does not state:

‘Tom’s country ends here: he will not pass the borders’ {FOTR- Fog On The Barrow-Downs}

but says:

They begged him to come as far as the inn and drink once more with them. But he laughed and refused, saying: ’Tom has his house to mind, and Goldberry is waiting.’ Then he turned, tossed up his hat, leaped on Lumpkin’s back, and rode over the bank and away singing into the gathering dusk.{HOME 6 Fog On The Barrow-Downs}

Tolkien has yet to return to Letter # 19 and the location of Tom in a specific place- Tom’s boundaries have not yet been defined in the ME story - as we shall see later when we examine Tom’s relationship with Barliman Butterbur.

To Be Continued

Rohanya 03/Dec/2005 at 12:36 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
Pops in to make sure My Tom is being treated properly. My Lord halfir, I can’t see any major damage happening in your last post -- nothing minor either. Laugh. Curious how the notion of kinship arises once more; first we had Bombadil and his kinship with Maggot (later rejected) now this, with Rider and Barrow wights. (Also later rejected.)

Kinship, as structuring device, seems to have been very much at work in the background, at least originally. Kinship, I would imagine, as potent element in the writer’s psyche would at least attest to a need to identify with some larger context, yet obviously in intimate, human, perhaps historical, way. I do not mean it was always there (ie., this kinship need), but it does seem to have been present during the initial etchings.

Rohanya 03/Dec/2005 at 12:36 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005
Pops in to make sure My Tom is being treated properly. My Lord halfir, I can’t see any major damage happening in your last post -- nothing minor either. Laugh. Curious how the notion of kinship arises once more; first we had Bombadil and his kinship with Maggot (later rejected) now this, with Rider and Barrow wights. (Also later rejected.)

Kinship, as structuring device, seems to have been very much at work in the background, at least originally. Kinship, I would imagine, as potent element in the writer’s psyche would at least attest to a need to identify with some larger context, yet obviously in intimate, human, perhaps historical, way. I do not mean it was always there (ie., this kinship need), but it does seem to have been present during the initial etchings.

halfir 03/Dec/2005 at 01:45 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Rohanya: Yet again you percerptively focus  on one of the ’bull’’’’ points- that of kinship. Of course, when I come to develop my full analysis of Tom’s role and function, having provided the data base from which that analysis can be given, I will be stressing the fact that in my view the earlier concept of Tom- of 1934 and 1937 -especially the latter - (parts of which Tolkien  felt  it essential to keep} made it impossible for Tolkien to characterize Tom  as anything other than sui generis, and he thus had to to reject the Maggot  ’kinship’ concept - which I suspect was one early attempt at assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME.
halfir 03/Dec/2005 at 01:45 AM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002
Rohanya: Yet again you percerptively focus  on one of the ’bull’’’’ points- that of kinship. Of course, when I come to develop my full analysis of Tom’s role and function, having provided the data base from which that analysis can be given, I will be stressing the fact that in my view the earlier concept of Tom- of 1934 and 1937 -especially the latter - (parts of which Tolkien  felt  it essential to keep} made it impossible for Tolkien to characterize Tom  as anything other than sui generis, and he thus had to to reject the Maggot  ’kinship’ concept - which I suspect was one early attempt at assimilating Tom into LOTR and ME.
Rohanya 03/Dec/2005 at 04:47 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

You have got me reflecting again on the nature of books, books and characters. I wonder if there is not room for at least two approaches? That is, on the one hand we can and will try to grasp a deeper, historical view of a character; basically, who that person is, where he came from, what category he belongs to, and his own nature, and doings.

There could, however, also be a different approach; it would not try to do what we, as humans, often cannot  transcend -- the present (transcendable, at least, in terms of past reflected on, etc.)  What we see in front of us, hear, taste, smell, etc. is all we have to go on, most of the time.

And in fact the dynamics of books work usually on this level; it is the turning of pages, one by one, with the moment developing before our eyes. Our reactions, our conclusions, intuitive and not, feed upon it, or at least presuppose such.

It could be called the fresh view. (Not that I am suggesting, thereby, yours lacks this quality. Laugh.) So Tom would be, from that perspective, what he manifests as series of glimpses in several chapters. Here, too, the question of in Middle-earth, but not of it? fades into the background. We just have Entity X, right here and now, and that is how he is to be seen.

