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Bilbo's Last Song

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Bilbo's Last Song is a poem by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was given by Tolkien as a gift to his secretary Joy Hill in 1966. After Tolkien's death in 1973 Hill showed the poem to Donald Swann, who liked the poem so much that he set it to music and included it in the second edition of The Road Goes Ever On in 1978. The poem was also illustrated by Pauline Baynes, and published as a poster in 1974. In 1990 the text was finally published in book form, re-illustrated by Baynes.


The poem is sung by Bilbo Baggins at the Grey Havens, as he is about to leave Middle-earth forever. Chronologically this places it at the very end of The Return of the King, the last book of The Lord of the Rings, although it was written later than the books and never included in them.

The song is included in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (1981), with music by Stephen Oliver. The first verse is chanted by John Le Mesurier as Bilbo, the second omitted, and the third sung by a boy soprano.

There is no reference to the song in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003). The film's distributor, New Line Cinema, was probably not licensed to use the poem as necessitated by the applicable copyright laws. The movie's closing credits are accompanied by the original song "Into the West", sung by Annie Lennox, meant to have similar emotional resonance.

J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth legendarium

Works published during his lifetime
The Hobbit | The Lord of the Rings | The Adventures of Tom Bombadil | The Road Goes Ever On

Posthumous publications
The Silmarillion | Unfinished Tales | The History of Middle-earth (12 volumes) | Bilbo's Last Song | The Children of Húrin

Lists of LOTR Wiki articles about Middle-earth
by category | by name | writings | characters | peoples | rivers | realms | ages

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