Poetry in Prose

I am approaching the conclusion of the Lord of the Rings now and came across one of my favorite passages from the books. Dickens is justly famous for the opening and conclusion of A Tale of Two Cities, but it would be next to impossible for me to say that any other paragraph I have ever read has moved me in the way that the following does every single time I read it.

From The Return of the King Book VI, “The Field of Cormallen:”

And all the host laughed and wept, and in the midst of their merriment and tears the clear voice of the minstrel rose like silver and gold, and all men were hushed. And he sang to them, now in the elven-tongue, now in the speech of the West, until their hearts, wounded with sweet words, overflowed, and their joy was like swords, and they passed in thought out to regions where pain and delight flow together and tears are the very wine of blessedness.

The tears I shed every time I read these books (and especially this paragraph) are indeed “the very wine of blessedness.” Thank you again, Mr. Tolkien.

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