Things of Middle-earth
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
Type: Songs & Stories
A paean sung by Elves to honor Varda Elentári (Elbereth), the Vala who created the stars in the heavens:
There are several versions of this hymn. One is heard by the Hobbits when they encounter Gildor Inglorion's band of Elves near Woodhall:
'Listen! They are coming this way,' said Frodo.... The singing drew nearer. One clear voice rose now above the others. It was singing in the fair elven-tongue, of which Frodo knew only a little, and the others knew nothing. Yet the sound blending with the melody seemed to shape itself in their thought into words which they only partly understood. This was the song as Frodo heard it:
Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!
O Queen beyond the Western Seas!
O Light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!
Gilthoniel! O Elbereth!
Clear are thy eyes and bright thy breath!
Snow-white! Snow-white! We sing to thee
In a far land beyond the Sea.
O stars that in the Sunless Year
With shining hand by her were sown,
In windy fields now bright and clear
We see your silver blossom blown!
O Elbereth! Gilthoniel!
We still remember, we who dwell
In this far land beneath the trees,
Thy starlight on the Western Seas.
The song ended. 'These are High Elves! They spoke the name of Elbereth!' said Frodo in amazement.
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 3, Three Is Company
Another version is heard by Frodo in Rivendell, at the house of Elrond:
... Frodo felt a tug of regret as they passed out of the Hall of Fire. Even as they stepped over the threshold a single clear voice rose in song.
A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!....
He stood still enchanted, while the sweet syllables of the Elvish song fell like clear jewels of blended word and melody. 'It is a song to Elbereth,' said Bilbo. 'They will sing that, and other songs of the Blessed Realm, many times tonight'
The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 1, Many Meetings
A third version is found in Sam's invocation of Elbereth after Frodo is poisoned by Shelob's sting and Sam finds himself face to face with the monstrous spider:
Even as Sam himself crouched..., seeing his death in [Shelob's] eyes, a thought came to him, as if some remote voice had spoken, and he fumbled in his breast with his left hand, and found what he sought: cold and hard and solid it seemed to his touch in a phantom world of horror, the Phial of Galadriel.
'Galadriel!' he said faintly, and then he heard voices far off but clear: the crying of the Elves as they walked under the stars in the beloved shadows of the Shire, and the music of the Elves as it came through his sleep in the Hall of Fire in the house of Elrond.
Gilthoniel A Elbereth!
And then his tongue was loosed and his voice cried in a language which he did not know:
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-diriel,
le nallon sí di'nguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!
And with that he staggered to his feet and was Samwise the hobbit, Hamfast's son, again.
The Two Towers, LoTR Book 4, Ch 10, The Choices of Master Samwise
Elena Tiriel 1Oct11