Orcish lullaby from Lay of Leithian

I’ll sing ye famous song, how in the days of yore,
When flat was our world, when Rings have not yet been made,
Our first Dark Lord defeated was by Elfin maid,
Where others failed; Tinúviel was name of her.

Idea of making a lullaby from Lay of Leithian came to me after reading a Russian translation of “Beren and Luthien” book, where line “Down crumpled Orc, down Balrog proud” reminded me of “Sleep tired toys, books are asleep…”1) from a children show. But making a lullaby for Orcs required changes to be made, for example baby-orc should be afraid of Lúthien. I've also made a quick research to be sure that scary lullabies are the thing in almost every culture.

It also reflects Tolkien's belief that Evil cannot create art or life:

The Shadow that bred them can only mock, it cannot make: not real new things of its own.
(Frodo to Sam about Orcs, LOTR, ROTK)
Melkor spent his spirit in envy and hate, until at last he could make nothing save in mockery of the thought of others…

So, most of the text was taken directly from Lay of Leithian, but with lines and words inside of them re-arranged. Out of 500 words over 300 were “stolen”. Words taken directly from corresponding line were marked with bold, and line is marked with it's number from original poem. A couple of lines have line numbers specified, but not marked with bold – this means it's inspired by original, but wording changed too much.

English text

Why won’t you sleep? Loud is Angband. All day and night there hammers pound. 3861 The rumour thunders in the forges 3852 built deep in Thangorodrim’s gorges. A burning wind there roaring blows 3853 foul vapours up from gaping holes, 3854 where wretched captives cry in pain 3865 amid the iron clink of chain. 3864 Soon, soon it will be slowly changed: 3962 the elven witch in raiment strange, 3963 batlike, will secretly here fly, 3963 bloodthirsty snobbish wood-sprites’ spy, to Morgoth’s hall, where splendid feast 3876 he holds, and drinks the blood of beast 3877 and lives of Men, she’ll boldly raid. 3878 Her eyes will blaze with flame and hate. 3879 She’ll let her flying raiment sweep, 4068 enmeshed with woven spells of sleep, 4069 as round the dark void she will reel, 4070 and hidden garment she’ll reveal 3968, 3965 with starlight caught in elvish veil 3969 which glimmers in Angband’s halls pale. 3968 Dim dreams and faint oblivious sleep 3970 will softly fall on dungeons deep, 3971 And smell of Doriath’s flowers 3972 will cloud fiery glowing towers. Then softly she’ll begin to sing 3978 a theme of sleep and slumbering. 3979 The fires of Angband will flare and die, 3984 smouldered into darkness; through the high 3985 and hollow halls there'll roll unfurled 3986 the shadows of the underworld. 3987 Wandering, woven with deeper spell, 3980 her voice all maws and hearts will quell. 4082 Down crumpled orcs, down hungry beasts 4080 / 4170 turned in their dreams of lavish feasts; 4171 the fires of heart and maw are still, 4082 soothed by enchanting bird-like thrill; 4083 in sleep uneasy Balrogs stir; 4172 all lulled by sorcery of her. And as her song begins anew 4062 and soft comes dropping like a dew, 4063 that falls from ceiling of that dome and grows to seething silver foam of loudly rumbling rapid streams, 4066 pale falling in dark pools of dreams, 4067 a heart-enthralling dance she winds 4059, 4060 to calm the servants restless minds. All movement stops, and sound ceases, 3988 save Orcs’ and beasts’ slumberous wheezes. 3989 All eyes were quenched, save those that glared 4086 in gloomy Morgoth’s face and stared 4087 at elvish beauty, frail and false, bewitching in the great vast halls in slowly wandering wonder round, 4088 all were in enchantment bound. 4089 Like stars the Silmarils glittered, 4092 from Dark Lord’s crown they down flittered, 4135 and flaring suddenly they fell, 4096 upon the floors of Iron Hell. 4097 – 4103 The dark and mighty head was bowed; like mountain-top beneath a cloud the shoulders foundered, the vast form crashed, as in overwhelming storm huge cliffs in ruin slide and fall; and prone lays Morgoth in his hall. All eyes are quenched, all heads are bowed; 4081 sleeps crumpled Orc, sleeps Balrog proud; 4080 the wolves like corpses foul are strewn, 4110 no more they howling on the Moon; 4175 sleep adders, lay like twisted stone; 4109 lays Morgoth in his hall, dream-prone. 4103 (word order changed) His crown there rolls upon the ground, 4104 with Silmarils kindling; all sound 4092, 4105 died, and a silence grew as deep 4106 as were the heart of Earth asleep. 4107 All movement stayed, and all sound ceased, 3988 save snoring breath of Orc and beast. 3989 All eyes are quenched, all heads are bowed; 4081 sleep, child, your bed be soft as cloud.

