Bilbo's Song

lyrics source song







Fan Credits

Shore's final good-bye to fans


Bilbo's Song

Shore's final good-bye to fans

(CR-ROTK Disc Four - Track 8)



Melody by Howard Shore

Sindarin Translation by David Salo

Words by J.R.R. Tolkien

FOTR, Book 2, Chapter III,

The Ring Goes South

This beautiful and haunting piece is the last music heard on the ROTK EE DVD Fan Credits... making it the 'last' piece of ROTK movie music. It is an Elvish translation of a song from the book with the first line, "I sit beside the fire and think."


Douglas Adams stated that this music was written specifically for the ROTK Fan Credits and was never intended to be used in the film.

Yes, (Howard Shore) wrote that beautiful, beautiful theme… it’s the absolutely final variation on the Shire material and it could turn a stone-hearted cynic into a poet. I remember getting a call from London during the ROTK DVD recording sessions. They had a few questions for me regarding fan scroll music, and mentioned at the time, “Oh, Howard wrote one more song for the boys.” I was shocked, because he wasn’t in the practice of writing new pieces for the credits. “He just felt like he should.” How great is that?

Gwen Lloyd was 100% responsible for my being able to provide information on this song before any Complete Recordings release or any comment by Doug Adams. Jump HERE to read more about that.



Sung by The London Oratory School Schola.




Text in blue indicates language used

Text in green indicates lyrics used

Text in brown indicates lyrics not used

Text in black indicates English translation

Im nauthon nan naur nu ngilith
O naid i gennin im
O lyth e-barth a gwilwilith
Ne laer i vanner lim


I think by the fire under the starlight about things that I saw
About flowers of the field and butterflies in summers that went quickly


O lhiath a golas malen
Ne daint i
lais gwennin
Na chith ah anor celebren
A gwaewath or find nin


About gossamer strands and yellow leaves in autumns past
With mist and silver sun and winds upon my hair

Im nauthon nan naur vi vuil
Maven natha i ardhon
Ias tol i riw ben ethuil
Ir im

I think by the fire in shadow, how the world will be
When the winter comes without a spring that I shall not see

An nadath laew nar annan
I ulu im cennin
Vin eryn ned ethuil ban
Nar ennas laegath gwin.


For many things there are yet that I never saw
In the wood in every spring there are new green things

Im hevin nan naur a nauthon
O gwaith nedin lu iaur
A gwaith i cenitha ardhon
Ir istathon u aur.


I sit by the fire and think about people in old times
And people who will see a world that I will see on no day

Dan iar im nan naur peliel
Oh aurath ioer nauthon
Laston a thail etheliel

A lemmaid nan annon.

But when I, by the fading fire, think about ancient days
I listen for returning feet and voices at the door.

  *a fairly straightforward translation

(with some changes to allow for rhymes or near-rhymes. D. Salo)

(Tolkien's original poem can be found in the book)

From FOTR, Book 2, Chapter III, The Ring Goes South

Bilbo sings this song, mostly to himself but with Frodo present, just after he gives Frodo the mithril vest and Sting in Rivendell.

Back when official info on the soundtracks was scarce and all we had was a name, "Bilbo's Song", I could only make a guess what the lyrics might be. I thought they must be Elvish. Perhaps they were an Elvish translation of the Walking Song that Bilbo sings (in the book) as he makes his way with Frodo and Sam to the Grey Havens. Or, maybe it was an Elvish translation of the small 'song', "Bilbo's Last Song", that Tolkien wrote and gifted to his secretary, Joy Hill. This poem is owned by Ms Hill, not the Tolkien estate, which means the producers would have had to negotiate the rights for that song separately from the rest of Tolkien's text. But it all seemed a bit moot since I knew that I was incapable of translating any text into Elvish.


But I found a soundtrack friend, Gwen Lloyd, was more determined. She emailed David Salo and asked if he knew, or had an opinion of what these lyrics could be. He listened and thought that, although it was difficult to make out the sung words, it seemed to be a Sindarin translation of the song that starts, "I sit beside the fire and think of all that I have seen." He then provided a Sindarin translation (his) and a translation back into English. Gwen took a listen and emailed me immediately. She thought this was it, and I agreed. The timestamps you find HERE are basically Gwen's work with my only contribution listening closely to confirm what I could.


When it came time to create a web page for the song, I needed a title. When I hadn't known the movie name for a Tolkien piece, I would go to the song index at the back of ROTK and use the title used there. Of course, I knew the movie called it "Bilbo's Song" but I wanted to use the Tolkien name as well. I searched in index of first lines, found the page number, then went to the title index and looked for a poem entry that had that page number. I found it. The name.... Bilbo's Song.


I had never thought to look in this index to see if a song was called Bilbo's Song in the book. I'm pretty familiar with the songs themselves (I have the Swann versions) but don't often look at the names. Even if this song had been on our radar, I still couldn't have translated it. So I'm very grateful for Gwen's tenacity and Mr. Salo's generosity.