“Let this [book] be a tribute to those who have recognized the wrongs of this world, and to those who have wept.”
I nearly choked up. It reminds me of a line from Eugene Schwarz The Dragon, a snarky soviet-era play about a long succession of scaly dictators and craven townsfolk. A knight returns from the dead to say:
Lancelot. All right. Do you know what the Book of Sorrows is?
Lancelot. Now you will. Five years’ walk from here, in the Black Mountains, there’s an enormous cave. There’s a book lying in this cave, filled up to half. Nobody touches it, but page after page gets added to the ones written before, added every day. Who writes them, you ask? The world! The mountains, the grass, the stones, the trees, the rivers – they all see what people are doing. All the crimes are known to them, all the suffering of innocents. From branch to branch, from drop to drop, from cloud to cloud the human sorrows reach the cave in the Black mountains, and the book grows with them. If there weren’t this book in the world, all trees would die from longing, and water would become bitter. Who is this book being written for? For me.
Elsa. For you?
Lancelot. For us.
And last of all, in the Silmarillion, there is a goddess who dwells on the edge of the world:
Mightier than Estë is Nienna, sister of the Fëanturi; she dwells alone. She is acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor. So great was her sorrow, as the Music unfolded, that her song turned to lamentation long before its end, and the sound of mourning was woven into the themes of the World before it began. But she does not weep for herself; and those who hearken to her learn pity, and endurance in hope. Her halls are west of West, upon the borders of the world; and she comes seldom to the city of Valimar where all is glad. She goes rather to the halls of Mandos, which are near to her own; and all those who wait in Mandos cry to her, for she brings strength to the spirit and turns sorrow to wisdom. The windows of her house look outward from the walls of the world…