Sunday Food for Thought from Shakespeare and JRR Tolkien

“Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.”
Whenever i think of these wonderful words of Shakespeare from Sonnet 116 I always think of Sam and Frodo going up the slopes of Mount Doom–KSH.

‘[The] dim light of the last day of their quest found them side by side. The wind had fallen the day before…, and now it came from the North and began to rise; and slowly the light of the unseen Sun filtered down into the shadows where the hobbits lay….
‘Now for the last gasp!’ said Sam as he struggled to his feet. He bent over Frodo, rousing him gently. Frodo groaned; but with a great effort of will he staggered up; and then he fell upon his knees again. He raised his eyes… to the dark slopes of Mount Doom towering above him, and then pitifully he began to crawl forward on his hands.
Sam looked at him and wept in his heart, but no tears came to his dry and stinging eyes….
‘Come, Mr. Frodo!’ he cried. ‘I can’t carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get!…. Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go, and he’ll go.’
As Frodo clung upon his back, arms loosely about his neck, legs clasped firmly under his arms, Sam staggered to his feet; and then to his amazement he felt the burden light. He had feared that he would have barely strength to lift his master… and… the dreadful dragging weight of the accursed Ring. But it was not so. Whether because Frodo was so worn by his long pains…, or because some gift of final strength was given to him, Sam lifted Frodo with no more difficulty than if he were carrying a hobbit-child pig-a-back…. He took a deep breath and started off.
They had reached the Mountain’s foot on its northern side, and a little to the westward; there its long grey slopes… were not sheer…. Sam struggled on as best he could, having no guidance but the will to climb as high as might be before his strength gave out…. On he toiled…, turning… to lessen the slope, often stumbling forward, and at the last crawling…. When his will could drive him no further…, he stopped and laid his master gently down….
It was easier to breathe… above the reeks…. ‘Thank you, Sam,’ [Frodo] said in a cracked whisper. ‘How far is there to go?’
‘I don’t know,’ said Sam, ‘because I don’t know where we’re going.’
He looked back, and then he looked up; and he was amazed to see how far his last effort had brought him. The Mountain… had looked taller than it was…. The… tumbled shoulders of its great base rose for maybe three thousand feet above the plain, and above them was reared half as high again its tall central cone…. But already Sam was more than half way up the base, and the plain of Gorgoroth was dim below him…. As he looked up he would have given a shout, if his parched throat had allowed him; for… above him he saw plainly a path…. It climbed like a rising girdle from the west and wound snakelike about the Mountain, until before it went round out of view it reached the foot of the cone upon its eastern side.
Sam… guessed that if he could only struggle on just a little way further up, they would strike this path. A gleam of hope returned to him….’

The Return of the King, LoTR Book 6, Ch iii


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