After the Gate

- Primula
Gimli knelt on the stained hillock
As his graceful companion stood near;
He held in his arms the one whose sweet charms
Had so often in darkness brought cheer.
Crushed in the heat of the battle,
Lost in the smoke and the crowd,
They knew though he was but a halfling,
His courage would shame all the proud.

The westering sun shone upon them;
Dark blood shone out reddened as new,
And despair filled their hearts at the thought that
They but carried to bury him soon.
As they turned in their grieving to take him
To the place where the dead lay in rows,
What hope rose anew as he gave a small cough,
At that sound, what rejoicing arose!

After the Gate such a silence
In those who yet stood on their feet;
The wounded who hung in the balance,
Would the dead or the living they meet?


The Dwarf, he yet held him so tender,
But with gentleness replacing grief,
Gruffly said, 'one so small to have slain a troll
Is a song-worthy hero indeed.'
The Elf paused and pulled from the carcass
A small blade; an unlikely bane
That had brought down that mountainous monster
And made for the Shire a name.

They carried him down to the healers,
Not treading the path to the grave;
And into the list of the names of the great,
Not the list of the dead he was named.
And the Dwarf, whose heart had been despairing,
But who never was known to cry,
Found his sharp sight that had saved the halfling
Wav'ring as a rare tear filled his eye.

After the Gate such a trembling,
Such a warring of fear and relief,
Weariness mixed with rejoicing,
A victory gained amid grief.