Note: At first I was going to replace my original "Ride of Eorl" with this poem, because it does contain the earlier song. But then I realized, with the addition of the introduction and the removal of the refrain, it became a whole different piece. So I am presenting is seperately as the Ride of the Eotheod. The beginning I wrote for a Tolkien-themed bardic contest, and I realized that it made a great opening for the original "Ride of Eorl", which I posted here a while ago, and which is still on the site. It is written from the point of view of a Rider of Rohan, in the Rohirric style: i.e, Anglo-Saxon alliterative verse. It is meant to have a very definite rhythm of four beats per line, and works better spoken or chanted aloud than read silently. The two-line ending is Anglo-Saxon; it roughly translates to: "That people shall praise their oath-friend, I shall do a heroic deed."

Disclaimer: J.R.R. Tolkien owns Rohan, Eorl, the Eotheod, the Eorlingas, the Balchoth, Cirion, and everything else Middle-Earth related I've forgotten to mention here.

The Ride of the Eotheod
--By Elwen Aiwelinde

What was the word the wind did speak?
Naming the nameless, naming the land
Long before legends, long before tales
Hands on the harpstrings in halls not yet built
Songs in the silence, soft o'er the plains.

On mere-dappled meadows, mountains surrounding
Wind-dancers walk here, wild manes flowing
Foaled on the green fields, free-hearted, bold
Swifter than swallows, swifter than streams
Ribbons of rainfall that ripple and shine.

Hearken the horncall now heard o'er the fields
Deep through the dales dance echoes of gold
Clarion calling, "Come now to me."
Who shall come hither? Who now shall answer?
Bravehearted bold ones, borne on the breeze

Who shall have the heart to bear it?
Who shall hold the hearth-brand bright
Blazing bold beneath the stormclouds?
Who shall hear and who shall be oath-sworn:
Burn the beacon-fire, bring the light?

What is the true word the wind did call them?
Name we the nameless now in our tales?
Whose is the horse, and who is the rider?
Sing, be not silent, sing of them now
All are, Eorlingas, ours is the tale!

Hard over herd-lands heavy lies darkness
Glory escaping, gathering gloom.
Sons of the Southlands scarred and war-torn
Black and bloodthirsty, the Balchoth our foe
Hearken the hoofbeats, hearken the horn.

Red stains the river risen in wrath,
Wild blows the war-wind; white horse on green:
Bold flies the banner. Brave friends and true
Have courage to answer Cirion's call--
Eoreds under Eorl's lead, the Eotheod rides.

A sword-day, a spear-day, unsheathed now our blades,
Fear takes the foe-men; they fly from the field
Defeated and driven, as day ends the night.
Grass on the green fields is grimed with their blood,
Storm passes swiftly, clouds scatter away.

Old pledges honor, oath-bound to fight,
To bear arms as brothers, battles to share:
Fealty's friendship, firm through the years.
Tales this have told us: truth did we swear.
We hearken your hardships, now hearken our horns.

Thaet ielde ath-wine wordum herge,
Ic gefremmen sceal eorlic ellen.