Q. alcarin Vendë ar manaquenta “O glorious and blessed Virgin”
The fourth line of Ortírielyanna, Tolkien’s translation of the Sub Tuum Praesidium prayer. The first word is the adjective alcarin “glorious” modifying Vendë “Virgin”. It is followed by ar “and” and the second adjective manaquenta “blessed”.
Decomposition: A more literal translation of this phrase would be:
alcarin Vendë ar manaquenta = “*glorious Virgin and blessed”
Conceptual Development: Tolkien revised this sentence three times (VT44/7). Unfinished forms appearing before the first version indicate that Tolkien was uncertain whether the word for “virgin” should begin with a v or a w. He settled on Venë in the first version, revised to Venë’ in the second and Vendë in the third. He similarly revised the adjectives “glorious” (alcarinqua >> alcare >> alcarin) and “blessed (incomplete manque... >> manquenta >> manaquenta).
The first and second versions began with what appears to be the imperative particle á, but I think it is more likely to be a stressed form of the vocative a “O”. The second version had Véne’ alcare, which Wynne, Smith and Hostetter suggested might have its adjective and noun functions switched: “*Virginal glory” instead of “glorious Virgin”, with Véne’ being an elided form of an unattested adjective vénëa (VT44/10). As further evidence of this, the word order switched in the final versions to alcarin Vénde. The form Véne’ was not deleted, so perhaps Tolkien still considered it to be a valid alternative.
|á Véne||á Véne’||alcarin|
References ✧ VT44/5, 7
|alcarin(qua)||“glorious, brilliant”||✧ VT44/10 (alcarin); VT44/10 (alcarinqua)|
|wendë||“maiden, *virgin”||✧ VT44/10 (Vénde)|
|manaquenta||“*blessed”||✧ VT44/10; VT44/10 (manquenta)|
|vénë||“virginity; *virgin”||✧ VT44/10|
|a||“O, Oh”||✧ VT44/7 (á)|
|#vénëa||“*virginal”||elided||✧ VT44/10 (Véne’)|
|alcar||“glory, splendour, radiance, brilliance”||✧ VT44/10 (alcare)|