The Cellar Read by Tolkien Glǽmscribe Mathoms News
Quenya Sindarin Telerin Qenya Noldorin
Adûnaic Westron Khuzdul Black Speech Valarin
Old English – Tolkien Old English Middle English
Gothic Old Norse Finnish Welsh Latin
Ides ælfscýne
English
Old English – Tolkien
Tengwar

3~V ~C6 aT 7£# z5§G = 3~V z~Nt aT 5^ qj§G =
Þa ǽr ic wæs cniht, þa cóm ic on pliht:
Before I was so much as a boy, I came into danger;
it& tf#25Ô t~× t~×1…`× 2P$ t~Cm`× =
Sum mægden mé métte and mǽlde:
a maiden met me and said:
«j~V = j~×r^n = 7£Ô 9~Vj Á –ÐjR zpU6Õ f2Ô~Vj
“Lá, léofa, wes hál! Sceal uncer gedál
“Greetings, my darling, from now on
5yU 5~Cr6Í t~V 7Ï6Y45$ 5^ `×6Y45$ Á»
nú nǽfre má weorðan on eorðan!”
the two of us must never be separated on earth” -
5~N t~V 7Ï6Y45$ 5^ `×6Y45$ -
Nó má weorðan on eorðan. (bis)
never be separated on earth. (bis)
7~V Á 2%£Ô jEe–~ë5Ì = 2P^ 7~V = 75%Ì t~B5Ì Á
Wá! ides ælfscýne, ond wá, wine míne!
Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend,
–ÐjR 5~Cr6Í t~V 7Ï6Y45$ 5^ `×6Y45$ -
Sceal nǽfre má weorðan on eorðan.
alas! must never more be separated on earth.



9~×`N ziê1Î t~× i~N5n = 3~C6 j~Bz|1Î iÏ t~N5n =
Héo cyste me sóna, þǽr líxte se móna;
She kissed me straight away, where the moon was shining,
5^ zjtP^t& t~× zjqé1Î 2P^ i~Cm`× =
on clommum me clypte ond sǽlde;
she embraced me and bound me in her grasp.
5^ eH81Î t~× 5~Nt t2% 96TÍ 2P&6Õ xj~Nt =
on ofste me nóm mid hire under glóm,
Quickly she took me with her under the gloom,
3~C6 –Ð2$x&xP^ ~Cr6Í 7£# 7~Cr6Í =
þǽr sceadugong ǽfre wæs wǽfre,
where the shadow-way always flickered -
7jEtiG1 ~Cr6Í 7£# 7~Cr6Í -
wælmist ǽfre wæs wǽfre. (bis)
where the death-mist always flickered. (bis)
7~V Á 2%£Ô jEe–~ë5Ì = 2P^ 7~V = 75%Ì t~B5Ì Á
Wá! ides ælfscýne, ond wá, wine míne!
Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas!
3~C6 –Ð2$x&xP^ ~Cr6Í 7£# 7~Cr6Í -
þǽr sceadugong ǽfre wæs wǽfre.
where the shadow-way always flickered.



•~C6 7~C6Í 91T aT 5~V1 = 7~× 81v%5^ 5^ w~V1 =
Hwǽr wǽre hit ic nát: we stigon on bát,
I don’t know where I was, we stepped in a boat,
3~C6 t6Uz52ÔÌ t6ÕÍ 5^ tÐjRtÌ -
þǽr murcnede mere on mealme.
where the sea moaned on the sand.
r^6Õ jv$`M aT j~V3 = 2P^ t~N2£Ô aT t~V3 =
Ofer lagu ic láð, ond módes ic máð,
I travelled over the ocean, and hid my thoughts to myself,
zR ~Cr6Í t~× 816xP^2^Ì jxP^3F =
ac ǽfre me strongode longað,
but always my longing grew stronger -
~V7n 816xP^2^Ì jxP^3F -
áwa strongode longað. (bis)
always longing grew stronger.
7~V Á 2%£Ô jEe–~ë5Ì = 2P^ 7~V = 75%Ì t~B5Ì Á
Wá! ides ælfscýne, ond wá, wine míne!
Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas!
3~C6 ~Cr6Í t~× 816xP^2^Ì jxP^3F -
Þǽr ǽfre me strongode longað.
where longing always grew stronger.



