The Deciding


I stand upon a western shore, my path is shadow-dim;
The Bearer’s kin are taken by an evil band and grim.
To Minas Tirith, lady-white, ‘tis charged to me to go,
But shall I leave the little ones to drink a bitter woe?
Yet humble is their battle-might that they could serve the West,
While the city of my blood and bone is by the darkness pressed.

The one road of our Fellowship is sundered into three,
And of the Nine but two remain in company with me.
Three slender boats of Elven-make we rode upon the wave,
But one has borne a warrior unto his Rauros-grave;
We gave him to the River and our hearts were cold and numb,
And the water throbbing, throbbing like the pounding of a drum.

Upon the lake’s far eastern side, the second craft lies still,
Her oarsmen vanished in the wood that climbs the steepling hill.
And could I read the footprints there, they’d speak of halfling folk;
The Bearer found his courage to endure the heavy yoke.
But closer than a brother is a true and loving friend,
Thus faithfulness companions him, death-loyal to the end.

Tomorrow calls from Gondor’s gates beyond the hills afar,
And there my feet must turn if I would find the evening star.
But if I set my heart and sword to seeking my desire
And leave them to a fate malign, these children of the Shire,
Though of the folk of Middle-Earth the least of them they be;
No kingdom will be fair and sweet if they are lost to me.


C. Baillie / '03