A walking song from Lord of the Rings


Please Note: these songs that I’ve transcribed are NOT my own. I am creative, but not nearly as creative as the legendary J.R.R. Tolkien. These songs belong to him, his estate, or whomever else law requires me to say they belong to.


While I’m hiking, I often think, talk, and sing to myself. I know it goes against the “you’re alone in the wild, just enjoy it” mantra that many people espouse, but I find myself bored by doing nothing. Hiking is not an uninterupted stream of amazing views and perfect scenes – instead its a monotony broke up by beauty… and your own thoughts.

I have a few specific songs that I generally sing to myself while I’m walking – primarily songs that I actually know all (most) of the lyrics to, and thus won’t get stuck in an endless loop of just singing the same verse over and over again. Recently one of my favorites has become the song from The Return of the King that Merry (or is it Pippin?) sings to the Steward of Gondor, as his son is riding to his death.

It’s good enough that it bears repeating here (and please check out the link at the end to the actual sung version of the song… its much better to hear a song, than to simply read it)

Home is behind, the world ahead.

And there are many paths to tread.

Through shadow, to the edge of night

until the stars are all alight.

Mist and shadow, Cloud and rain,

All shall fade, All shall fade.


Link to the song from the movies:



However, I recently learned that this is not the entire song, as written by Tolkien. Instead, its a few verses cut from one of the “wandering songs” written in the first book of the series (Note of interest: Lord of the Rings is NOT a trilogy. Its actually six books, often published as three volumes of two books each). Here is the full version of the song, as written by Tolkien himself (though composed by one Bilbo Baggins, according to the text):

Upon the hearth the fire is red,

Beneath the roof there is a bed;

but not yet weary are our feet,

Still round the corned we may meet

A sudden tree or standing stone

That none have seen but we alone.

Tree and flower and leaf and grass,

Let them pass! Let them pass!

Hill and water under sky,

Pass them by! Pass them by!


Still round the corner there may wait

A new road or a secret gate,

And though we pass them by today,

Tomorrow we may come this way

And take the hidden paths that run

Towards the Moon or to the Sun.

Apple, thorn, and nut and sloe,

Let them go! Let them go!

Sand and stone and pool and dell,

Fare you well! Fare you well!


Home is behind, the world ahead,

And there are many paths to tread

Though shadows to the edge of night,

Until the stars are all alight.

Then world behind and home ahead,

We’ll wander back to home and bed.

Mist and twilight, cloud and shade,

Away shall fade! Away shall fade!

Fire and lamp, and meat and Bread,

And then to Bed! And then to Bed!

Leave a Reply