3~C6 x6~×5Ì 7£# x62P& = 2P^ •~B1 96TÍ 92P& =
Þǽr gréne wæs grund, ond hwít hire hund,
There the ground was green, and her hound was white,
2P^ xmè5Ô 7£# •~C1Î 5^ 9ÑjRtÌ =
ond gylden wæs hwǽte on healme,
and the wheat on the stalk was golden
5^ e6éj5Ôt& j2P^Ì = 5^ ijTr65Ôt& 8162P^Ì =
on fyrlenum londe, on silfrenum stronde,
- in the far-off land, on the silver strand,
3~C6 26R2^Ì 27Ï6Yc 2P&6Õ wÌ6Yvt& =
þǽr darode dweorg under beorgum,
where the dwarf lurked under the mountains -
26R2^Ì 27Ï6Yc 2P&6Õ wÌ6Yvt& -
darode dweorg under beorgum. (bis)
the dwarf lurked under the mountains. (bis)
7~V Á 2%£Ô jEe–~ë5Ì = 2P^ 7~V = 75%Ì t~B5Ì Á
Wá! ides ælfscýne, ond wá, wine míne!
Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas!
3~C6 26R2^Ì 27Ï6Yc 2P&6Õ wÌ6Yvt& -
Þǽr darode dweorg under beorgum.
where the dwarf lurked under the mountains.



1`N x2^Ì aT fwÔ2# = jÕ3~×2^xP&n i2#
To Gode ic gebæd, elþéodunga sæd
I prayed to God, tired of my exile
wÌ 2tP%t& 2P^ 26~×6Yv%t& 7~Cvt& -
be dimmum ond dréorigum wǽgum.
by the dim and dreary waves,
3~C6 i5P&Ì 5Ì –~V5 = zR taTjÕ ft%81~V5
Þǽr sunne ne scán, ac micel gimstán
where the sun did not shine, but a great gem-stone
5^ jeê1Î 3~C6 xj~×7Y t2% 9£% j~×t^t& =
on lyfte þǽr gléow mid his léomum,
glowed there in the sky with his beams -
j~צHÎ xj~×7Y t2% 9£% j~×t^t& -
léohte gléow mid his léomum. (bis)
glowed brightly with his beams. (bis)
7~V Á 2%£Ô jEe–~ë5Ì = 2P^ 7~V = 75%Ì t~B5Ì Á
Wá! ides ælfscýne, ond wá, wine míne!
Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas!
5^ jeê1Î 3~C6 xj~×7Y t2% 9£% j~×t^t& -
On lyfte þǽr gléow mid his léomum.
glowed there in the sky with his beams.



eH6Õ ti†G6Õn 92P& aT 7~C2jn 2P^ 72P&
Ofer missera hund ic wǽdla ond wund
Fifty years later I returned again, poor and hurt,
eÖ1 z6é2Ì 1~N t5PÔ–%Ì 2P^ t~Cvt& =
eft cyrde to mennisce ond mǽgum:
to men and my family.
5^ tm^5$ 7£# 5yU iÏ 3Í zyU4Ì t~× hyU =
on moldan wæs nú se ðe cúðe me iú,
The one who had known me before was now in the mould,
2P^ 9~V6 aT 5yU 7~V5f%Ì ~V5n =
ond hár ic nu wánige ána,
and now I dwindle, grey and alone -
i~V6Í 7~V5f%Ì ~V5n -
sáre wánige ána. (bis)
dwindle alone and in pain. (bis)
7~V Á 2%£Ô jEe–~ë5Ì = 2P^ 7~V = 75%Ì t~B5Ì Á
Wá! ides ælfscýne, ond wá, wine míne!
Alas! elf-fair lady, and my friend, alas!
2P^ 9~V6 aT 5yU 7~V5f%Ì ~V5n -
Ond hár ic nu wánige ána.
and now I dwindle, grey and alone.

Commentary
Ides ælfscýne “Elf-fair lady” is a poem composed by J. R. R. Tolkien and included 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. It is intended to be sung to the tune of Daddy Neptune.

We added to the text a few missing acute accents.

The text is transcribed in tengwar or “letters of Fëanor”. Tolkien created two different adaptations of the general use of the Third Age to Old English, presented in Sauron Defeated pp. 318-327. We especially attempted here to emulate the mode of the so-called “Text I”. We made use of Måns Björkman’s typeface Tengwar Eldamar.

References
Shippey, Thomas Alan. The Road to Middle-earth: How J. R. R. Tolkien created a new mythology. London: Grafton, 1992. 337 p. ISBN 0-261-10275-3.

The works of John Ronald Reuel and Christopher Tolkien are under the copyright of their authors and/or rights holders, including their publishers and the Tolkien Estate.
Quotations from other authors, editors and translators mentioned in the bibliography are under the copyright of their publishers, except for those whose copyright term has ended.
Last update of the site: March 25th 2017. Contact us: