Laurie lantar lassi surinen

August 10, 2006 at 1:48 am 8 comments

J.R.R. Tolkien

Listen (Quenya Version: Tolkien reads)

Listen (Quenya Version: Falstaff reads) [1]

Listen (English Version)

Ai! laurie lantar lassi surinen,
yeni unotime ve ramar aldaron!
Yeni ve linte yuldar avanier
mi oromardi lisse-miruvoreva
Andune pella, Vardo tellumar
nu luini yassen tintillar i eleni
omaryo airetari-lirinen.

Si man i yulma nin enquantuva?

An si Tintalle Varda Oiolosseo
ve fanyar maryat Elentari ortane,
ar ilye tier undulave lumbule;
ar sindanoriello caita mornie
i falmalinnar imbe met ar hisie
untupa Calaciryo miri oiale.
Si vanwa na, Romello vanwa, Valimar!

Namarie! Nai hiruvalye Valimar.
Nai elye hiruva. Namarie!

English Translation:

‘Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years numberless as the wings of trees! The 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 the Stars, from Mount Everwhite has uplifted 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 to those from the East is Valimar! Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. Maybe even thou shall find it. Farewell! ‘

You didn’t seriously think I was going to let this theme pass without including Tolkien did you? (Actually, I fully intend to include more than one poem by the man). There are very few people I would describe myself as being a fan of, but J.R.R. Tolkien is undoubtedly one of them. The man has an uncanny ability to set my imagination on fire, to reduce me to an excited schoolboy, eager to hear more.

Tolkien’s poetry is not entirely uncelebrated, though rightfully dwarfed by the magnitude of his achievements in prose. He isn’t a particularly deep poet – his images are trite, his themes cliched – but he brings to poetry the gifts that serve him so well in prose – an immaculate ear, a talent for sound and high speech, and an incomparable gift for mythmaking which lend to his words the resonance of legend.

Today’s poem is an exercise in nostalgia. The text of the poem is a lament for Valimar, for a land that is lost and may never be seen again. But the poem itself is a dirge for an imagined past, for the language of our elvish forerunners, that sweet and magical tongue that never really existed, and yet is a loss to us all.


[1] I freely admit to speaking no Quenya, so that the Quenya recording is really just a lark. I couldn’t resist the temptation of having Quenya show up in the categories on this blog.


Tolkien on Minstrels (scroll down)


Entry filed under: English, Falstaff, J.R.R. Tolkien, Prose Writers, Quenya.

The Girl-Child of Pompei Cancer Cells

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ben  |  August 23, 2006 at 6:07 am

    You’re pronunciation of the Quenya version is absolutely horrendous. I reccomend, Ardalambion, as a resource for finding out how to properly pronounce Tolkien’s language.

    Convieniently, there’s a link somewhere on that page that has an actualy recording of Tolkien himself reading this poem – it’s totally worth a look

  • 2. falstaff  |  August 23, 2006 at 12:08 pm

    *sheepishly* Yes, it is, isn’t it?

    Thanks for the link. Have added the Tolkien recording to the post, so people can hear how this thing is properly pronounced.

  • 3. lantar  |  June 24, 2008 at 10:39 am

    Thanks you so much.

  • 4. Edraith  |  June 4, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    With no offence: the quenya recording is realy ugly. It looks like a parody or like an impaired guy is reading…

  • 5. Revathy  |  May 19, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    It’s definitely amusing to see Quenya in the categories. Do include more poems by Tolkien, written in elvish and not.

  • 6. Voimiani  |  September 5, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    uuh… are you.. japanese or something? o.O cuz your pronunciation does sound japanese… not as fluent as it should be, for as you probably know, quenya comes mostly from finnish and greek :P gj tryin tho, it was quite… amusing :D

  • 7. etheleato  |  May 27, 2012 at 12:20 am

    Although your rendition of the poem wasn’t correct, don’t take any of the other comments too seriously. If you were a student of Latin or Greek, I might be irritated. Otherwise, you have almost no reason to know how to accurately pronounce Quenya. The language is spoken as one would sing Opera, pronouncing each vowel for its actual worth, not the English variant. The poem is lovely and is pleasing to come across on this sight.

    • 8. blah  |  January 15, 2014 at 2:37 pm

      Though it takes pretty much 1 quick glance of any pronunciation guide, which can be found in a second on google to know the most basic of basic things, like that “au” should pronounced to rhyme with “cow” not with “slow”. So the criticism is justified.


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