The Shire Awakes

© 2007 Jeff Lynch (Revised & expanded)
Translated by Jeff Lynch from the Common Speech* & dedicated to Angus Tex Nunns Lynch

Overhill, Oatbarton, Oakbottom, Tuckborough too.
Hobbiton, Woodyend, Whitfurrows, Dwaling too.
Bywater, Bucklebury, Stock and Scary too,
Little Delving, Budge Ford, Long Cleeve too.
Nobottle, Hardbottle, Willowbottom and Rushey too.

Homeland of the Halflings, called the Hobbits.
Divided as Four Farthings, East of the Far Downs.
West of the Border Waters, the Branda-nin.
This heady ale –brown stream of The Brandywine.
Angeleb of Artledain, staunch king of the Dunedain
Decreed these lands the heartlands of the Hobbits.

The Oldbrooks forged the way at the wide Sarn Ford.
They built Buckland fast by this brandied brew.
In the Fourth Age they furrowed the fertile lands.
The Shire slowspread and Hobbit holes slept
By waters, which murmured past Sandyman’s Mill.
They arched a bridge and its name was Stonebow.

Gently sloped the land from west to east,
Gentle too then were these Hobbit-folk of habit.
Bestbottom* leaf they loved but with much beer,
And gossip and cricket were bantered in bars,
As they tossed haircurling tales of outlands at Bree,
Where hardrangers roamed the uncivilised lands.

They never pottered in boats and didn’t own books
They were not deep, or silly or even superstitious.
They were down to earth, as a matter of fact,
Yes ten feet below, and much all the warmer
They were and village bound and circumscribed.
Walking from holes to work, to inn and back again.

Pincup, Needlehole, Newbury, Michael Delving too,
Frogmorton, Whitwell, Bywater and Bindbale Wood
Stockbrook, Buckhill, and nearly Crickhollow.
Waymeet, Longbottom and Woodhall as well.
Brackenborings, Needlehole, Willowbottom too.

The manikin kind they named, but with no sense.
Being as Tanta, Bungo, Polo or much similarwise.
Maids they sweet named after jewels or flowers,
Mimosa, Angelica, Adeldrida, Belladonna or Ruby.
From Tuk came Took, from Bohphin Boffin.
Bucklander’s names awful queer; peculiarly Celtic.

Of Travellers and Tooks they were suspicious,
They never owned knapsacks, any cases or packs.
They forgot to worry in their sleepy green lot.
Pipeweed clouds in The Bush and The Dragon
Were like mists that muffled the nefarious news
That staggered down the road from Bree.

The Gaffer spoke in The Ivy Bush bar, pipemouthed
Stood by shire famous painting The Gaffer's Ton.
He allowed our Sam, in a world got much madder,
Was bound for Bucklebury or somesuch place.
At The Dragon they gassed of the Greenways rangers,
And giants too and guessed that Tooks were involved.

That pale September the name of handy Sam Gamgee
Was scratched from the list of Hobbiton first eleven.
Pinned overmantel at The Bush; that was that, official.
Stood Jolly Cotton in the doughty spinner's place.
Gamgee half-aimed towards a bigger game, wondering
If the Greenway was like all getup as the Hobbits say.

The Floating Log of Frogmorton was passing puzzled
The Golden Perch patrons at Stock were mummed.
Fearhardened were Hobbits of civilization’s edge.
Where no one returned to The Forsaken Inn and grim
Tales were told of where the Greenway struck.
But Frodo was long gone with Samwise to the shadows.

Shire fell wary, to a twelve month silence, unsure
Of Eastern passes or of Saruman’s Blast and canker.
On Bilbo’s Birthday one hundred and twenty nine,
Civil contacts were rucked as Saruman, Hobbit masked,
Came to The Shire with rotriot, rust and Shirrif evil!
And handshakes came harder as road fires burned.

Sharkey shut up pubs and lock holed rankling Hobbits.
And Pimple Lotho said 'Oh say, Obey me I am Chief'.
Hobbiton railed while leaderless met in cupboard,*
At The Bush, with smouldered wrath, they ached to act.
Loathing Lotho was easy, but to see the real enemy was
Hard to do; they waited, watching barricaded bridges.

