A Elbereth Gilthoniel

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A Elbereth Gilthoniel is an Elvish hymn to Varda (Elbereth) in J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.


The long version of "A Elbereth Gilthoniel," also known as "Aerlinn in Edhil o Imladris (Hymn of the Elves of Rivendell)," written in Tengwar script using the mode of Beleriand.

There are three versions of this iambic tetrameter hymn, the first of which being the largest portion of Sindarin found in the novel:

A Elbereth GilthonielO Elbereth Starkindler,
silivren penna mírielwhite-glittering, slanting down sparkling like a jewel,
o menel aglar elenath!the glory of the starry host!
Na-chaered palan-dírielHaving gazed far away
o galadhremmin ennorath,from the tree-woven lands of Middle-earth,
Fanuilos, le linnathonto thee, Everwhite, I will sing,
nef aear, sí nef aearon!on this side of the Sea, here on this side of the Ocean![1]
A Elbereth GilthonielO Elbereth Starkindler,
o menel palan-diriel,from heaven gazing afar,
le nallon sí di'nguruthos!to thee I cry now beneath the shadow of death!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!O look towards me, Everwhite![2]

Musical settings[edit]

In 1967 Donald Swann published a musical rendition in the musical score of the song cycle The Road Goes Ever On. He and Donald Elvin also recorded this song cycle on an LP record. The LP also included a recording of Tolkien reading this prayer. The Road Goes Ever On was republished in 1978 and 1993, and the recording was released as a CD in 1993. The CD contained only the song cycle (including "A Elbereth Gilthoniël"), but not Tolkien's reading of the prayer.

The 1981 dramatisation by BBC Radio of the Lord of the Rings, included a version composed by Stephen Oliver which was released as the second track of soundtrack album, which itself is included in some commercial versions of the BBC's production.

In 2006, The Tolkien Ensemble and Christopher Lee released a collection of previously released songs; Complete Songs & Poems which included four different musical renditions of the poem, one of which marked as number III, is the complete poem sung by Signe Asmussen, a soprano.[3]

A rendition composed by David Long with Plan 9 (David Donaldson, Steve Roche, and Janet Roddick)[4][5] is briefly heard in the Extended Edition of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, where Sam and Frodo encounter "wood elves" who are singing the hymn while leaving Middle-earth. The complete song ("Passing of the Elves" / "Elvish Lament") is included in The Complete Recordings edition of the soundtrack for the film.

Australian composer Laura Bishop has recently[when?] composed her own rendition of this elven hymn. Beginning with a solo by a soprano it then repeats with an SATB choir.


  1. ^ The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkien, "Many Meetings"
  2. ^ The Two Towers, J.R.R. Tolkien, "The Choices of Master Samwise"
  3. ^ "The Tolkien Ensemble". http://tolkien-ensemble.net. Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  4. ^ "A Magpie's Nest - Passing of the Elves". Amagpiesnest.com. Retrieved 2011-09-15. 
  5. ^ "The Plan 9 Interview". 

External links[edit]