Tolkien: Tom Bombadil’s Song

Hey dol! Merry dol!

“Tom Bombadil’s Song”

Hey dol! merry dol! ring a dong dillo!
Ring a dong! hop along! fal lal the willow!
Tom Bom, jolly Tom, Tom Bombadillo!

Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! My darling!
Light goes the weather-wind and the feathered starling.
Down along under Hill, shining in the sunlight,
Waiting on the doorstep for the cold starlight,
There my pretty lady is, River-woman’s daughter,
Slender as the willow-wand, clearer than the water.
Old Tom Bombadil water-lilies bringing
Comes hopping home again. Can you hear him singing?
Hey! Come merry dol! derry dol! and merry-o,
Goldberry, Goldberry, merry yellow berry-o!
Poor old 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?

Hop along, my little friends, up the Withywindle!
Tom’s going on ahead candles for to kindle.
Down west sinks the Sun: soon you will be groping.
When the night-shadows fall, then the door will open,
Out of the window-panes light will twinkle yellow.
Fear no alder black! Heed no hoary willow!
Fear neither root nor bough! Tom goes on before you.
Hey now! merry dol! We’ll be waiting for you!

Hey! Come derry dol! Hop along, my hearties!
Hobbits! Ponies all! We are fond of parties.
Now let the fun begin! Let us sing together!

Now let the song begin! Let us sing together
Of sun, stars, moon and mist, rain and cloudy weather,
Light on the budding leaf, dew on the feather,
Wind on the open hill, bells on the heather,
Reeds by the shady pool, lilies on the water:
Old Tom Bombadil and the River-daughter!

O slender as a willow-wand! O clearer than clear water!
O reed by the living pool! Fair River-daughter!
O spring-time and summer-time, and spring again after!
O wind on the waterfall, and the leaves’ laughter!

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow;
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.

I had an errand there: gathering water lilies,
green leaves and lilies white to please my pretty lady,
the last ere the year’s end to keep them from the winter,
to flower by her pretty feet till the snows are melted.
Each year at summer’s end I go to find them for her,
in a wide pool, deep and clear, far down Withywindle;
there they open first in spring and there they linger latest.
By that pool long ago I found the River-daughter,
fair young Goldberry sitting in the rushes.
Sweet was her singing then, and her heart was beating!

And that proved well for you – for now I shall no longer
go down deep again along the forest-water,
not while the year is old. Nor shall I be passing
Old Man Willow’s house this side of spring-time,
not till the merry spring, when the River-daughter
dances down the withy-path to bathe in the water.

Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo!
By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow,
By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us!
Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!

Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow,
Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow.
None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master:
His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight!
Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing,
Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains!
Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty!
Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness,
Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.

Wake now my merry lads! Wake and hear me calling!
Warm now be heart and limb! The cold stone is fallen;
Dark door is standing wide; dead hand is broken.
Night under Night is flown, and the Gate is open!

Hey! now! Come hoy now! Whither do you wander?
Up, down, near or far, here, there or yonder?
Sharp-ears, Wise-nose, Swish-tail and Bumpkin,
White-socks my little lad, and old Fatty Lumpkin!

Tom’s country ends here: he will not pass the borders.
Tom has his house to mind, and Goldberry is waiting!

6 thoughts on “Tolkien: Tom Bombadil’s Song

  1. Thank you. There can never be enough Tolkien in the world! Tom Bombadil, Goldberry and Treebeard were our companions in Eden.

    • Thank you for your comment! As far as I am concerned, and surely there are more than a few who would agree with me, Tolkien was one of, if not the most important writer of the first half of the 20th Century. He sought only to re-enchant the Christian imagination through no other means than telling a story about good and evil.

      • Re-enchantment is what the world sorely needs. I am reading Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age and trying to understand how we lost the reality of enchantment. At the same time I am listening to the Audible edition of Lord of the Rings. As you say, Tolkien provides the antidote to a materialistic, utilitarian world. Long live Frodo and God bless us one and all!

      • Chesterton and Lewis would both agree, re-enchantment is sorely needed. Your mention of Taylor’s A Secular Age is the most recent in close to a dozen references in recent weeks. I think that means I need to add it to my ever growing reading list. Speaking of re-enchantment, if you have not yet read Chesterton’s Orthodoxy and Everlasting Man, you should. As well, C.S. Lewis wrote a short essay titled, Myth Became Fact, which suggests that Christianity is a true myth – the very same line of reasoning that Tolkien used to bring Lewis aboard. As the faith becomes more ensconced in the material world, it loses its imagination and with it, a vital faculty of knowing and growing in the Lord.

  2. I didn’t really appreciate the need for re-enchantment until I finished Chesterton’s “The Everlasting Man”. The whole pagan/pre-Christ arc is a longing of humanity expressed through wonder and joy like the song here. Even though that arc has been fulfilled in a historical sense, that need is never fulfilled in us.

    For children as well, check out Lloyd Alexander’s “The Book of Three” series. It’s fantasy like LoTR, but a little softer I think. I loved reading those books growing up.

    Great site so far, keep it up.

    • Thanks for the comment. The more I dig into these men I have for so long admired from afar – Chesterton, for example – the more I am drawn up into the notion of re-enchantment, which so far to me seems to suggest (perhaps I am projecting) that life was never meant to be so bland and materialistic. I cannot read a page of Chesterton, or an essay of Lewis’ without thinking of several new essay ideas for the site. It is our hope at Further In to build a site that is dedicated to this ideal of re-enchantment, even if we sometimes have to address the unfortunate matters of the world in the process. Keep coming back. We update regularly!

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