But, yes, I am stating there is room for both views. And do continue with your very fascinating analysis.

Rohanya 03/Dec/2005 at 04:47 AM
Warrior of Imladris Points: 2902 Posts: 6872 Joined: 28/Jan/2005

You have got me reflecting again on the nature of books, books and characters. I wonder if there is not room for at least two approaches? That is, on the one hand we can and will try to grasp a deeper, historical view of a character; basically, who that person is, where he came from, what category he belongs to, and his own nature, and doings.

There could, however, also be a different approach; it would not try to do what we, as humans, often cannot  transcend -- the present (transcendable, at least, in terms of past reflected on, etc.)  What we see in front of us, hear, taste, smell, etc. is all we have to go on, most of the time.

And in fact the dynamics of books work usually on this level; it is the turning of pages, one by one, with the moment developing before our eyes. Our reactions, our conclusions, intuitive and not, feed upon it, or at least presuppose such.

It could be called the fresh view. (Not that I am suggesting, thereby, yours lacks this quality. Laugh.) So Tom would be, from that perspective, what he manifests as series of glimpses in several chapters. Here, too, the question of in Middle-earth, but not of it? fades into the background. We just have Entity X, right here and now, and that is how he is to be seen.

But, yes, I am stating there is room for both views. And do continue with your very fascinating analysis.

Saranna 03/Dec/2005 at 09:25 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
*Unashamed chat* - it gladdens my old heart to see my two good friends in fruitful and polite discussion
Saranna 03/Dec/2005 at 09:25 AM
Lúthien Points: 9281 Posts: 11259 Joined: 06/Feb/2004
*Unashamed chat* - it gladdens my old heart to see my two good friends in fruitful and polite discussion
halfir 03/Dec/2005 at 03:47 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: In some ways your ’second approach’ as ’Entity  X" seen here and now exists every time we enter the Enchanted State in our reading of LOTR. But, when we emerge from that state and discuss the attributes of Tom, even if we simply stayed within the textual bounds of LOTR and The Silmarillion we would still be perplexed by his character. Indeed, I would suggest that many of those who post on Tom do stay within those boundaries and that their posts on the Plaza demonstrate their confusion with this character.

But those bounds are false. Tom was not created for LOTR or ME - he exists in another legendarium and was grafted on by Tolkien- who- because he needed Tom to be multi-functional is not entirely successful in the grafting- in terms of Tom fitting ’snugly’ into LOTR. OMW and the Barrow-wight make a much smoother transition for they do not have any secondary or tertiary purpose in Tolkien’s mind.

Trying to see Tom exclusively through the medium of LOTR and ME is like giving a child  ignorant of the world an atlas that does not contain say the African continent. The child- knowing nothing else assumes that the world is as the atlas demonstrates, yet I would suggest that the intelligent child will find something unexplained  to him/her, by that lack- the atlas will cause an intuitive dissatisfaction. And if it does not the child’s understanding will be a subjective not an objective reality.

The same holds good for Tom. The reason why so many grapple with his character is because they are setting him in a false context. He cannot be explained solely within the context of ME for he was never intended to be so explained.

Of course, if you follow the school of thought of such as Roland Barthes {The Death of the Author 1977):

it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author

then what you say holds good- but at the expense I would suggest - of any abiity to have a commonality of interpretation  in discussion and the emergence of what I would call ’anarchic criticism’. However, I do not wish to sideline this thread with a discussion on the philosophy of readership!X(

halfir 03/Dec/2005 at 03:47 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

Rohanya: In some ways your ’second approach’ as ’Entity  X" seen here and now exists every time we enter the Enchanted State in our reading of LOTR. But, when we emerge from that state and discuss the attributes of Tom, even if we simply stayed within the textual bounds of LOTR and The Silmarillion we would still be perplexed by his character. Indeed, I would suggest that many of those who post on Tom do stay within those boundaries and that their posts on the Plaza demonstrate their confusion with this character.

But those bounds are false. Tom was not created for LOTR or ME - he exists in another legendarium and was grafted on by Tolkien- who- because he needed Tom to be multi-functional is not entirely successful in the grafting- in terms of Tom fitting ’snugly’ into LOTR. OMW and the Barrow-wight make a much smoother transition for they do not have any secondary or tertiary purpose in Tolkien’s mind.

