The Ring-verse Explained and the Meaning of the Poem

The Ring-verse Explained and the Meaning of the Poem

The One Ring is the principal object from Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. Sauron’s omnipotent Ring was the source of all evil within Middle-earth and its legacy within the fictional universe of J.R.R. Tolkien, but also outside it, is enormous. The One Ring is the principal among the twenty Rings of Power and it has a lot of backstory that deserves our attention. In this article, we are going to talk about the so-called Ring-verse poem composed by the Free People, which is related to the One Ring.

The Ring-verse poem is a poem composed by the Free Peoples about the very nature of the Rings of Power. The poem speaks about the nature and the relationship between the Rings, as well as the power of the One Ring in relation to the others. The poem itself was composed sometime after the distribution of the Rings to the Elves, Dwarves, and Men.

In the continuation of this article, we are going to do a literary analysis of the Ring-verse poem featured in Tolkien’s epitaph. We are going to bring you the original text, its interpretation and its meaning for the story, the larger narrative, and the lore of Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece. Everything you need to know about the Ring-verse, you’ll be able to find in this article.

What Does the Ring-verse Mean?

The Ring-verse is a poem written by the Free Peoples sometimes after the distribution of the Rings of Power. The poem goes like this:


Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.


Corf neledh ‘nin Ellerain nui venel,
Odo’ni Nauhírath vi rynd gonui în,
Neder’ni Fîr Fírib beraid fíred,
Êr am Morchír bo morn-orchamm dîn
Vi Dor e-Mordor ias i-Ndúath caedar.
Er-chorf a thorthad hain bain, Er-chorf a chired hain,
Er-chorf a thoged hain bain a din fuin an nuded hain
Vi Dor e-Mordor ias i-Ndúath caedar.


Neldë Cormar Eldaron Aranen nu i vilya,
Otso Heruin Naucoron ondeva mardentassen,
Nertë Firimë Nérin yar i Nuron martyar,
Minë i Morë Herun mormahalmaryassë
Mornórëo Nóressë yassë i Fuini caitar.
Minë Corma turië të ilyë, Minë Corma hirië të,
Minë Corma hostië të ilyë ar mordossë nutië të
Mornórëo Nóressë yassë i Fuini caitar.

The Ring-verse poem is actually a symbolic interpretation of the history of the Rings of Power. In short, it tells the story of the creation, the distribution and the powers of the One Ring, which we are going to repeat here in short in this article.

Initially, all Rings of Power were forged for the Elves. Sauron wanted to subdue the people of the firstborn, since they were the strongest and therefore the most dangerous people for him and his projects. While wearing the One Ring himself, he could see what was happening with the help of the lesser rings and thus read and direct the minds of their wearers.

However, the elves were not so easily deceived. As soon as Sauron put the One Ring on his finger, they noticed his deception and took their rings off their fingers in anger and fear. Sauron, enraged at the Elves’ failed deception, demanded all the rings back. However, the three rings (Narya, Nenya, and Vilya) that were forged last and were the most powerful were hidden by Celebrimbor, and even under the most severe torture, the latter would not reveal the hiding place.

Yet Sauron took all the remaining rings of power into his possession, and distributed them among the other peoples of Middle-earth, hoping to bring under his dominion all who craved secret power beyond the measure of their kind.

He gave seven rings to the dwarves, nine to men, for in these as in other matters they proved to be the most compliant. All the rings (other than the Elven rings) he mastered, he corrupted them more easily since he had helped forge them and they were tainted by his hand. They ended up betraying everyone who used them.

As for the influence of the One Ring, when Sauron put on the One Ring, he could read the minds of those who wore one of the other rings and direct their fortunes. At the same time, the will of Sauron was in it, even if it fell into other hands, and was therefore always a disastrous influence on its owner; it sapped the life forces of its wearer and over time drew them into the realm of the incorporeal shadows. This was most evident with the leaders of the Men, who became so corrupted by their Rings to such a degree that they became the Nazgul.

In addition, the ring was able to render its wearer invisible, but at the cost of making the ring even more powerful. The ring, for example, enhanced hearing many times over, but severely restricted vision. He bestowed power only upon the wielder.

What Is the Ring-verse About?

As we have said, the Ring-verse is a poem about the One Ring and its powers. It was written by the Free Peoples some time after the Rings’ distribution, so sometime after Sauron gave the Seven Rings to the Dwarves, the Nine Rings to the rulers of Men, and after the Three Rings were distributed among the Elves.

This, of course, makes perfect sense, seeing how the distribution of the Rings of Power was a major event, with the peoples of Middle-earth feeling the consequences of this move for years to come. The distribution of the Rings of Power had a profound influence on the developments in Middle-earth, as was evidenced in Tolkien’s works, which focused on the influence and the destruction of the One Ring.

The Meaning of the Phrase “One Ring to Rule Them All”

The phrase from the Ring-verse has become a synonym for the whole verse. It actually refers to the One Ring, Sauron’s ring that can rule over all the remaining 19 Rings of Power. The phrase itself actually confirms the One Ring’s dominion over the other rings and confirms one of its main powers in the franchise.

As we know, the One Ring is quite powerful, as it could control all the bearers of the rings of power, read their minds and enslave them, just as it happened with the human kings, who became the Nazgûl. The seven rings of the dwarves probably had the same effects, and while the dwarves were naturally unbending, resistant to the Ring’s control, and surely immune to invisibility, they became irascible and greedy.

RELATED: Three Rings of Power (for the Elven Kings) Explained (& Who Made Them?)

All the holders of the Rings of Power were harmed, with the exception of the Three Elven Rings, which were in the possession of the elves and whom they had taken it upon themselves to protect (Although Sauron with the One Ring could read the thoughts of the elves, due to that their Power Rings were still linked to the One Ring).

Furthermore, this Ring was mixed with Sauron’s power, so it could be said that “his soul of was divided in two”. That is, even if Sauron died, as long as the Ring survived he would survive. Finally, this Ring has the power to make the wearer invisible, a fact that can be seen during the stories of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. His power was great and desired by all.

Another of its powers was the ability to augment those already possessed by the owner, and one example is when Gandalf refused to use it when Frodo Baggins offered it to him, arguing that his power would become too great and terrible. It also tempts the wearer to wear it with whatever the current wearer likes, so much, in fact, that he wishes to defeat Sauron and become a new Dark Lord himself.

The Correct Inscription on the One Ring

As we all know, the One Ring has an inscription on its sides that reads the following:

Now, we do know that you probably don’t read the scripture of Black Speech (some of you do, perhaps, so a big kudos from us at Fiction Horizon), so we’re going to provide you with a transliteration of the text:

Ash nazg durbatulûk, ash nazggimbatul, ash nazg thrakatulûk, agh burzum-ishi krimpatul

And then with a translation (albeit a rough one):

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

This probably sounds very familiar to you if you’ve read through our article as it is the main verse from the Ring-verse, which actually describes the powers of the One Ring and its effect on the other Rings of Power. This is the original inscription on Sauron’s One Ring.

  • Arthur S. Poe

    Arthur S. Poe is a writer based in Europe. He has a Ph.D. and speaks five languages. His expertise varies from Alfred Hitchcock movies to Bleach, as he has explored a lot of fictional Universes and authors. He is currently focusing on anime, his childhood love, with special atten...