I'm using this thread, which has
itself almost fallen off the board, to repost NZ Strider's comments on and
translations of Tolkien’s Gothic poem, “Bagme Bloma” from a 2003 post, so that
they will be more easily accessible.
The original post, which is very difficult to open, was posted by NZS on
Thursday, Sep. 4, 2003
NZ Strider reposted this material in early 2005 here;
that post is also difficult to access.
Translation keeping the same verse form (pedantic and boring
qualifications have been relegated to the end of post where they belong)
Bloom of Boles
Bears the birch on brightened branches
lovely leaves that light the air;
green she grows, and glitters whitely;
bloom of boles, she blossoms fair,
handsome-haired with limbs so lissom,
mistress of the mountains there.
Winds are wafting, waving gently;
boughs she bends in blithesome play;
smooth and slender, silver-barkéd,
wisps of words she’d wavering say,
trusty tokens, runes of riches,
blessing all my band this day.
Close of day nears, clouds array fears,
lightning leaps with lashing brands;
leaves so lovely lie now scattered.
Firm and faithful, still she stands;
bare and bald the birch abideth,
mistress of the mountainlands.
On shining boughs the birch bears
splendid leaves, while giving light;
growing green she is sparkling,
flower of trees, blooming,
fair-haired with graceful limbs,
ruling the mountain.
Winds are blowing, gently shaking;
in play she springs with her branches;
smooth, straight, and with white bark,
whispering she murmurs speech,
bright signs, good runes,
blessing my people.
Evening darkens with clouds.
With its flashes lightning blazes;
the splendid leaves fly loose;
firm, faithful, standing,
the birch, bare and white, remains,
ruling the mountain.
Technical matter on the verse-form:
Odd-numbered lines: trochaic tetrameter with one internal feminine rhyme on the
half-lines in line 7 [this last effect appears in the translation in line 13;
other than that minor departure faithfully reproduced].
Even-numbered lines: rhymed catalectic trochaic tetrameter [faithfully
Most lines make heavy use of alliteration. Lines 1 and 17 alliterate on
all four stressed syllables [faithfully reproduced]; Lines 2, 4, 7, 8,
10, and 14 alliterate on both stressed syllables of the first half-line and on
the first of the stressed syllables in the second half-line [faithfully
reproduced]; lines 3, 6, 12, 13, and 18 alliterate on one stressed syllable in
each half-line [faithfully reproduced].
Four lines are anomalous:
Line 15 alliterates normally on the first, second, and fourth stressed
syllables and irregularly, i.e. on the second consonant of a consonant cluster,
on the third stressed syllable [not reproduced in the translation; in it the
line is regularised according to the model of line 2]. In line five the
two stressed syllables of the first half-line alliterate with each other, as do
those of the second half-line [reproduced in the translation]. In line 9
alliteration yields to internal rhyme of the first three stresses syllables:
slaih-/raih-/hwei- whereby the third is a slant-rhyme [not reproduced in the
translation; instead alliteration after the model of line 2]. In line 11
the two stressed syllables in the first half-line alliterate; the two words of
the second half-line rhyme on the unstressed syllable [not reproduced in the
translation; instead alliteration after the model of line 5]. Line 16 has
normal alliteration on the first consonant in the two stressed syllables in the
first half-line, but the third stress alliterates with them irregularly on the
second consonant of a consonant cluster [not reproduced; instead alliteration
on the model of line