Trying to see Tom exclusively through the medium of LOTR and ME is like giving a child  ignorant of the world an atlas that does not contain say the African continent. The child- knowing nothing else assumes that the world is as the atlas demonstrates, yet I would suggest that the intelligent child will find something unexplained  to him/her, by that lack- the atlas will cause an intuitive dissatisfaction. And if it does not the child’s understanding will be a subjective not an objective reality.

The same holds good for Tom. The reason why so many grapple with his character is because they are setting him in a false context. He cannot be explained solely within the context of ME for he was never intended to be so explained.

Of course, if you follow the school of thought of such as Roland Barthes {The Death of the Author 1977):

it is necessary to overthrow the myth: the birth of the reader must be at the cost of the death of the Author

then what you say holds good- but at the expense I would suggest - of any abiity to have a commonality of interpretation  in discussion and the emergence of what I would call ’anarchic criticism’. However, I do not wish to sideline this thread with a discussion on the philosophy of readership!X(

halfir 03/Dec/2005 at 06:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

A Digression: Tom, Farmer Maggot and Cheddar Man

‘Make Maggot not a hobbit, but some other kind of creature - not dwarf, but akin to Tom Bombadil

‘Relation of Tom Bombadil to Farmer Maggot (Maggot not a hobbit?)’

’We are kinsfolk, he and I. In a way of speaking: distantly and far back, but near enough for friendship’ (in the original draft: ’We are akin, he said, distantly, very distantly, but near enough to count’).

{HOME 6 The Return of The Shadow Chptr.V1 Tom Bombadil}

Although Tolkien ultimately rejected the ‘kinship’ concept between Tom and Maggot, his earlier approaches to our ‘Farmer Friend’ are worthy of further digressional observation.

In Note 7 on theses texts CT quotes some other drafts of his father’s which throw more light on Tolkien’s initial thinking regarding the provenance of Maggot:

“Conceivably, some pencilled emendations to the typescript of the third chapter were added at this time and in this connection. Frodo Took’s words of Farmer Maggot, ’He lives in a house’ (p. 92), were thus extended: ’He is not a hobbit - not a pure hobbit anyway. He is rather large and has hair under his chin. But his family has had these fields time out of mind.And when Maggot appears (p. 94), ’a large round hobbit-face’ was changed to ’a large round hair-framed face.’ Afterwards, in the Prologue to LR, the hobbits of the Eastfarthing were described as being ’rather large and heavy-legged’: ’they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard.See p. 294. {My bold emphasis}

It is my view that Tolkien’s initial idea with regard to the kinship question was to embed Tom in LOTR by way of such association. But he also had a secondary purpose, I believe, that is tied up to his focus on ‘place’ and continuity, and antiquity.

We have already seen the somewhat archaic use of the term ‘mort’ in tallking of Tom, a literary device that , as Saranna has confirmed is used by several noted writes to denote inter alia antiquity and rusticity. Tom is both ‘antique’ and ‘rustic’ and so is Maggot in the sense that he is of the country – a farmer and:

‘his family has had these fields time out of mind.

Compare this with Tolkien’s observations to his friend C. S. Lewis that was referred to in the first thread:

Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

As geordie shows in a post in the thread Tolkien Honoured in South Africa? in the forum Tolkien the Man, Tolkien was almost obsessive about his Englishness and about the importance of place- and continuity in place of family and individuals, and the above quote certainly attests to the latter point.

’I wish I could be with you. My father’s and my mother’s family were Birmingham people. I was born far away but came home in 1895, and I have remained a Birmingham man ever since. The West Midlands are the best part of England...’ [Tolkien’s underlining].

And lest it be said that this letter needs to be seen in context [quite right; all of Tolkien’s writings need to be seen in context], there is also this: in a BBC radio interview of 1964 with Denis Guerolt, T. says:

’The Shire is very like the kind of world in which I first became aware of things, which was perhaps more poignant to me as I was’nt born here, I was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa. I was very young when I got back but at the same time it bites into your memory and imagination even if you don’t think it has...’ Note the expression ’when I got back’. As I read T’s family history as put down in Carpenter’s biography of Tolkien, T’s parents were not planning to stay in SA indefinitely [well at least Mabel was’nt too keen on the idea.

