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Roll-Roll-Roll-Roll is a poem found within the chapter "Barrels Out of Bond" of The Hobbit.

[edit] History

After Bilbo Baggins had freed the Dwarves from their cells in the dungeons of the Elvenking, he had packed them in barrels awaiting shipment to the vineyards of Men. Part of shipping the barrels involved dropping them through a trapdoor into an underground stream, which carried them out of the caves and out to the Forest River on their way to Lake-town. A party of Elves came to roll the barrels to the trapdoor and as they worked they sang this song:[1]

[edit] Subject

The text of the song describes the journey the barrels will make as they return to Dorwinion, the "lands you once did know", the origin of the wine that was in the barrels. The journey described tells of the dark stream that takes the barrels out of the caverns, through the great forest, into the marshes before the Long Lake, and away to the south. Eventually the barrels will reach lands with pastures with oxen and hills with gardens, which appear to describe Dorwinion.[1]

[edit] Text

roll—roll—rolling down the hole!
Heave ho! Splash plump!
Down they go, down they bump!

Down the swift dark stream you go
Back to lands you once did know!
Leave the halls and caverns deep,
Leave the northern mountains steep,
Where the forest wide and dim
Stoops in shadow grey and grim!
Float beyond the world of trees
Out into the whispering breeze,
Past the rushes, past the reeds,
Past the marsh's waving weeds,
Through the mist that riseth white
Up from mere and pool at night!
Follow, follow stars that leap
Up the heavens cold and steep;
Turn when dawn comes over the land,
Over rapid, over sand,
South away! and South away!
Seek the sunlight and the day,
Back to pasture, back to mead,
Where the kine and oxen feed!
Back to gardens on the hills
Where the berry swells and fills
Under sunlight, under day!
South away! and South away!
Down the swift dark stream you go
Back to lands you once did know!

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

1989: Hobit (1989 Slovak radio series):

One of a small handful of songs adapted from the original novel is Roll-Roll-Roll-Roll. It is sung by the elven guards of the Woodland Realm while they are working their chores with the delivery barrels intended for a return journey to Lake-town.

[edit] See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, "Barrels Out of Bond"