From "Tolkien: A Cultural Phenomenon" (2003) by Brian Rosebury

This text is reproduced exclusively for the purposes of discussion on The One

[page 56]

‘Mark my words, my friends: Tom was here before the river and the trees; Tom remembers the first raindrop and the first acorn. He made
paths before the Big People, and saw the little People arriving.
He was
[page 57] here before the Kings and the graves and the Barrow-wights. When the Elves passed westward, Tom was here already, before the
seas were bent.
He knew the dark under the stars when it was fearless - before the Dark Lord came from Outside.’ (FR, 142)