The Lady Eowyn
(Inspired by The Lady of Shallot by Tennyson)
In halls of stone above the plains
Mid moaning winds and driving rains
The pallid lady still remains;
The Lady Eowyn
As to and fro the people pass,
The upturn eyes to see the lass
Who sorrowing sees, as in a glass,
The fading hope as forces mass
Against the noble Rohirrim.
Four stone walls Edoran towers
Overlook the mounds of flowers
Where her fathers lie embowered:
Heritage of Eowyn.
Only ladies passing slowly
In the halls, while speaking lowly
Hear the prayers she offers groan'ly
Not to fail a cause most holy:
The people of the Rohirrim.
And the ladies, passing sadly
By her doors, would aid her gladly;
Soothe the soul so harrowed madly,
The heart of Eowyn.
Banners, spears, and standards quiver
In the breezes, and she shivers
For the people she'd deliver
If Theoden would only give her
Leave to join the Rohirrim.
Perilous the paths they're taking
Men concerned with war in making.
Left behind, tho' heart be breaking
Desperately the battle rages;
Forces led my mystic sages
Fill the tomes of reckoning pages
With the names of death's cruel wages,
The names of noble Rohirrim.
Caged by men, to foe unfearing
The bars give way with courage nearing
In lines of steel her fair face tearing
Sharp, bright-edged Eowyn
And in her chambered cell she cries
As cousin, friend, and uncle dies
Upon the plains, and in the skies
The wraith of Mordor kingly flies
Above the mighty Rohirrim.
Up from the floor, where she had kneeled,
She casts aside what king has sealed.
As Dernhelm rides onto the field:
Beneath man's helm she wound her tress
Leather and plate donned as her dress
Firmly grasped sword she'd not repress
Nor turn aside under duress
A soldier for the Rohirrim.
A warrior's horse she fast bestrode;
Among the rest swore honor's code.
In regiment at rear she rode,
Face hidden, Eowyn.
She pressed a kindred misery:
Rejected halfling shivering,
With fortitude a-quivering
All clad in Rohan's livery
Gazing after the Rohirrim.
Taken upon her saddle-bow
Hidden away as baggage stowed
Together traveling unknown;
Went Merry and Eowyn.
They traveled onward secretly
Through rocky pass and sheltered lea
No thought to ever turn or flee
Allianced aid to Gondor's Tree
Approached the riding Rohirrim.
Within their ranks one of the realm
Rode on. When questions overwhelm'd
Spoke low to give the name Dernhelm;
They knew not 'twas Eowyn.
At field's edge their charge began
Upon green field the white horse ran
O trumpet sound! Heard through the land
Fierce joy as Gondor made its stand,
Strength lifted by the Rohirrim.
The clods they flew beneath the hooves,
With manes like clouds in skies above.
Her heart burned cold in war and love -
Leapt forward, Eowyn.
The enemy beheld their charge
And turned in vain their way to bar
Falling before them small and large -
The deadly horsemen pierced far
Approach the city, Rohirrim!
Towards her kinsman now she urged;
Guiding her steed without a word
Up from the rear to fore she surged,
Her house rejoined, Eowyn.
As Theoden was shining bright
A shadow fell from blackest heights -
'Twould quell the bravest, horror's sight
To whelm with fear, dead'ning the fight,
Black steed to white of Rohirrim.
The white steed screamed and o'er him rolled,
His sword met earth, released from hold
Beast hideous, a-crouching bold
Upon the kin of Eowyn.
They fell away in terror sheer
Beholding evil black and near
Til only one withstood the fear
A halfling squire her only peer,
Deserted by the Rohirrim.
It mocked her where she took her stand.
According to prophetic plan
Unslain by any living man,
Unafraid of Eowyn.
'Unhand my kin,' the maiden vied
'Behold, no living man am I,
You look upon a woman!' cried
Her voice, her tresses loose and wide;
Pure gold of Eorl's Rohirrim.
The smoke-dimmed sun shone on her head
And brought him unaccustomed dread,
A fear unknown to the undead,
Of Angmar facing Eowyn.
His steed beheaded by her sword
Black blood befouling fallen Lord,
His doubt and hatred briefly warred
Evil intentions to her toward,
This daughter of the Rohirrim.
Nearby the faithful halfling lay
And to his hilt his hand did stray
The Barrow blade to Gondor's fray
The Witch-King aimed at her a blow
Unmindful that behind, below
Damasked red blade wrought for his woe
In halfling's hand was moving slow
But sure to strike for Rohirrim!
Her arm was broken and her shield
Shattered, to him she would not yield
As Merry's blade caused him to reel
He fell to Eowyn!
Most fearful shriek echoing 'round.
Soul's curse unknit, the falling crown
With metal ringing struck the ground
Angmar no longer to be found
Amid astonished Rohirrim.
White lady lay as still as death
Her grieving brother felt no breath
Nor beating heart within her breast
'Alas!' cried he, 'Eowyn!'
In honor borne within the gates
Laid out beside her king in state.
As frost her visage stilled by fate,
Shocked sorrowing 'twould not abate
In grieving soldiers Rohirrim.
But though darkness was thickening
One who beheld, heart sickening
To think her dead found quickening,
The breath of life in Eowyn!
In sheltered House of Healing
Elessar-King came kneeling
With athelas appealing -
Hands sending darkness reeling,
For the aid of Rohirrim.
From darkness deadly, Breath embued
He called to her and gently wooed
Until her life slowly renewed
Returning sorrowed, Eowyn.
'Revive her hope, for I cannot.'
He left her with her loveless thoughts;
Never a Queen, she knew he taught.
Against denial daily fought -
No reigning over Rohirrim.
Whiter than lillies, cold as frost
With eyes betraying hopeless loss
Her hair streamed out as golden floss;
Faramir saw Eowyn.
Tandem to Spring her heart repined
of loneliness, no longer blind -
Captain's devotion pure, refined;
His raven with her gold entwined
The northern maid of Rohirrim.
Upon the walls in his embrace
Of sweetest draughts she had foretaste;
Spring, Summer, Harvest in her place
Beside him, Lady Eowyn.