the author's intent

Cathy Francis

New Member
Hi, Professor Corey,
I want to thank you for teaching me about poetry. I have sort of a tin ear when it comes to em-PHA-sis on syl-LA-bles, so you help me understand a lot by lingering over these poems and songs. I am enriched. I have a comment/question about the One Ring poem in English and how that might relate to Black Speech. Last Tuesday you suggested the extra syllable in Black Speech was some sort of deep philological joke, and considered the suggestion that perhaps the excess syllable is unspoken... I also like the idea that there's an extra syllable in it to ruin the incantation, but if that were so, I feel Gandalf would probably point it out.
I was thinking about this 'flaw' in the rhythm and wondering if there might be an actual recording of this poem by Tolkien. There is, but only in English, as far as I found: Gandalf's exposition to Frodo --
Thankfully in this one minute recording, he recites "One ring" twice. He seems to do a thing in the last line, and I'd like your take on it. What I hear is
NIN the DARKness BIND them
Both times, he seems to swallow the word 'and' to nothing more than a suggestion, an 'N'. This brings the syllables in each phrase into a nice rhythm, seems to me: 6, 5, 6, 6. Or 11 syllables for the first line, 12 for the second, all short, punchy words conveying a sort of inevitability, maybe like dominoes falling. (His pauses are also interesting, and his grim, roundly rolling RRRs). But both times he just slides right over "and," so it's the merest suggestion of a word. If I didn't have the written text, just that recording, I'd probably get into an argument with someone who tried to tell me the last phrase starts with the word, "and."
What do you think? Am I hearing right? And might the author also intend for us as readers to slip over a syllable or two in the Black Speech, to build the rhythm of the inevitable, inexorable hand-over-hand pull of Sauron to draw us all in? Would Sauron slur his words together, for rhythm??
Am I learning to listen to poetry and not think of it merely as a bouncy sort of prose? : )
Thanks again,
Cathy Francis (likelyabot)

Lincoln Alpern

Active Member
Watched the video recently, and got recommended another, featuring Christopher Lee reading the Ring poem in English, and then the Black Speech verse at the end. Not remotely definitive in terms of pronunciation, but damn that man had an awesome voice.