Two poems by JRR Tolkien were discovered in Oxfordshire's Our Lady's School magazine dating back to 1936. US Tolkien scholar Wayne Hammond found the pieces when he requested the head-teacher of the school for a chance to conduct some research for the same. Hammond was following a tip from a note written by Tolkien in which he mentioned of having written the poems for the "Abingdon Chronicle".
It is believed that the works were written when the Hobbit author was working at Oxford University as a professor of Anglo-Saxon. At first the school was unable to find the copy and directed Hammond to the Sisters of Mercy who had started the school.
"Then, while preparing for an event for former pupils of the school, we uncovered our own copy and I saw the two poems Mr Hammond had been looking for. My excitement when I saw them was overwhelming. I am a great Tolkien fan and was thrilled to discover the connection with the school," said Stephen Oliver, the head-teacher of Our Lady's School.
One poem titled The Shadow Man refers to "a man who dwelt alone/beneath the moon in shadow", while the other, a Christmas poem called Noel mentions the "lord of snows".
"Noel is a beautiful and unusual take on the Christmas story, set in a wintry landscape. The focus is on Mary, which may be why Tolkien wrote the poem for the school magazine, given that we are dedicated to Our Lady," Oliver opined.
"The Shadow Man is also a very beautiful story, about two people finding each other and thereafter casting only one shadow – it feels like a poem about marriage. The Shadow Man is incomplete until a woman comes to him and relieves his loneliness," he added.
It is believed the Shadow Man was meant to be an earlier version of Tolkien's Adventures of Tom Bombadil, a character who also features in The Fellowship Of The Ring.
Tolkien enthusiasts and scholars continue to hunt for works of the fantasy fiction writer that might not have been recorded yet. In August of 2015, Harper Collins published the writer's retelling of The Story Of Kullervo, a Finnish poem which was found in manuscript form at the Bodleian Library at Oxford.