So, while not wishing to play down the importance of South Africa as Tolkien’s birthplace, I would say that Tolkien’s homeland was in fact, England.”

{http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=191129&PagePosition=1}

‘the kind of world in which I first became aware of things’

I will return to this later when I deal with why Tom had decided to live within certain self-defined boundaries, having quit his traveling, but for the purposes of this post, I want to draw attention to the way in which ‘place’ is so important to Tolkien; that Tom in Letter # 19 is defined ‘in place’ – Oxfordshire and Berkshire- not England per se ;and that Farmer Maggot’s family ‘has had these fields time out of mind’

Now read this:

In 1903 a Stone Age skeleton was discovered in Cheddar Gorge, in Somerset in England, and housed in the Natural History Museum. It was labeled ‘Cheddar Man’.

In 1996 it was sent to the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford for DNA testing, and samples its mitochrondial DNA were compared with a score of similar samples taken from volunteers among the villagers in the present-day Cheddar district. As The Times reported at the time, to the amazement of scientists a close match was found between Cheddar Man and Mr. Adrian Targett a forty –two year-old history teacher at the kings of Wessesx Community Scholl in Cheddar Village. The experiment had proved beyond reasonable doubt that a man living in late twentieth century Britain was a direct descendant through the maternal line of a person living in the same locality in the Middle Stone Age.{Quoted in The Isles Chpt. Midnight Isles –Norman Davies- Professor Davies is Professor Emeritus of London University, a Fellow of Wolfson College Oxfrod, and a Fellow of the British Academy and a world renowned scholar on the history of the UK and Europe}.

I have quoted this because it seems to me to demonstrate in practice what Tolkien as a creator of a Myth for England sensed through his study of language, the importance of place, of family, of location, of antiquity, of continuity. And it is redolent in what Tom says and does and in what Maggot represents. It combines the Tom of 1937 and 1934 with the Tom of LOTR- and although Tolkien ulitmately decided he could not go the whole nine yards of kinship between Tom and Maggot, both Tom’s draft and final relationship with Maggot emphasizes this aspect of Tolkien’s writing and belief, a belief fully endorsed in the reality of Cheddar Man and Mr Targett!

To Be Continued

 

halfir 03/Dec/2005 at 06:48 PM
Emeritus Points: 46547 Posts: 43664 Joined: 10/Mar/2002

A Digression: Tom, Farmer Maggot and Cheddar Man

‘Make Maggot not a hobbit, but some other kind of creature - not dwarf, but akin to Tom Bombadil

‘Relation of Tom Bombadil to Farmer Maggot (Maggot not a hobbit?)’

’We are kinsfolk, he and I. In a way of speaking: distantly and far back, but near enough for friendship’ (in the original draft: ’We are akin, he said, distantly, very distantly, but near enough to count’).

{HOME 6 The Return of The Shadow Chptr.V1 Tom Bombadil}

Although Tolkien ultimately rejected the ‘kinship’ concept between Tom and Maggot, his earlier approaches to our ‘Farmer Friend’ are worthy of further digressional observation.

In Note 7 on theses texts CT quotes some other drafts of his father’s which throw more light on Tolkien’s initial thinking regarding the provenance of Maggot:

“Conceivably, some pencilled emendations to the typescript of the third chapter were added at this time and in this connection. Frodo Took’s words of Farmer Maggot, ’He lives in a house’ (p. 92), were thus extended: ’He is not a hobbit - not a pure hobbit anyway. He is rather large and has hair under his chin. But his family has had these fields time out of mind.And when Maggot appears (p. 94), ’a large round hobbit-face’ was changed to ’a large round hair-framed face.’ Afterwards, in the Prologue to LR, the hobbits of the Eastfarthing were described as being ’rather large and heavy-legged’: ’they were well known to be Stoors in a large part of their blood, as indeed was shown by the down that many grew on their chins. No Harfoot or Fallohide had any trace of a beard.See p. 294. {My bold emphasis}

It is my view that Tolkien’s initial idea with regard to the kinship question was to embed Tom in LOTR by way of such association. But he also had a secondary purpose, I believe, that is tied up to his focus on ‘place’ and continuity, and antiquity.

