The Ranger and the Forester


Being a Record in Verse of a Meeting between Aragorn and Tom Bombadil which Took Place in the late Third Age of Middle Earth

Along the Withywindle's banks,
Through the reeds and flowers,​
While the sunlight softly sifted
Into leafy bowers,​
The ranger and the forester
Walked and talked for hours.​

The ranger spoke of ancient kings
Who claimed the gods had lied;​
Of mortal and immortal folk
Who lived and fought and died​
In hopeless wars in drowned lands,
Destroyed by lust and pride.​

A burden he bore in his blood,
Passed down from days of yore,​
To rule the lands, if rule he could
Win back for Men once more,​
And be a better king than those
Who lived and died before.​

The forester, he sang of days
Of dancing high and low​
As a new sun with each new dawn
Set the whole world aglow​
And under trees and under sky
New life began to grow.​

Then new lives crowded after new,
All things changing faster,​
And Bombadil was greeting them
With delighted laughter,​
But all the lives were all their own
Though old Tom was Master.​

"O, merry is Tom Bombadil!"
The ranger smiled and said,​
"More so than any Man of old
With crown upon his head.​
Let us trade lands, and you be king,
And I Master instead!"​

"Nay, nay," laughed Tom, "although the gift
Is such a kingly one!​
Old Tom's not fit to sit on thrones
And say what's to be done;​
He has no care for rules or realms
Or if great wars are won.​

Tom bears no burdens but his own
And his reward you see -​
A place to sing his merry songs
And to love Goldberry.​
But your reward, ah, who can tell?
It is high mystery."​

Along the Withywindle's banks
As waning daylight fled​
And all the evening stars commenced
To dancing overhead,​
The ranger and the forester
Wandered back home to bed.​

Thanks to J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, all you crazy Discord folks and, especially, SignumU!