ǽr ic wæs cniht, þa cóm ic on pliht:
Before I was so much as a boy, I came into danger; a maiden met me and said: 'Greetings, my darling, from now on the two of us must never be separated on earth' - never be separated on earth. Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas! must never more be separated on earth.
She kissed me straight away, where the moon was shining, she embraced me and bound me in her grasp. Quickly she took me with her under the gloom, where the shadow-way always flickered - where the death-mist always flickered. Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas! where the shadow-way always flickered.
I don't know where I was, we stepped in a boat, where the sea moaned on the sand. I travelled over the ocean, and hid my thoughts to myself, but always my longing grew stronger - always longing grew stronger. Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas! where longing always grew stronger.
There the ground was green, and her hound was white, and the wheat on the stalk was golden - in the far-off land, on the silver strand, where the dwarf lurked under the mountains - the dwarf lurked under the mountains. Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas! where the dwarf lurked under the mountains.
I prayed to God, tired of my exile by the dim and dreary waves, where the sun did not shine, but a great gem-stone glowed there in the sky with his beams - glowed brightly with his beams. Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas! glowed there in the sky with his beams.
Fifty years later I returned again, poor and hurt, to men and my family. The one who had known me before was now in the mould, and now I dwindle, grey and alone - dwindle alone and in pain. Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas! and now I dwindle, grey and alone.
Ofer wídne gársecg "Elf-fair lady" is a poem composed by J. R. R. Tolkien and published in a collection called Songs of the Philologists. It is a scholars' amusement made of comical verse - satirical poems, famous tunes, drinking songs - composed or translated in early Germanic languages. It was published privately in 1936 for Tolkien and his colleague and friend E. V. Gordon. A few have been published in T. A. Shippey's critical essay The Road to Middle-earth, including this one with the modern translation given here. We added to the text a few missing acute accents.
Shippey, T[homas] A[lan]. The Road to Middle-earth: How J. R. R. Tolkien created a new mythology. London: Grafton, 1992. 337 p. ISBN 0-261-10275-3
Quotations of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, Édouard Kloczko, Christopher Gilson, Patrick Wynne, Rhona Beare, Thomas Alan Shippey, Charles Kennedy, Elaine Treharne, André Crépin, Régis Boyer, François-Xavier Dillmann, Gabriel Rebourcet, Keith Bosley, Pierre-Yves Lambert, Gwyn Jones, Thomas Jones are under the copyright of their publishers.
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