HASA Resources

Things of Middle-earth

Gift of the Elf-minstrels

Type: Miscellaneous

Description:

The ability of Elven singers to bring about visions in the minds of their listeners:
[Even] as [Aragorn] sang he saw a maiden walking on a greensward among the white stems of the birches; and he halted amazed, thinking that... he had received the gift of the Elf-minstrels, who can make the things of which they sing appear before the eyes of those that listen.

The Lord of the Rings, Appendix A, Annals of the Kings and Rulers: The Tale of Aragorn and Arwen

Now men awoke and listened to Felagund as he harped and sang, and each thought that he was in some fair dream, until he saw that his fellows were awake also beside him; but they did not speak or stir while Felagund still played, because of the beauty of the music and the wonder of the song. Wisdom was in the words of the Elven-king, and the hearts grew wiser that hearkened to him; for the things of which he sang, of the making of Arda, and the bliss of Aman beyond the shadows of the Sea, came as clear visions before their eyes, and his Elvish speech was interpreted in each mind according to its measure.

The Silmarillion, Quenta Silmarillion, Ch 17, Of the Coming of Men into the West

One clear voice rose now above the others. It was singing in the fair elven-tongue, of which Frodo knew only a little, and the others knew nothing. Yet the sound blending with the melody seemed to shape itself in their thought into words which they only partly understood. This was the song as Frodo heard it:

Snow-white! Snow-white! O Lady clear!
O Queen beyond the Western Seas!
O Light to us that wander here
Amid the world of woven trees!....

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 1, Ch 3, Three Is Company

[Elvish] minstrels began to make sweet music....

At first the beauty of the melodies and of the interwoven words in elven-tongues, even though [Frodo] understood them little, held him in a spell, as soon as he began to attend to them. Almost it seemed that the words took shape, and visions of far lands and bright things that he had never yet imagined opened out before him; and the firelit hall became like a golden mist above seas of foam that sighed upon the margins of the world. Then the enchantment became more and more dreamlike, until he felt that an endless river of swelling gold and silver was flowing over him, too multitudinous for its pattern to be comprehended; it became part of the throbbing air about him, and it drenched and drowned him. Swiftly he sank under its shining weight into a deep realm of sleep.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 1, Many Meetings

Even as they stepped over the threshold a single clear voice rose in song.

A Elbereth Gilthoniel,
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!....

Frodo... stood still enchanted, while the sweet syllables of the elvish song fell like clear jewels of blended word and melody.

The Fellowship of the Ring, LoTR Book 2, Ch 1, Many Meetings

Contributors:
Elena Tiriel 23Jun04, 18Nov09, 1Oct10

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