Q. i Héru aselyë “the Lord is with thee”

Q. i Héru aselyë, “the Lord is with thee”

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The second line of Aia María, Tolkien’s translation of the Ave Maria prayer. This is a declarative statement. The first two words Héru “the Lord” are the subject. The third word aselyë “with thee” is the predicate, a combination of the preposition as “with” and the pronoun lye “you (polite)”. As noted by the editors of the “Aia María” texts, the “to be” copula is often omitted in Quenya (VT43/30), so there is no Quenya equivalent of the English word “is” in the final version of the prayer.

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

i Héru ase-lye = “*the Lord [is] with-you”

Conceptual Development: The first version of the prayer did have the Quenya word for “is”: na, but it omitted the word for “the”. Tolkien considered several different prepositional elements for English “with”: ó (I-II) and ca(r) (III) before settling on as (IV).

    I    II  III IV
{héru na >>} na héru i Héru
{le se >> lese >>} olesse carelye aselyë

References ✧ VT43/26-28

Variations

Elements

“the” ✧ VT43/29
heru “lord, master” ✧ VT43/29 (Héru)
#as “with” ✧ VT43/29 (aselye)
lye “you (polite)” ✧ VT43/30 (†le)
ná- “to be” ✧ VT43/30 (na)
se² “at, in” ✧ VT43/30
#ó “with” 2nd-sg-polite-prep locative ✧ VT43/29 (olesse)
#ca “behind, at back of place” 2nd-sg-polite-prep ✧ VT43/29 (carelye)

Element In