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Errantry is a three-page long poem by J.R.R. Tolkien, first published in 1933.[1] It was included in Tolkien's short poetry collection The Adventures of Tom Bombadil (1962).

Tolkien invented the meter, which consists of trisyllabic assonances, three in each set of four lines. The second and fourth line in every quartet rhyme, as do the end of the first line and beginning of the second line in every pair. This was so difficult that he never wrote another poem again in this style, though he later did develop another style from this, and the result, through long evolution from Errantry, was Eärendil the Mariner as published in The Fellowship of the Ring (cf Eärendil).

This poem was set to music by Donald Swann. The sheet music and an audio recording are part of the song-cycle The Road Goes Ever On.[2]

Errantry later came to be categorised as a Hobbit poem from Middle-earth.

The poem mentions creatures called Dumbledors and Hummerhorns. A dumbledor is an English dialect word for bumblebee, while "Hummerhorn seems to be a Tolkien invention" for a large "wasp or hornet".[3]


Two quartets, with end-of-line assonances coloured yellow and end-and-beginning assonances coloured teal.

"He battled with the Dumbledors,
the Hummerhorns, and Honeybees,
and won the Golden Honeycomb,
and running home on sunny seas,
in ship of leaves and gossamer,
with blossom for a canopy,
he sat and sang, and furbished up,
and burnished up his panoply."