New words

Words that have synonyms are not listed here.

English Nûrlâm Etymology
adder fâm Gnomish “fem” (venom of snakes) + MERP “farmak” (venom, poison)
anew nokhar lit. “once more”
beauty fânurm Quenya “vanya”, “vanima”, Sindarin “bain” < Etym. “BAN”
ceiling pulz MERP “pulaz”; added to differentiate from “dîlg” (dome)
crumpled kunaga past passive participle “bent”
Doriath thurkuzg translation of Sindarin name “Land of the Fence”
enchant lûf- from early abandoned translations of PN “Lúthien” (Enchantress) < Ilkorin & Noldorin < Noldorin “lhûtha” (to enchant), Middle-Quenya “luhta”; also HG “ful-” (to charm) written reversed;
also used to translate “bewitching”
enmeshed thuromaga “thu-” (over) + “rom” (mesh, net) + past passive participle suffix “-aga”
false prakhûrz LL “prakh-” (to lure, deceive)
founder dhund- HG “dhu” (downward)
frail dîb merging Etym. “NIN-DI” (fragile, thin) and early Primitive Elvish roots “(N)DIP”, “(N)DUP”, “(N)DUB” (drooping, bending)
gape hâgh Quenya “hac-” (to yawn), “hácala” (yawning)
glitter thir- Valarin “ithîr” (light)
howl sogl- HG “sokl-” < MERP “sokalî” (shriek)
lavish malgûrz adjective from “malg” (abundance)
maw korl MERP “korlash” (jaw, mouth); compare with Sindarin “carch” (fang) < Etym. “KARAK”
oblivious ribholûgz from “ribhol-” (to rorget) < “bhol-” (to remember) and active adjective suffix “-ûgz”
quench nanstak- “nan-” (un-, dis-, prefix of cancelling) + “stak-” (ignite, kindle)
proud mîb MERP “mîburr” (pride) < Albanian “mburrem”
restless nanborzûrz “nan-” (un-, dis-, prefix of cancelling) + “borz” (calm, peace, n.) + adjective suffix “-ûrz”
roar robh- Quenya “rávë”, “rávëa” < Etym. “RAW”; compare with Sindarin waterfall name “Rauros”
round kurn was already in dictionary under entry “around”
ruin ladh merging “lata” (under), “latr” (bottom) with “dhu” (down), “dhund-” (to collapse)
save rihikug prefix “ri-” (interruption) + present participle from “hik” (part)
ap nar lit. “but not”
seethe ghûlsh- merging ZA “ghûsh-” (to boil) with Gnomish “gwel-” (to boil, bubble)
Silmaril Silbrulz lit. “Crystal glitter”, dervied from the same Etym. roots “SIL”, “RIL” as original name
Shilbrîdh lit. “Moon-Pearl”, calque from early Qenya translation of “Silmaril”
slumbering dhûlurm LOS “dhûl” (sleep) < HG
snobbish ardaukûrz NL “ard” (noble) + deragatory agental suffix “-auk” + adjective suffix “-ûrz”
snore pûz Qenya “pusu” (to puff, snort)
soothe bort- HG “borz” (calm, peace)
spell dosh merging Gnomish “thoth” (evil spell) with TK BS “dush” (dark sorcery, necromancy)
still rubh Qenya “rua”, “rúva” (steady, still, tranquil)
theme lîth Qenya “lin”, “lind” < early Primitive Elvish root “LIÐI” (to sing)
thrill glirsh merging “girth-” (to quiver, tremble) with “linsh” (music) and with Primitive Elvish root “LIR” (to sing, warble)
unfurled nanfraghaga “nan-” (un-, dis-, prefix of cancelling) + “fragh-” (to wrap, enfold) + “-aga” (suffix of past passive participle)

Nûrlâm translation

Translation to be done

Dalashub gizûr imb laush, amarz shi il hoirumob, Amil thard dakob kuzâ gok, amil Nazg krampâkuzû rad, Âshûrz mor goth dakob faikâkuzâ golugfândirzi, Amin isk sauguzû; Lûthnind kuzâ iznab.

Mûr finarlor? Lugonk kulâ rûrz. Ârshûk agh fughûk drang sudû zîgin. Zurmum zurgâ ânghambor tumbaga dhun grikor Sangrodgaib. Ash ghâshûrz zûl robhug zîgin thûthâ glob usk ghu hozah hâghug, amin fait glûr blordû taitaga hrizg Nôlurmonkri gaib.

“Спят усталые игрушки, книжки спят…”
translations/orcish_lullaby.txt · Last modified: 2024/04/02 20:59 by morgoth