EXULTATION OF GOLD



He comes forth from the heart of the night as the coming of morning, light as the tossing of wind-rippled grainfields in the time of high mowing, bright as sun's rising, dancing — all of him shining like the sun on the sea, flame amid flame, light leaping through light like a sea-school at spring tide — His body is forged of the living metal, his spirit sung before the first stars, and proud in his might he has followed his liege lord to this Northern exile, to changing, to hard forging and testing, and now — in his full strength — to victory.

As a king on the day of his coronation so he returns, to the lands that rejected him, to the people that mocked him, drove him back to his exile — an army to back him and terror before him, behind him, about him. Too young in his shaping when he dared his first venture, smitten and mastered, sent hence in failure to face the scourge of his folly flung back by his maker — this day he reigns, rules them, overrides them that rode on his tail in tempest pursuing. Now he is the storm, the pursuer, their scourge—

In the heart of the flames he is dancing, rejoicing between two armies, clad in glory; none dare face him now, none dares defy him; he is the gonfalon, the sign of his followers, himself his own banner born in triumph before them. As a wind-whipped standard in the field of blue heaven so he surges through the field of living gold, darting, twisting, curvetting like a steed new brought from the stables. He laughs, and armies bow at his laughter, as rough gray-gold of dead grasses transforms into gold briefer but truer for his delighting — yet none so bright as he in his going, nothing shines forth as this lithe one, lightly leaping, fretted with fire and adorned in reflections…

Satrap he might be, but his liege lord is greater than all of these petty kings and greater in patience even than they, and now they will fall prostrate before him, in death or in long, too-long living, knowing his power and the strength of his servant. The glint of their gold-work allures him, its shining and being a call to his own heart, but far stronger the call of their fear and despair, he does not halt for the spoils, he is drunk with his own exultation and the glitter of his scales all the gold that he needs this day—

He whirls about, dashing headlong, the swiftest of his attendants can scarcely keep pace with him, the courses of firewash that heralded him hardly faster; lashing coils form sigils of destruction, a deadly script in the darkness, his hastening self as he harries his prey the rapid writing of an inescapable doom—

The blaze of his joy runs from mountain to mountain-root ranging, filling the night to overflowing, a bowlful of wine, red-gold, burning, a draught that none in this wide-open hall may refuse, the fumes of it hiding the stars. —What fear has he, Glaurung the Golden, what heed need he pay to the still stars? They are but the signs of a people now defeated, and how shall they sign his destruction? Where shall any be found that will face him? Not here — not here!

(…But the star that shall slay him is far-fallen in years as in leagues, deep-buried in thought as in stone, and the one who will wield it unthought of in Arda—)