Stella Vespertina

From Tolkien Gateway

Consolatrix Afflictorum or Stella Vespertina is a poem by J.R.R. Tolkien written in September 1916 during his military training. It is devoted to the Virgin Mary and begins with "O Lady Mother throned amid the stars".[1]

Holly Ordway claims that Tolkien derived both names of the poem from the Litany of Loreto, a prayer that invokes the Virgin Mary. "Consolatrix afflictorum" is a Latin phrase that means "consoler of the afflicted" and is one of the many honorifics used in the Litany to address the Virgin Mary. "Stella vespertina" ("evening star") is not a Marian title used in the Litany, but "stella matutina" ("morning star") is. According to Ordway, Tolkien had the latter in mind but chose to substitute "evening" for "morning" because he felt it was more applicable to his physical and spiritual struggle in the trenches.[2]

Like many other early poems by Tolkien, it remains unpublished.

See also


  1. Christina Scull and Wayne G. Hammond (2017), The J.R.R. Tolkien Companion and Guide (Second Edition): I. Chronology, p. 30
  2. Interview with Holly Ordway, author of Tolkien's Faith: A Spiritual Biography, uploaded to YouTube channel "Word on Fire Institute", minute 32:18