Tolkien’s last voyage

A couple of passages, set in juxtaposition, and without comment (the reader is invited to provide his own meditation). The first is from the final chapter of The Lord of the Rings:

Then Frodo kissed Merry and Pippin, and last of all Sam, and went aboard; and the sails were drawn up, and the wind blew, and slowly the ship slipped away down the long grey firth; and the light of the glass of Galadriel that Frodo bore glimmered and was lost. And the ship went out into the High Sea and passed on into the West, until at last on a night of rain Frodo smelled a sweet fragrance on the air and heard the sound of singing that came over the water. And then it seemed to him that as in his dream in the house of Bombadil, the grey rain-curtain turned all to silver glass and was rolled back, and he beheld white shores and beyond them a far green country under a swift sunrise.

The second passage is from the last of Tolkien’s published letters, written on August 29, 1973 to his daughter Priscilla, four days before his death at the age of eighty-one: “It is stuffy, sticky, and rainy here at present–but forecasts are more favourable.”

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