The Long Defeat

[T]he Lord of the Galadhrim is accounted the wisest of the Elves of Middle-earth…. He has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn, and I have dwelt with him years uncounted; for ere the fall of Nargothrond or Gondolin I passed over the mountains, and together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.

Galadriel, in JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings

I am a Christian, and indeed a Roman Catholic, so that I do not expect “history” to be anything but a “long defeat”—though it contains (and in a legend may contain more clearly and movingly) some samples or glimpses of final victory.”

JRR Tolkien

Let us fight bravely and nobly (and shrewdly) for victory.

But if there be no victory in this age, if every light to be kindled must first be snuffed out, let us joyfully fight the long defeat until the night is rolled back and we reach the farther shore. Let us thank God that we have a cause worth fighting for, and a cause worth losing, and a good song to sing. For all that is broken shall be mended, all that is lost shall be found, all that dies shall be reborn—”al shal be wel, and al shal be wel, and al manner of thyng shal be wele.”

Until then, together through the ages of this world let us fight the long defeat.

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