There upon that dreadful wall,
Thangorodrim, the mountain tall,
hung Maedhros, the eldest son
of Fëanor, the Burning One.
Though day and night brought torments all
from Morgoth and his orcish thralls,
he held his tongue and spoke no word
of Noldor schemes by spear and sword.
Sauron, Necromancer cruel,
sought to use him as a tool
to bring the end of Elven days
and burn the world beneath his gaze.
Said he to Maedhros, great in pain,
"I am Morgoth's highest thane.
So tell me now and spare thy lies:
where ought I to cast mine eyes
to see the Noldor army small
and ambush them so they might fall?"
Now Maedhros turned his face away;
he would not speak, nor he betray
the Oath he took with brothers six
that they might Morgoth's vengeance fix.
But Sauron leaned close to his ear:
"O Noldo Prince, what dost thou fear?
I will reward thy willing tongue
with that for which thy heart has sung.
Freedom sweet! o blesséd word!
and thou shalt lead a might hoard."
Now Maedhros laughed, the offer spurned.
His heart was strong, and never turned.
"Foolish wraith!" he cried aloud,
"to Morgoth my kin never bowed,
and I would not fain to be the first,
though hunger strong and burns my thirst."
Sauron raised up to his lips
a glass of wine, o gleaming drips.
Despite his fury, Maedhros drank,
but pride did not let loose a thank.
"Now speak again," did Sauron say,
"a further offer, if I may,
I give to thee. A traitor's bill:
thou wouldst betray for Silmaril!"
Now bitterly did Maedhros clench
his dangling fist, and fail to wrench
it from its chain upon the cliff
for Morgoth's bonds were strong and stiff.
"O Lord of Lies," he spat upon
and spittle hissed against Sauron,
the wraith whose flesh did burn in rage
since serving Aulë in past age.
"Thou speakest false, for Morgoth's crown
claims my father's jewels, and down
from evil heights shall never come
their glimmer to my palm and thumb
lest Morgoth's power be destroyed
and Valar cast him to the Void."
"But I would wrench them loose for thee,
and let them in thine hands go free,
for I would conquer elves and then
turn and kill my Master's reign,"
quoth Sauron, dark in evil thought,
that fore and since be trusted not.
"For lo! I love the Valar still
and to their glory bends my will.
Manwë's spy I am in sooth;
I wish to aid thee, that is truth!"
But Maedhros still was slow to trust
a slave of Morgoth, he whose lust
drove Noldor from the Valar's love,
and faith he lacked in those above.
"Know not the Valar Noldor spurned,
and in harsh bitterness hath learned
they care for naught but their own rule
and watch in jest my people duel?"
Sauron's wrath was kindled then,
and seething now he spoke again:
"Valar's love thou canst deny,
but Oath of father thou must try
to now fulfill, or else thy soul
shall languish in the Void, that hole."
Sauron's scheme had struck him true,
and bitterly did Maedhros rue
the taking of the deadly Oath
that led to death and ruin both.
Long did he hang in silence there,
for price envisioned he could not bear.
To lead his folk and brothers foul,
to run afar and hear their howls?
Unthinkable! but still within
the Oath he took with all his kin
did boil fierce. No matter how
he cursed, he could not break his vow.
"O Sauron, whatever be thy plot
that lets me hang up here to rot,
I beseech thee: grant me thought!
Tomorrow morn I may, or not."
Now Sauron gleeful sped away
and told to Morgoth all the day,
and the Dark Lord's laugh did peal
for never would he keep the deal.
In great despair did Maedhros hang
foreseeing evils he would bring,
and wished he long upon that wall
some mighty rock to on him fall
and give to him a lowly death
and save his people in last breath.
But lo! through mists of darkness then
there came a song Maedhros did ken.
A lilting tune of Fingon proud,
his dearest love, beyond dark cloud.
With rising hope inside his breast
an answering call leapt from his chest.
Then Fingon's song broke off, and woe!
was Maedhros' heart, it sank so low.
"A trick of Morgoth," he did think,
"a lie to push me to the brink.
For Fingon lies beyond the Sea
with no path hither to rescue me."
And then anon the song did rise,
and with his own astonished eyes
Maedhros beheld his cousin dear
calling out a song of cheer.
But soon did Fingon turn to weep:
the cliff before him was too steep
for him to climb and save his love
who now was doomed to death above.
Now Maedhros lost all hope and cried,
"'Twere better for all if now I died!
Shoot me, Fingon, if thou still hold
love for me which thou hadst of old."
Fingon, weeping, raised his bow
and whispered prayer on ground below:
"O King to whom all birds are dear,
speed now this feather in the air.
Recall some pity for my kin
as we repent now for our sin!"
And then in sky above did rise
a mighty creature in the skies:
Thorondor, the Eagle King,
Manwë's pity in his wing,
came to Thangorodrim the tall
and lighted there upon the wall.
Fingon dropped his arrow's shaft
and climbed upon the eagle's back,
and praising Manwë kissed the cheek
of Maedhros whom he long did seek.
But evil chain that held him there
would not release, nor break, nor tear
from the hellish cliffside face
and Maedhros begged life to erase.
"I will not slay thee, whom I love,
but free thine arm from wrist above."
Thus Fingon drew a knife so keen
it cut the hand of Maedhros clean.
On eagle's back did they escape,
and wroth was Sauron as he gaped
at bloodied fist in cursing sprawl
that hangs there still upon that wall.