Much that once was, is lost…
…for none now live who remember it…
Aragorn: "Frodo… the Argonath!"
"Long have I desired
to look upon the kings of old…
Frodo peering forward saw in the distance
two great rocks approaching:
like great pinnacles or pillars of stone they seemed.
Tall and sheer and ominous they stood upon either side of the stream.
A narrow gap appeared between them, and the River
swept the boats toward it.
"Behold the Argonath, the Pillars of the Kings!" cried Aragorn.
"We shall pass them soon.
Keep the boats in line, and as far apart as you can!
Hold the middle of the stream!"
As Frodo was borne towards them the great pillars rose
like towers to meet him. Giants they seemed to him,
vast grey figures silent but threatening.
Then he saw that they were indeed shaped and fashioned:
the craft and power of old had wrought upon them,
and they still preserved through the suns and rains
of forgotten years the mighty likenesses
in which they had been hewn.
Upon great pedestals founded in the deep waters
stood two great kings of stone: still with blurred eyes
and crannied brows they frowned upon the North.
The left hand of each was raised palm outwards
in gesture of warning; in each right hand there was an axe;
upon each head there was a crumbling helm and crown.
Great power and majesty they still wore,
the silent wardens of a long-vanished kingdom […].
Even Boromir bowed his head as the boats whirled by,
frail and fleeting as little leaves, under the enduring shadow
of the sentinels of Númenor.
So they passed into the dark chasm of the Gates.
"Fear not!" said a strange voice behind him.
Frodo turned and saw Strider, and yet not Strider;
for the weather-worn Ranger was no longer there.
In the stern sat Aragorn son of Arathorn, proud and erect,
guiding the boat with skilful strokes; his hood was cast back,
and his dark hair was blowing in the wind, a light was in his eyes:
a king returning from exile to his own land.
"Fear not!" he said.
"Long have I desired to look upon the likenesses
of Isildur and Anárion, my sires of old.
Under their shadow Elessar, the Elfstone son of Arathorn
of the house of Valandil Isildur's son, heir of Elendil,
has nought to dread!"
(from: The Fellowship of the Ring, page 510-11)
The sun, already long fallen from the noon,
was shining in a windy sky.
The pent waters spread out into a long oval lake,
pale Nen Hithoel, fenced by steep grey hills
whose sides were clad with trees, but their heads were bare,
cold-gleaming in the sunlight.
History became legend…
…legend became myth…