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'Flower of Trees': An Ostara Song by J. R. R. Tolkien (Well, Kind Of)

Well, you gotta love word geekery.

As a college student learning Gothic, the now-extinct language that is the oldest Germanic language for which we have any substantial documentation, the teen-aged J. R. R. Tolkien—himself an good Hwiccan lad—was not content simply to learn the language.

Of course not. Tolkien being Tolkien, he composed poetry in Gothic as well, using (of course) the old Germanic four-beat alliterative line.

Bagmê Blôma, “flower of trees” (this would be “Beams' Bloom” if we were translating into English cognates) is Tolkien's hymn to the “mistress of the mountain,” Lady Birch, the very arboreal embodiment of Spring.

Scroll forward some years. Linguist and Tolkienist Eric Kinsepp translates Tolkien's Gothic into Modern English, thus giving us words singable to a tune by 20th century English composer George Mantle Childe.

And lo: the witches sing this song at Ostara to this very day.

Sometimes even in Gothic.

Flower of Trees

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