] Tolkien Word of the Day ::: The Barrow-Downs

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23 Foreyule
T.A. 3018: The Company of the Ring stays in Rivendell preparing for the journey ahead.
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Talking Tolkien
lament
verb, noun

by The Barrow-Wight

Etymology
Middle English lementen, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French lamenter, from Latin lamentari, from lamentum, n., lament
Date: 15th century
intransitive senses
(1): to mourn aloud : WAIL
transitive senses
(1) : to express sorrow, mourning, or regret for often demonstratively : MOURN
(2) : to regret strongly

Lament is a word not often used in modern English, at least not in common conversations, but it is a word that holds much feeling. It carries with it a multitude of emotions from sorrow to frustration to helplessness. Look at the various ways that Tolkien used it in the Lord of the Rings.

'That is true,' said Legolas. `But the Elves of this land were of a race strange to us of the silvan folk, and the trees and the grass do not now remember them: Only I hear the stones lament them: deep they delved us, fair they wrought us, high they builded us; but they are gone. They are gone. They sought the Havens long ago.' The very earth remembers its better past and longs for what it no long can have.


The hobbits fell asleep to the sound of the soft singing of Bregalad, that seemed to lament in many tongues the fall of trees that he had loved.
An Ent mourns the loss of loved one.

Often they heard nearby Elvish voices singing, and knew that they were making songs of lamentation for his fall, for they caught his name among the sweet sad words that they could not understand.
The Elves of Lórien were probably some of the saddest creatures of Middle-earth, wearied by their long Ages of strife with the dark forces of the world. When they learned of the falling of Gandalf, a most wise and wonderful being, they understood the true tragedy of his loss.

A cold voice answered: 'Come not between the Nazgűl and his prey! Or he will not slay thee in thy turn. He will bear thee away to the houses of lamentation, beyond all darkness, where thy flesh shall be devoured, and thy shrivelled mind be left naked to the Lidless Eye.'
The 'houses of lamentation'. Wow. What a picture that plants in the mind. A horrible place of endless torture and sorrow without hope of salvation or reprieve.

J.R.R. Tolkien also used lament with great effect in The Silmarillion.

Mightier than Estë is Nienna, sister of the Fëanturi; she dwells alone. She is acquainted with grief, and mourns for every wound that Arda has suffered in the marring of Melkor. So great was her sorrow, as the Music unfolded, that her song turned to lamentation long before its end, and the sound of mourning was woven into the themes of the World before it began.

And lastly, the Nirnaeth Arnoediad, the most disastrous of the Battles of Beleriand, was so costly that First Age 473 was called the Year of Lamentation.

These are just a few examples of this interesting word.

(Etymology and definition taken from www.m-w.com)

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