This is a rare gem. That an author could possibly make up an entire language is mind-blowing. Yet we often forget that beyond the dragons, swords, and quests, J.R.R. Tolkien created an entire language. As a professor of philology (ancient languages) at Oxford University, Tolkien was already immersed in the mechanics of how a language is put together.
But the professor took it to another level when he actually made up a language. With the hype beginning to build for The Hobbit movie, this poem surfaced read by the master himself.
My own elvish is somewhat rusty, so here is a translation of Namarie (Farewell) courtesy of Josh Jones, who goes into greater detail about the when and where.
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!
And, in case you haven’t got enough, here is Tolkien again, reciting the Song of Durin (in English).
Have a great weekend,
Alon Shalev is the author of The Accidental Activist and A Gardener’s Tale. He has written three epic fantasy novels and the first, which reached the Quarter Finals of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award 2012, is due out in January 2013 by Tourmaline Press. More on Alon Shalev at http://www.alonshalev.com and on Twitter (@elfwriter).
Makes me want to learn Elvish. How beautiful both recitations were.
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