Monday, June 15, 2009

Music for "Lay of the Last"


We have seen many friendships, as we crossed over oceans, as we crossed over mountains to be

Here forever undying, in the land ever living, where our homes, and the stars, meet the sea.

We are here, where we’re destined, where we live, we are loving. We know others who travel will be

Welcome here in the ages that will come, when they come here, to this land under stars o’er the sea.

E’er we each in our fashion live the life that we fashion. E’er to last, where we live, we will be

Called the last, ever lasting, home at last, we “tell airy” loving songs, for the stars, and the sea.

Called the last, ever lasting, home at last, we “ Teleri ”, loving songs, for the stars, and the sea.

Closing verses of “Telerilindalë”,

translated to the common tongue

as “The Lay of the Last”

by Aulë (Arth) the Finesmith.


My dearest Lord Olwë, King of the Teleri:

Today, in response for your request for personal tales of the Teleri Elves of Alqualondë, I offer this translation of"Telerilindalë", the teaching song that young Teleri elves learn as introduction to their languages and history. I have not repeated the original lyric here, in its multiple languages, since every Teleri knows it since childhood, and there are many sources for an eager student.

In the attached short sample of preserved music, the melody and musical structure are simplified from the original, although the key change after each verse remains, signaling progress in the Great March and the change of characters in the song. I placed annotations and internal references to the languages, characters, and locations as notes in the common lyric. Thus, students and singers unfamiliar with the Teleri ballad might find some glimmer of the original significance.

In the full version, some formal aspects of the original lyric survived in this translation. Each verse:

  • comprises two lines of metric anapestic heptameter,
  • includes the words "be", "stars" and "sea" (for linguistic comparison),
  • includes a repeated idiom,
  • includes a phrase of each category: subject, predicate, vocative, subjunctive and preposition, and
  • every word is sung in common tongue,

to echo the teaching value and purity of each language sample in the original.

A great deal of the cleverness and charm of the original relies on the play of words across the varying languages in the verses. I attempted the sweetly sad lyrical style that the Teleri master so well, but I am no master. If this work pleases, I am pleased.

The making, like the travel or the singing, is its own reward.

In love and respect, Aulë (Arth) the Finesmith


Overview of the Teleri History

"The Lay of The Last", in entire

Another link to this recorded version

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