Quenya 


The Last Ark

A Quenya poem that appears in The Monsters and the Critics (MC/221-2). It is a late revision of an earlier poem, Oilima Markirya “The Last Ark”, written prior to 1931. Over three decades later, Tolkien wrote the later version, after the linguistic concepts of his languages had developed considerably. There are two Late Quenya drafts of the poem, but both are very similar, as noted by Christopher Tolkien (MC/222).

The Late Quenya version of the poem had no title, but in the literature it is usually referred to as the Markirya poem, since the word ᴱQ. oilima “last” is unlikely to be valid in later Quenya, but Markirya could be (“home-ship?”). The Quenya words in the text presented here are from the second Late Quenya draft of the poem on MC/221-2, with the revisions noted by Christopher Tolkien (MC/222). In the first line, I editorially changed the words men >> man and fáne >> fána for consistency with the rest of the poem.

As noted by Christopher Tolkien (MC/223), while the Elvish text was almost completely revised from the Early Qenya poem, its meaning was nearly identical to the version from three decades earlier. The English glosses here are from the translation of the Early Qenya version of the poem on MC/214, with the modifications in lines 33-34 as indicated by Christopher Tolkien in note #8, MC/220 (“green rocks” >> “dark rocks”, “red skies” >> “ruined skies”).

The text is divided into phrases for each line of the poem, except for lines 29-30 (elenillor pella talta-taltala) which are combined to make a more complete phrase. Other modifications and textual history are discussed in the entries for individual phrases.

I consulted Helge Fauskanger’s article on the poem (AL/Markirya) when working on my own analysis, and agree with him on essentially all points.

Conceptual Development: See the discussion in the entry for ᴱQ. Oilima Markirya for the conceptual development of the earlier versions of the poem.


man cenuva fána cirya?“Who shall see a white ship?”
métima hrestallo círa“leave the last shore”
i fairi nécë“the pale phantoms”
ringa súmaryassë“in her cold bosom”
ve maiwi yaimië“like gulls wailing”
man tiruva fána cirya?“Who shall heed a white ship?”
wilwarin wilwa“vague as a butterfly”
ëar-celumessen“in the flowing sea”
rámainen elvië“on wings like stars”
ëar falastala“the sea surging”
winga hlápula“the foam blowing”
rámar sisílala“the wings shining”
cálë fifírula“the light fading”
man hlaruva rávëa súrë?“Who shall hear the wind roaring?”
ve tauri lillassië“like leaves of forests”
ninqui carcar yarra“the white rocks snarling”
isilmë ilcalassë“in the moon gleaming”
isilmë pícalassë“in the moon waning”
isilmë lantalassë“in the moon falling”
ve loicolícuma“a corpse-candle”
raumo nurrua“the storm mumbling”
undumë rúma“the abyss moving”
man cenuva lumbor ahosta?“Who shall see the clouds gather?”
menel acúna“the heavens bending”
ruxal’ ambonnar“upon crumbling hills”
ëar amortala“the seas heaving”
undumë hácala“the abyss yawning”
enwina lúmë“the old darkness”
elenillor pella talta-taltala“beyond the stars falling”
atalantëa mindonnar“upon fallen towers”
man tiruva rácina cirya?“Who shall heed a broken ship?”
ondolissë mornë“on the dark rocks”
nu fanyarë rúcina“under ruined skies”
anar púrëa tihta“a bleared sun blinking”
axor ilcalannar“on bones gleaming”
métim’ auressë“in the last morning”
man cenuva métim’ andúnë?“Who shall see the last evening?”