Henneth Annun Reseach Center

Things of Middle-earth

Tall ships and tall kings

Type: Songs & Stories

Other Names:
Rhyme of Lore
Rhyme of the Seven Stars and Seven Stones


An ancient rhyme referring to the escape from the DownFall of Númenor; the last remaining memory of the palantíri among the common folk:
Pippin... heard Gandalf singing softly to himself, murmuring brief snatches of rhyme in many tongues, as the miles ran under them. At last the wizard passed into a song of which the hobbit caught the words: a few lines came clear to his ears through the rushing of the wind:
Tall ships and tall kings
Three times three,
What brought they from the foundered land
Over the flowing sea?
Seven stars1 and seven stones
And one white tree.
'What are you saying, Gandalf?' asked Pippin.

'I was just running over some of the Rhymes of Lore in my mind,' answered the wizard. 'Hobbits, I suppose, have forgotten them, even those that they ever knew.'

'No, not all,' said Pippin. 'And we have many of our own, which wouldn't interest you, perhaps. But I have never heard this one. What is it about — the seven stars and seven stones?'

'About the palantíri of the Kings of Old,' said Gandalf.

The Two Towers, LoTR Book 3, Ch 11, The Palantír

Gondor after the Kings declined into a "Middle Age" of fading knowledge, and simpler skills. Communications depended on messengers and errand-riders, or in times of urgency upon beacons, and if the Stones of Anor and Orthanc were still guarded as treasures out of the past, known to exist only by a few, the Seven Stones of old were by the people generally forgotten, and the rhymes of lore that spoke of them were if remembered no longer understood; their operations were transformed in legend into the Elvish powers of the ancient kings with their piercing eyes, and the swift birdlike spirits that attended on them, bringing them news or bearing their messages.

Unfinished Tales, Part 4, Ch 3, The Palantíri

1   Star, as emblem:... Seven stars of Elendil and his captains... originally represented the single stars on the banners of each of seven ships (of 9) that bore a palantír... in Gondor the seven stars were set about a white-flowered tree, over which the Kings set a winged crown... had five [rays]....

The Return of the King, LoTR, Index

Contributors: Elena Tiriel 28Jul04, 14Mar08

Related Library Entries

Things Search


Full Text Search

Character Bios

No related characters

Go to Character Bios


No related places

Go to Places