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The Last Ship
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By MirachRavaia   |   Watch
Published: December 9, 2018
© 2018 - 2019 MirachRavaia

An illustration of Tolkien's poem "The Last Ship", depicting Fíriel watching the last Elven ship depart. In my interpretation, the three Elves with a crown were Celeborn, Elladan and Elrohir, and the free place on the ship that they offered her they were keeping until the very last moment for Arwen.
(watercolors)


J.R.R. Tolkien: The Last Ship

Firiel looked out at three O’clock;
the gray night was going;
far away a golden cock
clear and shrill was crowing.
The trees were dark, and the dawn pale,
waking birds were cheeping
a wind moved cool and frail
through dim leaves creeping.

She watched the gleam at window grow,
till the long light was shimmering
on land and leaf; on grass below
grey dew was glimmering
Over the floor her white feet crept,
down the stair they twinkled,
through the grass they dancing stepped
all with dew besprinkled.

Her gown had jewels upon its hem,
as she ran down to the river,
and leaned upon a willow-stem,
and watched the water quiver.
A kingfisher plunged down like a stone
in a blue flash falling,
bending reeds were softly blown,
lily-leaves were sprawling.

A sudden music to her came,
as she stood there gleaming
with free hair in the morning’s flame
on her shoulders streaming
Flutes there were, and harps were wrung,
and there was sound of singing,
like wind-voices keen and young
and far bells ringing

A ship with golden beak and oar
and timbers white came gliding;
swans went sailing on before,
her tall prow guiding
Fair folk out of Elvenland
in silver-grey were rowing,
and three with crowns she saw there stand
with bright hair flowing.

With harp in hand they sang their song
to the slow oars swinging;
Green is the land; the leaves are long,
and the birds are singing.
Many a day with dawn of gold
this earth will lighten,
many a flower will yet unfold,
ere the cornfields whiten.

Then wither go ye, boatmen fair,
down the river gliding??
To twilight and to secret lair
in the great forest hiding?
To northern isles and shores of stone
on strong swans flying,
by cold waves to dwell alone
with the white gulls crying?

‘Nay!’ they answered, “Far away
on the last road faring,
leaving western havens grey,
the seas of shadow daring,
we go to Elvenhome,
where the White Tree is growing,
and the Star shines upon the foam
on the last shore flowing.

‘To mortal fields say farewell,
Middle Earth forsaking!
In Elvenhome a clear bell
in the high tower is shaking.
Here grass fades and leaves fall,
and the sun and moon wither.
and we have heard the far call
that bids us journey thither.’

The oars were stayed. They turned aside;
‘Do you hear the call, Earth-maiden?
Firiel! Firiel!’ they cried.
‘our ship is not full-laden.
One more only we may bear.
Come! for your days are speeding
Come! Earth-maiden elven-fair,
our last call heading.’

Firiel looked from the river bank,
one step daring
then deep in clay her feet sank,
and she halted staring.
Slowly the elven ship went by
whispering through the water:
‘I cannot come!’ they heard her cry.
‘I was born Earth’s daughter!

No jewels bright her gown bore,
as she walked back from the meadow
under roof and dark door,
under the house-shadow.
She donned her smock of russet brown,
her long hair brided,
and to her work came stepping down.
Soon the sunlight faded.

Year still after year flows
down the Seven Rivers;
cloud passes, sunlight glows,
reed and willow quivers
at morn and eve, but never more
westward ships have waded
in mortal waters as before,
and there song as faded.

Image size
3869x2671px 6.43 MB
IMAGE DETAILS
Make
OLYMPUS IMAGING CORP.
Model
E-PL5
Shutter Speed
1/200 second
Aperture
F/6.3
Focal Length
16 mm
ISO Speed
800
Date Taken
Sep 30, 2018, 4:00:14 PM
Software
Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 (Windows)
Comments28
anonymous's avatar
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pinocchioo65's avatar
but why did she absolutely have to stay alone in mortal earth rather than leave with her people? frankly, what idea ?!
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Firiel was a mortal, not an elf, so they were not her people. They just called her out of sympathy, I guess.
pinocchioo65's avatar
Is that so? Ah ... Firiel sounded very Elvish in my head and since only elves are supposed to be able to go to the Immortal Lands ... well, it's a relief, to be separated from his for eternity knowing that she missed the only opportunity to join them ... it's pretty awful. Such a proposal seems strange to me when we know that normally mortals are not allowed to set foot in Aman.
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Well, Frodo, Bilbo, Sam and Gimli were all allowed, so it's not unheard of.
There are 3 possibilities about why they invited her:
1) she used to be their friend
2) she looked so much like an elf that they didn't recognize she was mortal
3) they just had one place on the ship free and didn't want it to go to waste, so they invited her even though she was mortal
pinocchioo65's avatar
Bilbo, Frodo and Sam have all been ring bearers and reached an evil that could not heal in mortal lands so it is exceptional circumstances. For Gimli, I have no explanation, there is no reason for the Lords of the West to allow him to enter Aman. Especially since the Dwarves are less close to the Valars than the other breeds except Aulë.
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Legolas smuggled him in :D I guess that's what they wanted to do with Firiel, too.
pinocchioo65's avatar
i don't think Elves can just "invite" the other races in Valinor.
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
They may try, but of course the Valar would always have the final word.
TheLongDefeat's avatar
TheLongDefeatHobbyist Traditional Artist
Beautiful! You've captured both the grey gloom of the forest and the rich golden light of morning wonderfully. :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
Chigami's avatar
ChigamiHobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow, just wow. I'm speechless, I love this! :heart:
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
BellaGBear's avatar
BellaGBearStudent Artisan Crafter
Pretty :)
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
MatejCadil's avatar
MatejCadilHobbyist Traditional Artist
Krásný obrázek! Skvělé vidět ilustraci téhle básně!
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Ďakujem!
AnotherStranger-Me's avatar
An amazing picture! Details, colours...everything is very beautiful! And yet very sad
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
Virtuella's avatar
VirtuellaHobbyist Traditional Artist
Wonderful. It is a really good Tolkien illustration, giving just the right feel of Middle-earth: not overly fantastical, but nevertheless filled with magic.
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
SaMo-art's avatar
SaMo-art Digital Artist
Beautiful done! Amazing!
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much!
ariya-sacca's avatar
ariya-saccaStudent General Artist
beautiful!
MirachRavaia's avatar
MirachRavaiaHobbyist General Artist
Thank you!
anonymous's avatar
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