Tolkien Gateway

The Road Goes Ever On (book)

The name The Road Goes Ever On refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see The Road Goes Ever On (disambiguation).
The Road Goes Ever On (3rd edition)
The Road Goes Ever On (2002).gif
AuthorJ.R.R. Tolkien and Donald Swann
PublisherHoughton Mifflin (US)
George Allen and Unwin (UK)
Released31 October 1967 (US)
1968 (UK)

The Road Goes Ever On contains poems by J.R.R. Tolkien, all appearing in his writings on Middle-earth, set to music by Donald Swann. The book is divided in two major sections: (1) a collection of sheet music (2) the final chapter Notes and Translations written by Tolkien. The latter consists of scripts, translations and comments on the Elvish texts for "Namárië" and "A Elbereth Gilthoniel", and is an important document in being a "glossary of Elvish terms and lore that appears nowhere else"[1]. For example, it contains one of the longest samples of the language Quenya.

The book was richly decorated by Tolkien.


[edit] Contents

Contents from the third edition.

[edit] Editions

[edit] 1st

The Road Goes Ever On (1968).gif

The Road Goes Ever On was first published on October 31, 1967 by Houghton Mifflin in the United States.

  • ISBN 0047840099 (from the 3rd impression)
  • Hardback with dustwrapper
  • Illustrated by J.R.R. Tolkien and Samuel Hanks Bryant.
  • Includes a Foreword by Donald Swann.
  • Includes music for seven poems: The Road Goes Ever On, Upon the Hearth the Fire is Red, In the Willow-meads of Tasarinan, In Western Lands, Namárië, I Sit Beside the Fire and Errantry.
  • Includes translations of Namárië and A Elbereth Gilthoniel with commentary.
  • British impressions (George Allen & Unwin):
    • 1st - 1968
    • 2nd - 1969
    • 3rd - 1972
    • 4th - 1974

[edit] 2nd

The Road Goes Ever On (1978).gif

The 2nd edition was published in 1978 by George Allen and Unwin.

[edit] 3rd

The Road Goes Ever On (2002).gif

The 3rd edition was published in 1993 by HarperCollins.

  • ISBN 0007136552
  • Hardback in dustwrapper.
  • Includes an Introduction by Leon Berger, as well as Forewords to the Second and Third editions, by Donald Swann.
  • Includes all the poems from the first and second editions, as well as Lúthien Tinúviel (first published in The Songs of Donald Swann: Volume I)
  • Includes a CD with The Road Goes Ever On song cycle performed by Donald Swann, William Elvin and Clive McCrombie.
  • Reprinted in 2002 as a hardcover by HarperCollins
  • Canadian version issued with titling and style similar to the 1st and 2nd editions.

[edit] Ballantine Books

The Road Goes Ever On was also published by Ballantine Books. A jacketless hardcover was published on 14 October 1968 (only one printing), followed by a paperback edition in August 1975.[2]


  1. Quote from the cover of the 3rd edition of The Road Goes Ever On.
  2. Douglas A. Anderson, "Ballantine's Road Goes Ever On: Bibliographers Off by a Year!" dated 31 May 2021, (accessed 2 June 2021)