Q. ono alyë eterúna me illumë ilya raxellor, “but deliver us always from all dangers”

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The third line of Ortírielyanna, Tolkien’s translation of the Sub Tuum Praesidium prayer. The first word is the conjunction ono “but”. The second word alyë is 3rd-person-polite form of the imperative particle á. The third word eterúna is the aorist/infinitive form of the verb eterúna- “to deliver”. The fourth word is the pronoun me “us”.

The fourth word is the adverb illumë “always”, while the fifth word is the adjective ilya “all”. The last word raxellor “from dangers” is the ablative (-llo “from”) plural form of raxë “danger”. The final -r marks it as plural (“dangers”), so it is odd that the preceding adjective is not also plural ilyë (as in the Namárië poem, LotR/377).

Decomposition: Broken into its constituent elements, this phrase would be:

ono a-lye eterúna me illume ilya raxe-llo-r = “*but do-thou deliver us always all danger-from-(plural)”

Conceptual Development: The verb was first written eterunna >> eteruńna, which Wynne, Smith and Hostetter concluded was a slip for eterúna, the form of the verb as it appeared in the Átaremma prayer (VT44/9). The pronoun “us” changed from dative men >> uninflected me (VT44/5). Tolkien consider two other forms for “always”: vora >> vore before settling on illumë. The word for “from dangers” was first written raxalellor >> raxellor, apparently changing the underlying noun raxalë >> raxë (VT44/9).

Reference ✧ VT44/5 ✧ ono alye {eterunna >>} eterúna {men >>} me {vora >> vore >>} illume ilya {raxalellor >>} raxellor “but deliver us always from all dangers”


ono “but” ✧ VT44/09.0601
á “imperative particle” 2nd-sg-polite ✧ VT44/09.0701 (alye)
eterúna- “*to deliver” aorist ✧ VT44/09.0801
me “us (exclusive)” ✧ VT44/09.1601
illumë “*always” ✧ VT44/09.1701
ilya “all (of a particular group of things), every, each” ✧ VT44/09.2301
#raxë “*danger” allative plural ✧ VT44/09.2401 (raxellor)

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