Two never-before-seen poems by Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien have been found at a school in the United Kingdom. From The Guardian:
Believed to have been written while Tolkien was professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford University, the poems were found in the 1936 annual of Our Lady’s School in Oxfordshire. The discovery was made when the US Tolkien scholar Wayne Hammond contacted Our Lady’s headteacher, Stephen Oliver. Hammond had found a note from Tolkien in which The Hobbit author mentioned that he had published two poems in a magazine he named as the Abingdon Chronicle.
Tolkien does not seem to have gone too far afield with the with the stories. Both are set against a backdrop most fans will find familiar:
The first poem, The Shadow Man, is an early version of a poem that Tolkien went on to publish in his 1962 collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. It tells of “a man who dwelt alone/ beneath the moon in shadow”, who “sat as long as lasting stone,/and yet he had no shadow”. When “a lady clad in grey” arrives, he wakes, and “clasped her fast, both flesh and bone;/and they were clad in shadow”.
The second, Noel, is a Christmas poem, albeit one set in scenery that would not be out of place in Middle-earth. “The hall was dark without song or light,/The fires were fallen dead,” writes Tolkien, going on to portray “the lord of snows”, whose “mantle long and pale/Upon the bitter blast was spread/And hung o’er hill and dale”.
The school is now planning to show the poems at an exhibition about its history. “Both poems are very atmospheric and imbued with an air of mystery. I was very moved when I first read them,” said Oliver.
The full piece is here.