- Jul 23, 2016
Don't forget the two or three poems released in Tolkien's lifetime--"The Dragon's Visit" and "Once Upon a Time," and "Bilbo's Last Song (at the Grey Havens)"--the last of them all, I think.
There's some uncertainty about "Bilbo's Last Song" in my mind. This
Bilbo's Last Song
cites a 1974 poster illustrated by Pauline Baynes. But that wasn't the first issue of the poem as a poster. I'm quite sure it was first released as text superimposed on a murky orange sunset photo or something of the sort. That version might have been released after Tolkien's death, too, but I'm not sure it wasn't released while he was alive.
The other two poems were first published in a British book, and then appeared in an American paperback, in one of the inaugural releases of the Ballantine Adult Fantasy series, The Young Magicians, Oct. 1969. "Dragon's Visit" is not a Middle-earth poem, but "Once Upon a Time" seems to be a "Bombadil" poem that introduces the mysterious lintips--probably to be taken as hobbit inventions.
Thanks again for your suggestions.
I've had The Young Magicians for many years. Lin Carter! His Tolkien: A Look Behind the Lord of the Rings is still one of my favorite Tolkien reads, superseded though it is in many ways. Like you, it set me off on a quest to read most (if not all) the earlier works in a vein similar to Tolkien's that Carter discusses. Among my favorites to this day are The Well at the World's End (William Morris) and The Worm Ouroboros (E.R. Eddison). In fact, I just re-read The Well last month. I still remember the enchantment I felt just from the titles of Dunsany's tales: "The Sword Unvanquishable Save For Sacnoth"; "The Hoard of the Gibbelins," and the others set "beyond the fields we know".
As for "Bilbo's Last Song", I always used to think it came from The Adventures of Tom Bombadil. Oops! It's a lovely poem though.
By the way, I appreciate the effort you've made documenting the history of Tolkien fandom. It's giving me a lot to work with.