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A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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The name Elbereth refers to more than one character, item or concept. For a list of other meanings, see Elbereth (disambiguation).

A Elbereth Gilthoniel is an aerlinn (poem) of Rivendell addressed to Varda, sung in Sindarin and in iambic tetrameter. The first stanza (the only one known) rhymes aababcc.

] ljwl7l3 s~j3h6lj A Elbereth Gilthoniel
8~j~r7l6 ql5] 6~V7lj silivren penna míriel
h yl6lj ]sj]7 ljl6]3 o menel aglar elenath!
6]d]l7l2 q]j]62~V7lj Na-chaered palan-díriel
h s]j]47lt~6 l5h7]3 o galadhremmin ennorath,
e]6.Öjh8 jl j5]3h6 Fanuilos, le linnathon
6lr ]l]7 8~V 6lr ]l]7h6 nef aear, sí nef aearon!

Which translates as:

O Elbereth Starkindler
(white) glittering slants down
sparkling like jewels
from [the] firmament [the] glory [of] the star-host!
To-remote distance far-having gazed
from [the] tree-tangled middle-lands,
Fanuilos, to thee I will chant
on this side of ocean, here on this side of the Great Ocean!

The rest of it is not saved but it is possible that Oh Snow-white is a Westron translation or variation of this aerlinn. Variations of this hymn are sung throughout the book, such as the very last one written down:

[ Frodo Baggins has just sung a song ]

...and as if in answer, from down below, coming up the road out of the valley, voices sang:

A! Elbereth Gilthoniel!
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath,
Gilthoniel, A! Elbereth!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees
The starlight on the Western Seas

Legacy

Donald Swann wrote music for this song, which can be found in the book The Road Goes Ever On where Tolkien gives also a Tengwar text of the poem in the Mode of Beleriand given above; it is also found on the accompanying CD of the latest version.

A different musical version was recorded by the Tolkien Ensemble. The first version cited above can be found on their album A Night in Rivendell, and takes the form of a chant sung by a female soloist. The second version can be found on the album At Dawn in Rivendell.

Tolkien Journal (Vol.2, No.1) 1966, included the poem and an English translation by Tolkien.[1]

References

  1. An Illustrated Tolkien Bibliography, at Tolkienbooks.net