The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun
J.R.R. Tolkien
edited by
Verlyn Flieger

J. R. R. Tolkien

Verlyn Flieger
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The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun
by J.R.R. Tolkien

Introductions, Notes, and Commentary
by Verlyn Flieger



index pages:

This book, The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun, combines draft works by Tolkien and explanatory contributions by the editor, Verlyn Flieger, as well as an additional note (not represented here) by Christopher Tolkien.

Tolkien’s drafts include

Flieger has furnished introductory material, notes, and commentary, including discussion of developmental stages of Tolkien’s Lay as traced through the documents.

The Lay of Aotrou & Itroun

Copyright © The Tolkien Trust 1945, 2016

ll. 77-90 He thanked her, trembling, offering gold
to withered fingers shrunk and old.
The thanks she took not, nor the fee,
but laughing croaked: ’Nay, we shall see!
Let thanks abide till thanks be earned!
Such potions oft, men say, have burned
the heart and brain, or else are nought,
only cold water dearly bought.
Such lies you shall not tell of me;
Till it is earned I’ll have no fee.
But we shall meet again one day,
and rich reward then you shall pay,
what e’er I ask: it may be gold,
it may be other wealth you hold.’
ll. 147-155 ‘I drink to thee for health and bliss,
fair love,’
he said, ‘and with this kiss
the pledge I pass. Come, drink it deep!
The wine is sweet, the cup is steep!’

The wine was red, the cup was grey;
but blended there a potion lay
as pale as water thin and frore
in hollow pools of caverns hoar.
She drank it, laughing with her eyes.
ll. 499-506 Sad is the note and sad the lay,
but mirth we meet not every day.
God keep us all in hope and prayer
from evil rede and from despair,
by waters blest of Christendom
to dwell, until at last we come
to joy of Heaven where is queen
the maiden Mary pure and clean.

text checked (see note) Jul 2023

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Introductions, Notes, and Commentary

Copyright © Verlyn Flieger 2016

Part Two: The Corrigan Poems

Where in the long Lay Tolkien interchangeably uses the terms witch, fay, and corrigan, here in these shorter poems he uses only the Breton word. Corrigan, or korrigan, is the feminine diminutive of Breton corr or korr, ‘dwarf’, and seems to derive from the notion that these beings have dwindled from their original stature.

‘The Corrigan’ I

The Breton term bugel, is cognate with Welsh bwg or bwgwl, ‘terrifying’, as in bygel (or bugail) nos, ‘goblin of the night’, and appears also in the Breton compound bugelnoz, glossed by Mackillop as ‘night imp, goblin’.

Part Three: The Fragment, Manuscript Drafts and Typescript
Commentary No work of Tolkien’s says more about his concept of the dark side of faërie, his belief in the very real peril of the perilous realm, and his awareness of its pitfalls for the unwary and its dungeons for the overbold.
Part Four: Comparative Verses
Comparative Verses

On several occasions in his essays and letters Tolkien asserted his deep conviction that language and myth are inseparable one from the other; each being the outgrowth of the other; each dependent on the other for its essential meaning. The paired notions that a world created by the language that describes it generates the language of the world it describes led him directly from his study of real-world myths in their proper languages (including Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, Finnish and Breton) to his invented world and the languages he developed for its peoples’ expression.

text checked (see note) Jul 2023

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