Elvish poetry occupies a special place in Tolkien’s Legendarium. It is always instantly recognisable and different from the verse of other peoples in Middle-earth. Varied in style and tone, focus and subject matter, Elvish songs and poems always give a lot of food for thought. Their poems in The Lord of the Rings present a story of their own.
In my essay dedicated to poetry in Tolkien’s books I have spoken about the importance of verse in Arda. Spanning a significant period in the Third Age, The Hobbit is no exception, and its many poems and songs scattered all over the book are very representative of the peoples who sing them. In the present essay I will look into the Elvish poetry in The Hobbit and see what it tells us about the fair folk.
In the Third Age there remained only a few Elvish realms around Middle-earth. They were the places of uttermost beauty and peace as well as among the safest places in the land. In The Lord of the Rings we see Frodo and the company stay a while at Rivendell and Lothlórien – the realms that, among many gifts, brought them spiritual and physical rest, peace of mind and comfort if only for a while.
Glorfindel was tall and straight; his hair was of shining gold, his face fair and young and fearless and full of joy; his eyes were bright and keen, and his voice like music; on his brow sat wisdom, and in his hand was strength.
(Fellowship of the Ring, p. 297)