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You and Me and the Cottage of Lost Play was the title of the first version of a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, written in April 1915 [1]. It is also the earliest mention of the Cottage of Lost Play of Tolkien's early precanonical Middle-earth mythology - two years later, his tale The Cottage of Lost Play, which would become the first of the "Lost Tales" [2], was finished.

Many renditions later, this poem became "The Little House of Lost Play: Mar Vanwa Tyaliéva".

This first version read:


You and me - we know that land

And often have been there

In the long old days, old nursery days,

A dark child and a fair.

Was it down the paths of firelight dreams

In winter cold and white,

Or in the blue-spun twilit hours

Of little early tucked-up beds

In drowsy summer night,

That You and I got lost in Sleep

And met each other there -

Your dark hair on your white nightgown,

And mine was tangled fair?


We wandered shyly hand in hand,

Or rollicked in the fairy sand

And gathered pearls and shells in pails,

While all about the nightingales

Were singing in the trees.

We dug for silver with our spades

By little inland sparkling seas,

Then ran ashore through sleepy seas,

And down a warm and winding lane

And never never found again

Between high whispering trees.


The air was neither night or day,

But faintly dark with softest light,

When first there glimmered into sight The Cottage of Lost Play.

'Twas builded very very old

White, and thatched with straws of gold,

And pierced with peeping lattices

That looked toward the sea;

And our own children's garden-plots

Were there--our own forgetmenots,

Red daisies, cress and mustard,

And blue nemophile.


O! All the borders trimmed with box

Were full of favourite flowers - of phlox,

Of larkspur, pinks, and hollyhocks

Beneath a red may-tree:

And all the paths were full of shapes,

Of tumbling happy white-clad shapes,

And with them You and Me.


And some had silver watering-cans

And watered all their gowns,

Or sprayed each other; some laid plans

To build them houses, fairy towns,

Or dwellings in the trees;

And some were clambering on the roof;

Some crooning lonely and aloof;

And some were dancing fairy-rings

And weaving pearly daisy-strings,

Or chasing golden bees;

But here and there a little pair

With rosy cheeks and tangled hair

Debated quaint old childish things -

And we were one of these.


But why it was there came a time

When we could take the road no more,

Though long we looked, and high would climb,

Or gaze from many a seaward shore

To find the path between sea and sky

To those old gardens of delight;

And how it goes now in that land,

If there the house and gardens stand,

Still filled with children clad in white -

We know not, You and I.


And why it was Tomorrow came

And with his grey hand led us back;

And why we never found the same

Old cottage, or the magic track

That leads between a silver sea

And those old shores and gardens fair

Where all things are, that ever were -

We know not, You and Me.

References Edit

  1. The History of Middle-earth Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, chapter I: "The Cottage of Lost Play", Commentary on The Cottage of Lost Play, pg. 27
  2. The History of Middle-earth, Vol. I: The Book of Lost Tales Part One, contents

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