A friend of mine tells that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it.
If you really want to know what Middle-earth is based on, it's my wonder and delight in the earth as it is, particularly the natural earth.
The original 'Hobbit' was never intended to have a sequel - Bilbo 'remained very happy to the end of his days and those were extraordinarily long': a sentence I find an almost insuperable obstacle to a satisfactory link.
Don't go getting mixed up in the business of your betters, or you'll land in trouble too big for you.
Hobbits are an unobtrusive but very ancient people, more numerous formerly than they are today; for they love peace and quiet and good tilled earth: a well-ordered and well-farmed countryside was their favourite haunt.
'I wish life was not so short,' he thought. 'Languages take such a time, and so do all the things one wants to know about.'
Myth and fairy-story must, as all art, reflect and contain in solution elements of moral and religious truth (or error), but not explicit, not in the known form of the primary 'real' world.
Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.
I don't like allegories.
I should like to save the Shire, if I could - though there have been times when I thought the inhabitants too stupid and dull for words, and have felt that an earthquake or an invasion of dragons might be good for them.
I never liked Hans Christian Andersen because I knew he was always getting at me.
A safe fairyland is untrue to all worlds.
Many children make up, or begin to make up, imaginary languages. I have been at it since I could write.
It may be the part of a friend to rebuke a friend's folly.
It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him.
They say it is the first step that costs the effort. I do not find it so. I am sure I could write unlimited 'first chapters'. I have indeed written many.
I dislike Allegory - the conscious and intentional allegory - yet any attempt to explain the purport of myth or fairytale must use allegorical language.
Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.
A pen is to me as a beak is to a hen.
I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
You have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have.
A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid.
Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.
The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.
It's the job that's never started as takes longest to finish.
Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.
All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.
Short cuts make long delays.
Not all those who wander are lost.
If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.
So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!
Still round the corner there may wait, A new road or a secret gate.
All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost.
Courage is found in unlikely places.
The proper study of Man is anything but Man; and the most improper job of any man, even saints (who at any rate were at least unwilling to take it on), is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
It is plain indeed that in spite of later estrangement Hobbits are relatives of ours: far nearer to us than Elves, or even than Dwarves. Of old they spoke the languages of Men, after their own fashion, and liked and disliked much the same things as Men did. But what exactly our relationship is can no longer be discovered.
Middle English is an exciting field - almost uncharted, I begin to think, because as soon as one turns detailed personal attention on to any little corner of it, the received notions and ideas seem to crumple up and fall to pieces - as far as language goes, at any rate.
In October 1920 I went to Leeds as Reader in English Language, with a free commission to develop the linguistic side of a large and growing School of English Studies, in which no regular provision had as yet been made for the linguistic specialist.