Bilbo, Hurin, and King (no, not that one)

Lincoln Alpern

Active Member
Catching up on recent class recordings, I was struck by the discussion in Session 213 of the meaning behind Bilbo's farewell poem, and specifically Bilbo's Estel-infused contemplation of future springs and different greens. @JoshTheLeft invoked Hurin's famous declaration, "Day shall come again!," suggesting that like Hurin, Bilbo isn't necessarily talking about himself. Here's how Corey summed up the point:

What matters is not whether or not he [Bilbo] sees it, what matters is the world that will be, how the world will be. And he knows how the world will be, "In every wood, in every spring, there is a different green." That's how the world will be. One way or another, sooner or later, that's how the world will be.
This immediately put me in mind of the words of another figure who was called upon to do great deeds in troubled times, speaking at what turned out to be the very end of his life; someone who gazed into the future, and brought forth a message of hope, not for himself, but for posterity. From the final speech of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., delivered in Memphis, Tennessee, April 3rd, 1968 (the day before his assassination):

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.