December 1, 2934
To His Royal Highness, Angelimir,
Prince of Dol Amroth,
Lord of Belfalas.
I have the privilege of presenting the work commissioned by Your Highness in the advancement of Númenórean literature. Please find enclosed the copy of the translated Lómelindë. Your highness will, I hope, forgive me for not delivering this volume into your hands in person. Having complete familiarity with your taste and wisdom as a scholar, and knowing that you will not feel satisfied with the outward ornament, but must observe also the inner workings, I will here briefly describe the style and substance of the material available to me. This is a subject I hope we will be able to further discuss over a glass of Dorwinion when next we meet again in Minas Tirith.
The death poems of the Kings and Queens of Númenor were written in a singular style known as the lómelindë, which translates most comfortably as dusk songs. These death poems composed at the close of the kings' or queens' lives were light verses invoking natural yet spare imagery to reflect upon their identity or reign. As your Highness knows, the kings and queens had the gift of the Valar, in which they could give up their lives while still on the cusp of their vitality. With this acute awareness of choice and finality, the custom began with Elros Tar-Minyatur.
You will notice that I have taken the liberty to rework the structure of the lómelindë to fit the considerably more compact language of Westron. The verses here follow a scheme of 5-7-5 syllables rather than the capacious 12-10-12 structure actually used. I trust that although this is not a literal translation, you will consider it a faithful one. The Númenórean dialect of Quenya, with its idiosyncrasies (particularly toward the height of the Second Age and the increasing popularity of Andûniac), have rendered some death poems particularly difficult to translate faithfully into Westron while maintaining form. I beg you to forgive any clumsiness of expression and the great licenses I have taken to render the poems readable to the modern eye.
For my sources, I am deeply indebted to Master Panthael of the Archives. Through his care and diligence, I have held the very commonplace book belonging to Elendil himself, without which the death poem of Tar-Palantir would have been lost forever. Much as I love Minas Tirith, he generously rendered me the great service of copying out the Quenyan Lómilendë quartos in the Archive's possession so that my wife and daughter were not completely abandoned in Lossarnach during my studies.
For the passages that left me stumped, as my daughter would say, I owe all my gratitude to our mutual kinsman, Prince Mirion, whose prowess of Númenórean Quenya is without parallel. You will find enclosed with this pamphlet, the volumes of Númenórean history and chronicles which you graciously provided from your own great library at Dol Amroth. The Quenya death poems of Tar-Minyatur through Tar-Atanimir the Great were collected in quarto editions that have survived in various forms and still crop up every now and again in the great libraries of our wealthiest families. That reminds me, sir, with respect, to suggest a thorough dusting of the palace library. If a folio edition of Goldamir's Genealogies should be found, I would be forever in your debt. As you know, Steward Turgon is anxious that I should complete my notes on his maternal family line.
To close, my dear cousin, it is ten years ago to the date that I first filled my pen and wrote with trembling fingers, "Child of the spray." I hope that a decade of patience will be recompensed by the offerings found here. May the flaws herein, as well as poetic liberties taken by your humble friend, neither displease Your Highness, nor injure this scholar's stature in your eyes.
Your obedient servant,
Randir of Lossarnach
p.s. Hirwen and Morwen wish to be remembered to you and send their love to Firiel and Adrahil. They are counting down the days till we meet again at lossemeren.