Sunday, August 17, 2008

Congratulations! Elanor is born!

Abecedarius Rex has welcomed the birth of his daughter Elanor! God bless you, Will! What a beautiful name:
When his eyes were in turn uncovered, Frodo looked up and caught his breath. They were standing in an open space. To the left stood a great mound, covered with a sward of grass as green as Spring-time in the Elder Days. Upon it, as a double crown, grew two circles of trees: the outer had bark of snowy white, and were leafless but beautiful in their shapely nakedness; the inner were mallorn-trees of great height, still arrayed in pale gold. High amid the branches of a towering tree that stood in the centre of all there gleamed a white flet. At the feet of the trees, and all about the green hillsides the grass was studded with small golden flowers shaped like stars. Among them, nodding in slender stalks, were other flowers, white and palest green: they glimmered as a mist amid the rich hue of the grass. Over all the sky was blue, and the sun of afternoon glowed upon the hill and cast long green shadoes beneath the trees.

"Behold! You are come to Cerin Amroth," said Haldir. "For this is the heart of the ancient realm as it was long ago, and here is the mound of Amroth, where in happier days his high house was built. Here ever bloom the winter flowers in the unfading grass: the yellow
elanor, and the pale niphredil. Here we will stay a while, and come to the city of the Galadhrim at dusk."
At the hill's foot Frodo found Aragorn, standing still and silent as a tree; but in his hand was a small golden bloom of elanor, and a light was in his eyes. He was wrapped in some fair memory: and as Frodo looked at him he knew that he beheld things as they once had been in this same place. For the grim years were removed from the face of Aragorn, and he seemed clothed in white, a young lord tall and fair; and he spoke in the Elvish tongue to one whom Frodo could not see. Arwen vanimelda, namari√ę! he said, and then he drew a breath, and returning out of his thought he looked at Frodo and smiled.

"Here is the heart of Elvendom on earth," he said, "and here my heart dwells ever, unless there be a light beyond the dark roads that we still must tread, you and I. Come with me!" And taking Frodo's hand in his, he left the hill of Cerin Amroth and came there never again as living man.

These few pages, at a mere wayside for the Fellowship, evokes in me what C.S. Lewis called Joy, or the longing Sensucht. Lewis' Joy was an intense longing for the good, true and beautiful that could never be fully satisfied. But that longing was itself more wonderful than the fulfillment of any other lesser desire. It is a virtue of the high elves that they live at once in two states, Middle Earth and Aman, the Blessed Realm. The mere longing for the light of their true home across the sea provides the elves with all the refreshment they need in the twilight of Middle Earth. Hence even Legolas (who was not of the Noldor) can retreat into his mind and longing for lands far away, forgoing sleep. Cerin Amroth embodies that longing, as does Aragorn's day-dream of Arwen, even though we don't know exactly what he is remembering.
"Well, Fr. Frodo," he said. "I'm in a bit of a fix. Rose and me had settled to call him Frodo, with your leave; but it's not him, it's her. Though as pretty a maidchild as any one could hope for, taking after Rose more than me, luckily. So we don't know what to do."

"Well, Sam," said Frodo, "what's wrong with the old customs? Choose a flower name like Rose. Half the maidchildren in the Shire are called by such names, and what could be better?"

"I suppose you're right, Mr. Frodo," said Sam. "I've heard some beautiful names on my travels, but I suppose they're a bit too grand for daily wear and tear, as you might say. The Gaffer, he says: 'Make it short, and then you won't have to cut it short before you can use it.' But if it's to be a flower-name, then I don't trouble about the length: it must be a beautiful name, because, you see, I think she is very beautiful, and is going to be beautifuller still."

Frodo thought for a moment. "Well, Sam, what about
elanor, the sun-star, you remember the little golden flower in the grass of Lothlórien?"

"You're right again, Mr. Frodo!" said Sam delighted. "That's what I wanted."

No comments: