Ah! This chapter contains my second favorite Tolkien poem -- Galadriel's breath-taking and haunting Namárië
Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
mi oromardi lissë-miruvóreva
Andúnë pella, Vadro tellumar
ne luini yassen tintilar i eleni
Sí man i yulma nin enquantuva?
An sí Tintallë Varda Oiolossëo
ve fanyar máryat Elentári ortanë
ar ilyë tier undulávë lumbulë
ar sindanóriello caita mornië
i falmalinnar imbë met,
ar hísië untúpa Calaciryo míri oialë.
Sí vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!
Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar!
Nai elyë hiruva! Namárië!
[Ooooh! Shivers of awe and delight] I have NO idea what Finnish sounds like, but that's the language Tolkien used as the foundation for Quenya. The translation is just heart-breaking:
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 voice of her song, 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 uplifed 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 forever.
Now lost, lost to those of the East is Valimar!
Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar!
Maybe even thou shalt find it! Farewell!
This text just DESTROYS me:
"Who now shall refill the cup for me?"
"Now lost, lost to those of the East is Valimar!"
Galadriel's grief and homesickness could not be more immediate! And it is quite clear that her memories of seeing Varda on Mount Everwhite are painfully fresh despite the millenia that have passed since her exile in Middle-earth.
And her final lines, directed to Frodo, are SO profoundly generous! "Maybe thou shalt find Valimar!" She indirectly reminds him that he, a tiny hobbit of the Shire, has the capacity to accomplish what she cannot do herself, despite her great power -- save the world -- a momentous achievement that would surely earn him a place in the Undying Lands, even though he is not an elf!
I also find it interesting that she sings to them in Quenya, the ancient language of the Noldor that had been banned in Middle-earth by Thingol after he learned of the Kin-Slaying at Alqualonde. It is another testament of her homesickness that she would sing to them in this forbidden "underground" language. Especially in front of Celeborn, who is Thingol's kinsman!
Every time I read this, I try to imagine Galadriel's voice as she sings -- a rich, golden alto floating to them over the Anduin. [More shivers.]
For a detailed linguistic analysis, please see http://www.uib.no/People/hnohf/namarie.htm