Mechtild (mechtild) wrote,

The Setting Out from Bag End, with jan-u-wine's "The Young Squire" and art by Kiprensky.


At first we thought we might post another new poem on the Baggins Birthday. Jan wrote it as her birthday mathom for Frodo. But the last section of this poem, "The Young Squire", with its image of the Road waiting for 'the touch of a lad's dream-held feet' made me think of the day after the Birthday, the day when, in S.R. 1418, Frodo's feet would be carried to places he'd never dreamed of, whether geographical places or interior places.

I asked Jan if I was astray, thinking of the poem written from the point of view of young lad-Frodo.

She replied,

I think that this is actually post-Quest Frodo remembering his young self. All the more-so would he be wistful in remembering that innocence, how he *wanted* to set out upon the road, how he felt its magical call. And all the more so would he know what that setting-out would, in the end, mean to him.

Was it a sad poem, then? No, she said, he would 'grieve not, but find strength (and beauty and many other heart-ish things) in what remains behind' (from Wordsworth's Ode 526, 'Intimations of Immortality'). Neither shall we grieve, but find strength, and beauty, and inspiration, in the life of this unforgettable and beloved character.

Thinking further on that famous line from Wordsworth's Ode, Jan wrote,

You know what else is great? I never noted before, but the name of that piece is *Intimations* of Immortality. Not, simply, "Immortality". No, "intimations"..... something that is alluded to, hinted at (striven for?), something which is hidden behind the parting of a silver curtain, and the onrush of a promised shore. What more perfect verse to use in describing Frodo, whose forever-ness is something that, within ourselves, we are sure of, though it is but hinted at.

Beautifully expressed, Jan. Frodo, "whose forever-ness is something that, within ourselves, we are sure of, though it is but hinted at", hidden. His is a character lit from within, for those with perceiving eyes. Gandalf was the first, but not the only one, to see it.


The Young Squire


I am, yet,
a lad.

A lad,
dreaming beneath

Autumn's bold Sun,

the cloud-blank,
sweated sky

taking my breath,

with gold-green crop,

corn tassels rustled
and brassed,

Spring-sewn barley

laid delicate and
lace-pale by compare.

The little streams,

mind the changing
of the year,

the push of them
on their Sea-journey

the rush of water upon

knowingly sombre.

Fire-smell tints the air,
adding its bitters

to the spice of
deep-foundered leaves

and grain,
gold and

beneath the Sun.

Voles bustle

about the field-endings,
their bristle-brown


against dry-cracked earth.


This is

And my mind

like the clouds-which-are-not,

to the plain beauty

of this homely
place and time,


for those

and the simple

of sweet grasses
within my hand,

the kindly

of the
bright farthing
of the time-Road,


for the touch
of a lad's
dream-held feet.


About the painter of the illustration, "The Young Gardener", 1817:
A leading Russian portrait painter of the Romantic era, Orest Kiprensky (1782-1836) was born in a village near St. Petersburg, an illegitimate son of a landowner.

Although born a serf, he was later helped by his father to enter the Imperial Academy of Arts in St. Petersburg when he was only six years old. He graduated from the Academy in 1803 and painted a portrait the following year of his foster father, the serf who raised him, Adam Shvabler.

The portrait of Shvabler greatly impressed his contemporaries. A group of experts from the Naples Academy of Arts believed it to be the work of a great master, a Rubens or a Van Dyck, and Kiprensky was required to produce letters from the St. Petersburg Academy testifying he was the artist.


Previous Frodo entry:

~ Happy Birthday Bagginses, 2012, with Jan-u-wine's "Beneath a Birthday Moon" and art by Antonio Mancini.

Other Links:
~ All entries featuring jan-u-wine's poems.
Tags: birthday, frodo, jan-u-wine, orest kiprensky

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