The Black Gate


A circling crowded host is spread upon the vast and martial plain:
The legions of the Enemy draw nigh,
Drunk with the honeyed gall of hate and nourished to a heart profane,
Enslaved to Night by Mordor’s will beneath the Window of the Eye.

If out from deep Abyss could storm be poured from vintage stores of rage,
New roil of death from ancient evil flow,
Spill Nothing down upon the world, make null this frail and mortal Age,
Begrudging e’en the breath a man might in his dying moment know:

Such End as that is what the Night would bring, if none but we remained
Beneath this wing-belabored, cloud-wracked sky.
If swords of men, though bright and keen, were left to us our only friend,
The walls of hearth and home behind would soon forever broken lie.

But out of Time and Time beyond the measured riddle of our days,
Tomorrow and Tomorrow’s long-ago,
The sternness and the tenderness of Love’s sweet-temp’ring, gentle grace
In secret binds the prison chains upon the Once and Never Foe.

The ramparts of that Shadow, black and cold, will ne’er again be found;
The stones will shiver, each his ending flee.
The earth herself her mouth will open wide, e’en as they tumble down
Into a ruin great as that which brought the bending of the Sea.

Though high against the hidden stars stand yet the towers of the Night,
And lean with hateful gaze unto the West,
Swift-shattered, they shall vanish in the turning of the world to Light,
And in their fall the earth will as the gardens of the Shire be blessed.

Cry sad lament for Innocence, for Love who walked the shrouded Road,
Left bright of sun and pale of moon behind.
For grief exchanged he cheer and mirth, embraced the bitter doom forbode;
Yet in his sorrow shall the world a fount of summer gladness find.

And those of hearts wherein the beauteous hymn of trembling starlight dwells
Will see the Night bereft of hate’s desire,
For by that promise silver-clear like sweetly ringing Elven-bells
~ Each step endured by Love ~
The Ring draws ever nearer to the Fire.


C. Baillie / '04

Christianity and Middle Earth