What are these funny quotes?

Like all fine software, the Perl source code contains at the top of each *.c file a significant comment that describes what the module is for. Now, being the kind of guy he is, Larry chose to describes his files' contents metaphorically rather than literally. He draws upon J.R.R. Tolkien's incomparably rich opus magnum, *The Lord of the Rings. Yes, that means to understand how the comments relate to the Perl source, you have to go read Tolkien. Don't worry -- it's good for you. :-)

For example, the quote you likely followed to get here is the lead quote from the main file, perl.c. What does that mean? It means we're going to build you a wondrous thing, all bright and new. The metaphor of Eärendil's ship is used for your new perl process, likewise destined to soar to heights undreamt of by those below.

Here are the Tolkien quotes from the Perl source. To unravel the metaphors employed is an exercise left to the reader. A *poetry index is also available.


...for the Entwives desired order, and plenty, and peace (by which they meant that things should remain where they had set them).


Didst thou think that the eyes of the White Tower were blind? Nay, I have seen more than thou knowest, Gray Fool.


Far below them they saw the white waters pour into a foaming bowl, and then swirl darkly about a deep oval basin in the rocks, until they found their way out again through a narrow gate, and flowed away, fuming and chattering, into calmer and more level reaches.


`So that was the job I felt I had to do when I started,' thought Sam.


`You have talked long in your sleep, Frodo,' said Gandalf gently, `and it has not been hard for me to read your mind and memory.'


`Mercy!' cried Gandalf. `If the giving of information is to be the cure of your inquisitiveness, I shall spend all the rest of my days answering you. What more do you want to know?'

`The names of all the stars, and of all living things, and the whole history of Middle-earth and Over-heaven and of the Sundering Seas,' laughed Pippin.


* I sit beside the fire and think
of all that I have seen.


Sam sat on the ground and put his head in his hands. `I wish I had never come here, and I don't want to see no more magic,' he said, and fell silent.


`You see: Mr. Drogo, he married poor Miss Primula Brandybuck. She was our Mr. Bilbo's first cousin on the mother's side (her mother being the youngest of the Old Took's daughters); and Mr. Drogo was his second cousin. So Mr. Frodo is his first and second cousin, once removed either way, as the saying is, if you follow me.'
--the Gaffer


* A ship then new they built for him
of mithril and of elven glass


The Road goes ever on and on,
down from the door where it began.


`It's a big house this, and very peculiar. Always a bit more to discover, and no knowing what you'll find around a corner. And Elves, sir!'


Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


Then he heard Merry change the note, and up went the Horn-cry of Buckland, shaking the air.
Awake! Awake! Fear, Fire, Foes! Awake!
Fire, Foes! Awake!


But only a short way ahead its floor and the walls on either side were cloven by a great fissure, out of which the red glare came, now leaping up, now dying down into darkness; and all the while far below there was a rumour and a trouble as of great engines throbbing and labouring.


A fair jaw-cracker dwarf-language must be.
--Samwise Gamgee


One Ring to rule them all,
One Ring to find them...


Away now, Shadowfax! Run, greatheart, run as you have never run before! Now we are come to the lands where you were foaled, and every stone you know. Run now! Hope is in speed!


For the fashion of Minas Tirith was such that it was built on seven levels...


`I wonder what the Entish is for ``yes'' and ``no'',' he thought.


...we will have peace, when you and all your works have perished--and the works of your dark master to whom you would deliver us. You are a liar, Saruman, and a corrupter of men's hearts.


It all comes from here, the stench and the peril.


Very useful, no doubt, that was to Saruman; yet it seems that he was not content.

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