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July 27, 2011
J.R.R. Tolkien recites the Bath Song
This delightful song is sung by Pippin while taking a bath in Crickhollow in "A Conspiracy Unmasked." According to the text, it was one of Bilbo's favorite "bath-songs." Whether it was a traditional song that Bilbo liked or one that he personally wrote remains unclear. The song recounts the virtues of hot water in comparison with rain water, stream water, ice water, and fountain water. Amazingly, hot water wins in all categories except one. Beer is said to be better than cold water for pouring down the throat and hot better for pouring down the back.
"Sing hey! For the bath at close of day
that washes the weary mud away
A loon is he that will not sing
O! Water Hot is a noble thing!
O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,
and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;
but better then rain or rippling streams
is Water Hot that smokes and steams.
O! Water cold we may pour at need
down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed
but better is beer if drink we lack,
and Water Hot poured down the back.
O! Water is fair that leaps on high
in a fountain white beneath the sky;
but never did fountain sound so sweet
as splashing Hot Water with my feet!"