The sorrows of young Maeglin

Author - Virumor

Written on - Friday 19th May 2006 (12:09am)

The sorrows of young Maeglin

We find it difficult to express the emotions with which Idril's soul was agitated during the whole of this time, whether in relation to her husband or to her unfortunate cousin; although we are enabled, by our knowledge of her character, to understand their nature.

It is certain that she had formed a determination, by every means in her power to keep Maeglin at a distance; and, if she hesitated in her decision, it was from a sincere feeling of friendly pity, knowing how much it would cost him, indeed, that he would find it almost impossible to comply with her wishes. But various causes now urged her to be firm. Her husband preserved a strict silence about the whole matter; and she never made it a subject of conversation, feeling bound to prove to him by her conduct that her sentiments agreed with his.

The same day, which was the day before Mettar’, after Maeglin had been released from Angband, he came in the evening to Idril's house, and found her alone. She was busy preparing some little gifts for her husband and son, which were to be distributed to them on Mettar’. He began talking of the delight of the children, and of that age when the sudden appearance of the Mettar’-tree, decorated with fruit and sweetmeats, and lighted up with wax candles, causes such transports of joy. "You shall have a gift too, if you behave well," said Idril, hiding her embarrassment under sweet smile. "And what do you call behaving well? What should I do, what can I do, my dear Idril?" said he. "Tomorrow," she answered, "is Mettar’. Tuor and my son are all to be here, and my father too: there is a present for each; do you come likewise, but do not come before that time." Maeglin started. "I desire you will not: it must be so," she continued. "I ask it of you as a favour, for my own peace and tranquillity. We cannot go on in this manner any longer."

He turned away his face and walked hastily up and down the room, muttering indistinctly, "We cannot go on in this manner any longer!" Idril, seeing the violent agitation into which these words had thrown him, endeavoured to divert his thoughts by different questions, but in vain. "No, Idril!" he exclaimed; "I will never see you any more!" "And why so?" she answered. "We may -- we must see each other again; only let it be with more discretion. Oh! why were you born with that excessive, that ungovernable passion for everything that is dear to you?" Then, taking his hand, she said, "I entreat of you to be more calm: your talents, your understanding, your genius, will furnish you with a thousand resources. Be a man, and conquer an unhappy attachment toward a creature who can do nothing but pity you." He bit his lips, and looked at her with a gloomy countenance. She continued to hold his hand. "Grant me but a moment's patience, Maeglin," she said. "Do you not see that you are deceiving yourself, that you are seeking your own destruction? Why must you love me, me only, who belong to another? I fear, I much fear, that it is only the impossibility of possessing me which makes your desire for me so strong."

He drew back his hand, whilst he surveyed her with a wild and angry look. "'Tis well!" he exclaimed, "'tis very well! Did not Tuor furnish you with this reflection? It is profound, a very profound remark." "A reflection that any one might easily make," she answered; "and is there not a woman in the whole city who is at liberty, and has the power to make you happy? Conquer yourself: look for such a being, and believe me when I say that you will certainly find her. I have long felt for you, and for us all: you have confined yourself too long within the limits of too narrow a circle. Conquer yourself; make an effort: a short journey will be of service to you. Seek and find an object worthy of your love; then return hither, and let us enjoy together all the happiness of the most perfect friendship."

"This speech," replied Maeglin with a cold smile, "this speech should be printed, for the benefit of all teachers. My dear Idril, allow me but a short time longer, and all will be well." "But however, Maeglin," she added, "do not come again before Mettar’." He was about to make some answer, when Tuor came in. They saluted each other coldly, and with mutual embarrassment paced up and down the room. Maeglin made some common remarks; Tuor did the same, and their conversation soon dropped. Tuor asked his wife about some household matters; and, finding that his commissions were not executed, he used some expressions which, to Maeglin's ear, savoured of extreme harshness. He wished to go, but had not power to move; and in this situation he remained till Aduial, his uneasiness and discontent continually increasing. At length the cloth was laid for supper, and he stood up to leave. Tuor invited him to remain; but Maeglin, fancying that he was merely paying a formal compliment, thanked him coldly, and left the house.

Maeglin returned to his house, took the candle from his servant, and retired to his room alone. He talked for some time with great earnestness to himself, wept aloud, walked in a state of great excitement through his chamber; till at length, without undressing, he threw himself on the bed, where he was found by his servant at Minuial, when the latter ventured to enter the room, and take off his boots. Maeglin did not prevent him, but forbade him to come in the morning till he should ring.