We have already seen the somewhat archaic use of the term ‘mort’ in tallking of Tom, a literary device that , as Saranna has confirmed is used by several noted writes to denote inter alia antiquity and rusticity. Tom is both ‘antique’ and ‘rustic’ and so is Maggot in the sense that he is of the country – a farmer and:

‘his family has had these fields time out of mind.

Compare this with Tolkien’s observations to his friend C. S. Lewis that was referred to in the first thread:

Tolkien once remarked to me that the feeling about home must have been quite different in the days when a family had fed on the produce of the same few miles of country for six generations, and that perhaps this was why they saw nymphs in the fountains and dryads in the woods- they were not mistaken for there was in a sense a real (not metaphorical) connection between them and the countryside. What had been earth and air & later corn, and later still bread was in them. {ibid. my bold emphasis}

As geordie shows in a post in the thread Tolkien Honoured in South Africa? in the forum Tolkien the Man, Tolkien was almost obsessive about his Englishness and about the importance of place- and continuity in place of family and individuals, and the above quote certainly attests to the latter point.

’I wish I could be with you. My father’s and my mother’s family were Birmingham people. I was born far away but came home in 1895, and I have remained a Birmingham man ever since. The West Midlands are the best part of England...’ [Tolkien’s underlining].

And lest it be said that this letter needs to be seen in context [quite right; all of Tolkien’s writings need to be seen in context], there is also this: in a BBC radio interview of 1964 with Denis Guerolt, T. says:

’The Shire is very like the kind of world in which I first became aware of things, which was perhaps more poignant to me as I was’nt born here, I was born in Bloemfontein in South Africa. I was very young when I got back but at the same time it bites into your memory and imagination even if you don’t think it has...’ Note the expression ’when I got back’. As I read T’s family history as put down in Carpenter’s biography of Tolkien, T’s parents were not planning to stay in SA indefinitely [well at least Mabel was’nt too keen on the idea.

So, while not wishing to play down the importance of South Africa as Tolkien’s birthplace, I would say that Tolkien’s homeland was in fact, England.”

{http://www.lotrplaza.com/forum/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=49&TopicID=191129&PagePosition=1}

‘the kind of world in which I first became aware of things’

I will return to this later when I deal with why Tom had decided to live within certain self-defined boundaries, having quit his traveling, but for the purposes of this post, I want to draw attention to the way in which ‘place’ is so important to Tolkien; that Tom in Letter # 19 is defined ‘in place’ – Oxfordshire and Berkshire- not England per se ;and that Farmer Maggot’s family ‘has had these fields time out of mind’

Now read this:

In 1903 a Stone Age skeleton was discovered in Cheddar Gorge, in Somerset in England, and housed in the Natural History Museum. It was labeled ‘Cheddar Man’.

In 1996 it was sent to the Institute of Molecular Medicine in Oxford for DNA testing, and samples its mitochrondial DNA were compared with a score of similar samples taken from volunteers among the villagers in the present-day Cheddar district. As The Times reported at the time, to the amazement of scientists a close match was found between Cheddar Man and Mr. Adrian Targett a forty –two year-old history teacher at the kings of Wessesx Community Scholl in Cheddar Village. The experiment had proved beyond reasonable doubt that a man living in late twentieth century Britain was a direct descendant through the maternal line of a person living in the same locality in the Middle Stone Age.{Quoted in The Isles Chpt. Midnight Isles –Norman Davies- Professor Davies is Professor Emeritus of London University, a Fellow of Wolfson College Oxfrod, and a Fellow of the British Academy and a world renowned scholar on the history of the UK and Europe}.

I have quoted this because it seems to me to demonstrate in practice what Tolkien as a creator of a Myth for England sensed through his study of language, the importance of place, of family, of location, of antiquity, of continuity. And it is redolent in what Tom says and does and in what Maggot represents. It combines the Tom of 1937 and 1934 with the Tom of LOTR- and although Tolkien ulitmately decided he could not go the whole nine yards of kinship between Tom and Maggot, both Tom’s draft and final relationship with Maggot emphasizes this aspect of Tolkien’s writing and belief, a belief fully endorsed in the reality of Cheddar Man and Mr Targett!

To Be Continued