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Tolkien Reads Poems in Elvish

By Harriet Staff

Check out this post at Open Culture, where J.R.R. Tolkien reads poems from The Fellowship of the Ring in both English and Elvish.

From the site:

In my book Cate Blanchett can do no wrong, but her performance in the Lord of the Rings movies was particularly spellbinding, especially when she spoke the Elvish language of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy universe. Of course, the spell was cast long before when Tolkien used his background as a linguist, historian, and literary scholar to create the elaborate tongue that he called Quenya. In the short clip above, Tolkien himself recites the Elvish poem Namarie, or Galadriel’s lament, from The Fellowship of the Ring novel (it doesn’t appear in the film). Namarie translates as “Farewell,” and the poem in English reads thus:

Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years
numberless as the wings of trees! The long years
have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead
in lofty halls beyond the West, beneath the blue
vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the
song of her voice, holy and queenly.

Who now shall refill the cup for me?

For now the Kindler, Varda, the Queen of Stars,
from Mount Everwhite has uplifted her hands like
clouds, and all paths are drowned deep in shadow;
and out of a grey country darkness lies on the
foaming waves between us, and mist covers the
jewels of Calacirya for ever. Now lost, lost for
those from the East is Valimar!

Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. Maybe
even thou shalt find it. Farewell!

The Tolkien recording predates by two years the 1954 publication of the novel—the first of the Ring trilogy.

Make the jump to hear the poems.

Posted in Poetry News on Tuesday, September 18th, 2012 by Harriet Staff.