Things of Middle-earth
Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen
Type: Songs & Stories
Lament in Lórien
Song of the Elves beyond the Sea (LoTR index only)
A lament of yearning for the land of her birth, sung in Quenya by Galadriel for the Fellowship as they depart from Lórien:
[It] seemed to Frodo that [the Lady] lifted her arms in a final farewell, and far but piercing-clear on the following wind came the sound of her voice singing. But now she sang in the ancient tongue of the Elves beyond the Sea, and he did not understand the words: fair was the music, but it did not comfort him.
Yet as is the way of Elvish words, they remained graven in his memory, and long afterwards he interpreted them, as well as he could: the language was that of Elven-song and spoke of things little known on Middle-earth.
Ai! laurië lantar lassi súrinen,
Yéni únótimë ve rámar aldaron!
Yéni ve lintë yuldar avánier
mi oromardi lisse-miruvóreva
Andúnë pella, Vardo tellumar
nu 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.
Si vanwa ná, Rómello vanwa, Valimar!
Namárië! Nai hiruvalyë Valimar.
Nai elyë hiruva. Namárië!
'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 the 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 to those from the East is Valimar! Farewell! Maybe thou shalt find Valimar. 1 Maybe even thou shalt find it. Farewell!'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 8, Farewell to Lórien
The reasons and motives given for Galadriel's remaining in Middle-earth are various. [A] passage... from The Road Goes Ever On says explicitly: "After the overthrow of Morgoth at the end of the First Age a ban was set upon her return, and she had replied proudly that she had no wish to do so." There is no such explicit statement in The Lord of the Rings; but in a letter written in 1967 2 my father declared:
The Exiles were allowed to return - save for a few chief actors in the rebellion, of whom at the time of The Lord of the Rings only Galadriel remained. At the time of her Lament in Lórien she believed this to be perennial, as long as the Earth endured. Hence she concludes her lament with a wish or prayer that Frodo may as a special grace be granted a purgatorial (but not penal) sojourn in Eressëa, the solitary isle in sight of Aman, though for her the way is closed. Her prayer was granted - but also her personal ban was lifted, in reward for her services against Sauron, and above all for her rejection of the temptation to take the Ring when offered to her. So at the end we see her taking ship.
This statement, very positive in itself, does not however demonstrate that the conception of a ban on Galadriel's return into the West was present when the chapter "Farewell to Lórien" was composed, many years before; and I [Christopher Tolkien] am inclined to think that it was not....
Unfinished Tales, Part 2, Ch 4, The History of Galadriel and Celeborn
1 In Galadriel's lament in Lórien... Valimar is made equivalent to Valinor.
The Silmarillion, Index of Names
2 Letter 297, drafts for a letter to a Mr. Rang, dated August 1967.
The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, Edited by Humphrey Carpenter
Elena Tiriel 14Feb10