Tolkien’s New Christmas Carol!

It was announced yesterday that a “new” Tolkien poem had been discovered – or rather, a Tolkien poem published in 1936 in the Annual for Our Lady’s School in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, England. (Tolkien actually published two poems in the Annual, but one of them was “The Shadow Man,” a shorter version of his poem “The Shadow Bride,” which already appears in the Tom Bombadil poem collection.)

The new poem is simply named “Noel.” It seems to be a Christmas carol.

A Tolkien scholar saw a note about the poems in Tolkien’s papers, tracked down the vague reference to the school, and attempted to get copies of the magazine. The school principal (a Tolkien fan, luckily) looked diligently but without success. However, they ended up finding the old magazines while looking for something else, and sure enough, there was “Professor J.R.R. Tolkien” listed in the Table of Contents for the 1936 one!

The two poems briefly appeared on the Our Lady’s Abingdon website (as is the school’s right, as publisher of the magazine!), but have now been taken down again. (One suspects there is a deal in the works for some cash for the school.)

However, Tolkien fandom saved copies first! So check it out!



You can see a bit of Chesterton influence, I think, but it’s still all Tolkien.

The remarkable thing here is that, rather than all of Earth listening to the angels singing, all of Heaven is listening to Mary’s lullaby. Meanwhile, rather than just the bells of Earth ringing in praise, the bells of Heaven are leading this praise.

(Insert psalm reference to “they have no tongues” and compare to bells, and to stars of a non-angelic kind since Biblical “star” references are often talking about angels.)

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