The Oath of the Fëanorians
by Milan Rezac
A Poetic Translation of the Oath of the Feanorians, as given in the Annals of Aman, Morgoth's Ring p. 112. It was first published as the message 9.47 in the tolklang list.
Vanda Feanáró Nossëo
Nai kotumo ar nilmo, kalima Vala
thauza ar poika, Moringothonna,
Elda ar Maiya ar Apanóna,
Endóressë Atan sin únóna,
ilar thanyë, ilar melmë, ilar malkazon sammë,
osta ilar harwë, lau Ambar tana,
só-thauruvá Fëanárollo, ar Fëanáró nossello,
iman askalyá ar charyá, ar mi kambë mapá,
herá hirala ar haiya hatá
Silmarillë. Sí vandalmë ilyai:
unqualé son antávalme mennai Aurë-mettá,
qualmé ten' Ambar-mettá! Quettalman lasta,
Eru Ilúvatar! Oiyámórenna
mé-quetamartya íre queluvá tyardalma.
Ainorontessë tirtassë lasta
ar lma-vandá enyalaz, Varda Manwë!
May it be foe or friend, bright Vala
foul or clean, Morgoth-breed,
Elda or Maia or After-born,
in Middle-earth Man now unborn,
neither law, nor love, nor swords' league,
dread nor wound, no indeed not Doom that,
him will defend from Fëanor, and from Fëanor's kindred,
whoso hides or possesses, and in hand grasps
has finding and afar casts
a Silmaril. This we all swear:
death him we will give ere the Day's End,
agony till the World's End! Our word hear,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting-darkness
doom us when fails our deed.
On the holy mountain hear our witness
and our oath remember, Varda and Manwë!
English text by J.R.R. Tolkien
Be he foe or friend, be he foul or clean,
brood of Morgoth or bright Vala,
Elda or Maia or Aftercomer,
Man yet unborn upon Middle-earth,
neither law, nor love, nor league of swords,
dread nor danger, not Doom itself,
shall defend him from Fëanor, and Fëanor's kin,
whoso hideth or hoardeth, or in hand taketh,
finding keepeth or afar casteth
a Silmaril. This swear we all:
death we will deal him ere Day's ending,
woe unto world's end! Our word hear thou,
Eru Allfather! To the everlasting
Darkness doom us if our deed faileth.
On the holy mountain hear in witness
and our vow remember, Manwë and Varda!
This artwork entitled Oath of the Fëanor's Sons by Karolina Stopa, a member of the Polish Tolkien Society and a famous Tolkienian Polish artist comes from the Elvish Linguistic Calendar 2001/2002. Karolina's artwork, based on the tales from The Silmarillion can be found in our gallery. You can see also her beautiful Rúmilian calligraphy: a sarati transcription of the J.R.R. Tolkien's text cited above.
No attempt has been made to fit the half-lines to Siever's types. However, the two beats per halfline and OE alliterative schemes have been observed (with two exceptions, where the alliteration does not fit into regular OE schemes), though they do not correspond to the English version; consequently, the word order has been changed slightly, and several other changes have been made; see the notes for details.
The language of the translation is Book Quenya. The following differences have been observed:
(a) Final long vowels have been kept in nouns where they are indicated in the Plotz letter; in verbs where there are precedents (for example antáva and antaváro in Fíriel's song indicate original long -á- before -va and long -á in -va; so probably also -uva); elsewhere if the etymology seems to warrant it. Final long dipthongs have not been reduced (ilyai). The same treatment goes for non-initial syllables immediatelly preceding the main stress (indeed, the vowel reduction in these may be a symptome of the same process, affecting wholly unstressed syllables). Where long vowels are quite uncertain, they have been omitted (e.g. in the imperative).
(b) The letter z is used to indicate a weak dental continuant, possibly like English r; it has developed from original medial d and z.
(c) Th and ch (from th, an aspirate, and 3) have not been changed to s and h, which have their normal values.
(d) When two vowels come into contact, their quantity has been reduced, since that is evidenced already in the Plotz letter.
(e) y after front vowels has been preserved (as in haiya < háya, probably later haia).
(f) Vowels before double consonants in the primary stressed syllable have been reduced.
Ar has been use for 'or' (its original meaning 'beside' seems to be well suited thereto), ilar...ilar for neither...nor (cf. Hom. Grk. oute...oute). Note that ar has r, since N seems to exhibit it also (Athrabeth Finrod ah Andreth); but plurals have -z: cf Danian Danas vs. Q. Nanar.
1,2: Moringothonna = Moringotho + onna 'creature' (rather than Melkorohiin, Melkorseen).
3: After-born for After-commer.
5: malkaron: *makla-z-ghom.
6: osta rather than osse (cf. N gost).
7: tana 'that, anaphoric' for 'itself' + lau being empthatic give "not Doom itself".
8: i-man for 'whoso'; cf Hom. Grk. hostis. askalya for halya (an emphatic formation, cf. ataltane), to preserve the alliteration.
9: herá: cf. kher- 'possess', Letters #144.
10: mennai 'until' for 'ere'.
11: quetamartya 'doom' instead of martyá, to preserve the alliteration; queta, cf. avaquet; for the construction, cf. sílankálan.
12: An alternative, preserving the more usual structure vandálma, would be to have Airevezú 'holy pair' for Varda Manwe: ar enyalár vandálmá, Airevezú!