One thought on “Berry

  1. The second reference is not to Mirkwood, but to the lands ‘South away’ mentioned in the song sung by the Elves returning the empty barrels to their home countries. My understanding of the matter may be gathered from a gloss I composed on the name “Dorwinion”:

    “Land, in communication with the Woodland Realm, the gardens of which were the source of the ‘heady vintage’ drunk by Galion, the King’s Butler, and the chief of the guards during the imprisonment of Thorin and Company (H, p. 173). Earlier, we are told that ‘[t]he wine, and other goods [observed by Bilbo in the Elvenking’s cellars], were brought from far away, from their kinsfolk in the South, or from the vineyards of Men in distant lands’ (p. 172), while the song sung by the Elves tasked with returning the now-empty barrels to their sources includes the lines:

    Back to gardens on the hills
    Where the berry swells and fills
    South away! and South away!
    Down the swift dark stream you go
    Back to lands you once did know!
    (The Hobbit, Chapter 9, ‘Barrels out of Bond’)

    But the type of ‘fruit’ or ‘country’ wines are made from berries.
    On Pauline Baynes’ Map of Middle-earth (Poster, 1970) (q.v.), the name is placed against the northwestern shores of the inland Sea of Rhûn beyond which to the south lies a great range of hills. (H 172, 173; PB)” [end gloss]

    It seems to me that the ‘gardens’ mentioned in the song must mean the gardens of Dorwinion, most likely to be found on the southern slopes of the hills to the south of the place marked DORWINION on Pauline Baynes’ map, a place well-suited to the purpose, in which case the wine in question would have come from berries grown in that far-off country of the Wood-elves’ kin.

    Regards,

    Bart

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