Unexpected, was the walkers return to the Baranduin.
Grimfaced from the east they were, as Ferny now had
Warned them; The Shire smoking, awoke from sleep.
Farmer Tom Cotton, the bold South Lane Bywater man,
Fazed not by the tunnels, nor Pimple nor nowt.
Smiled on Sam and Young Tom, Jolly and Nick stood to.

Shire’s up, but Rosie was short, 'You haven’t hurried',
Says she; setting a sun on Gamgee’s fondly dial.
He’s off Shire raising and when Holbyta holebuilders
Are mad as Tooks, are as Marmadoc the Masterful,
Gormadoc Deepdelver or Bandobras Bullroarer; riders
Fighters, lovers, those Lords of lost lands and found.

Blood pumping a short metre up and down; gnashing
At the Black Speech, gnawboning Bilbo’s revenge.
Fire, Foes! Awake! the air crackles with the old line
Of Ferumbras the Second; wake wake mad Tooks aware
Blood of Bingo, Largo, Fosco, Belba and Fastolph Bolger.
For end is beginning the beginning now near.

Overhill, Oatbarton, Oakbottom, Tuckborough too,
Hobbiton, Woodyend, Witfurrows, Rushock Bog,
Bywater, Bucklebury, Stock and Rushey too,
Little Delving, Budge Ford, and Stock Ford too,
Nobottle, Hardbottle, Willowbottom, Long Cleve too.

Grim faced Hobbits and, they bore their arms.
They pierced the sootfog to search for Saruman.
Fightfires led to The Tree of The Farewell Speech,
Where Bilbo had gathered one gross of guests,
At a gross of ages, on purpose for a purpose.
Lophacked and black it lay and laid low Sam in tears.

Like Helmed Danes came the Halflings down Bagshot.
Quietly they pushed the scarmarked Bag End door.
Like this door, full circle had the Halflings come,
Starting with a flash, and ending with a worms turn.
So was Saruman at last consigned to worms,
And the Shire returned once more to a map unknown.

The Battle of Bywater was an echo of the Orc’s raids
Of bent memory’s tales, fast fought and fierce finished.
The Susa* saved, for sleep again, and marriage for some,
For Cotman’s great grandaughter found absence much
The fonder and Rosie Gammidgy became her name.
A Mayoress to be she was in this sane and Sleepy Shire.

So went on the Longfather-Tree of Gammidgy,
Or any way you will; other folks made farther journeys,
Tideslipping to eternity; but Bywater’s Cricket Eleven
Was chosen once more, the team pinned up in the pub.
And mere cloudy beer was drama in The Bush again.
In 1420 The Overlithe* was harvestfull and days all fair

Tale’s end is afoot, as great times slipped to small.
As Friday the First* never came to this tiny green Shire
This Calendar day did not exist, save in Hobbit fun .
But if memory lives in man, The Shire will ever be.
For dreams of men are not of our memory made,
But loaned free, to pass on again, and so the road goes on
and on and on.

The End

    • Cupboard, Snug bar in a Hotel (That is to say a small servery).
    • Friday the First - Things said to be done (or ought to be done) this day were slated never to be, for no such day existed on the Hobbit’s calendar (as in our Pigs might fly).
    • The Overlithe was a harvest festival. The year 1420 (at the end of the grand adventure of The Wars of The Rings). It was afterwards reckoned the most bounteous year in the history of the Shire. Even a good beer poured, became known by the punter as a 1420 un!
    • Susa, an orc name for The Shire.
    • The Orc raids on the Shire were brief and many years before the Great Years of our tale.
    • Bestbottom. Most readers of Lord of The Rings will be aware of the Hobbit's love of pipeweed (tobacco). Bestbottom was their favourite type of pipeweed. The best pipeweed came from Southfarthing (Tolkien smoked a pipe for much of his life).
    • The gross of ages is achieved by adding Bilbo and Frodo's ages together.

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