STUART D. LEE owards the end of his Valedictory Address, presented on the 5th June 1959, Professor Tolkien chose, by way of conclusion, to read the famous ubi sunt lines from the Old English poem The Wanderer: If then with understanding I contemplate this venerable foundation, I now myself frd in ferðe am moved to exclaim: Hwr cwóm mearh, hwær cwóm mago? Hwr cwóm máþþumgyfa? Hwr cwóm symbla gesetu? Hwr sindon seledréamas? Éalá, beorht bune! Éalá, byrnwiga! Éalá, þéodnes þrym! Hú seo þrág gewát, genáp under niht-helm, swá heo nó wre! Where is the horse gone, where the young rider? Where now the giver of gifts? Where are the seats at the feasting gone? Where are the merry sounds in the hall? Alas, the bright goblet! Alas, the knight and his hauberk! Alas, the glory of the king! How that hour has departed, dark under the shadow of night, as had it never been! (MC, 239) Douglas Gray, who was present at the lecture recalls: . . . there was a stillness in the room as if the Green Knight himself had come in. He really understood, as few medievalists do, the importance of "performance" for medieval literature.
Tolkien Studies – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jun 14, 2009
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