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Nieninqe
English
Qenya
Sarati

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Norolinde pirukendea
elle tande Nielikkilis,
tanya wende nieninqea
yar i vilya anta miqilis.
I oromandin eller tande
ar wingildin wilwarindeën
losselie telerinwa,
tálin paptalasselindeën.
Tripping lightly, whirling lightly,
thither came little Niéle,
that maiden like a snowdrop,
to whom the air gives kisses.
The wood-spirits came thither,
and the foam-fays like butterflies,
the white people of the shores of Elfland,
with feet like the music of falling leaves.

Commentary
In 1931, J. R. R. Tolkien made a conference touching about his invention of languages, and claiming that this seemingly curious hobby was a peculiar form of art. The text, a very important one to get what his imaginary languages were to him, was published in the collection The Monsters and the Critics with the title A Secret Vice. Tolkien produced several poems as examples, three in Qenya and one in Noldorin; Nieninqe “Snowdrop” is one of these poems. We reproduce it here with its author’s own translation.

The variant versions of Nieninqe have been studied in Parma Eldalamberon n° 16 pp. 88-97, including a later revision of 1955.

The text is transcribed in sarati or “letters of Rúmil”, written vertically from top to bottom and from left to right. The signs are used according to Tolkien’s valuation for Quenya. We made use of Måns Björkman’s typeface Sarati Eldamar.

References
Tolkien, John Ronald Reuel. The Monsters and the Critics and Other Essays. Edited by Christopher Tolkien. London: HarperCollins, 2006. 256 p. ISBN 0-261-10263-X.
Parma Eldalamberon: The Book of Elven-tongues. Edited by Christopher Gilson. Cupertino (California): 1971-  . 🌍 Eldalamberon.

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.
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