Re: [Lambengolmor] Mee and Ni
- Diego Seguí wrote about "Princess Mee" and "The Princess Ni":
> I do not have access to the 1924 version, but the later text asIt does not match closely. The old version is much shorter, six
> published in ATB relies on a pun upon the names 'Mee' and 'Shee'
> and the personal pronouns 'me' and 'she': the protagonist,
> Princess Mee, sees her own reflection on the water, and calls it
> 'Princess Shee'.
> Now, this pun is absent if the name is the obscure 'Ni' instead
> of 'Mee', and the whole structure of the piece may be affected,
> if it matches the latter text's.
four-line stanzas. What is similar is the described finery: "gossamer
shot with gold", and slippers of "fishes' mail" occur in both poems.
Like the later version, the earlier one also has an intricate
rhyme-scheme (each group of three stanzas goes: aabc cbdd effe).
> But it is striking that 'Ni' soThe title above the poem is printed "THE PRINCESS NI", and
> much resembles the various forms of the 1st sg. personal pronoun
> in Tolkien's invented languages, examples of which can be found
> everywhere, from _nin·insta mai_ 'I am well aware' in the GL
> (PE11:52) to _nin_ 'for me' in the Namárië, and so on.
> Especially, the Early Qenya Grammar, dating from the same period
> as the poem, includes _ni-_, _nîmo_ (nom.), _ni_ / _nit_ (acc.),
> _nin_ / _nímon_ (gen.), etc. (PE14:52-3, 85-6).
in the contents table it is the same, but with small capitals
following the initals. In the text, however, the name of the
princess (occurring twice, both times as a rhyme on "she") is
not _Ni_ but _Ní_.
> Is it possible that Tolkien was making a private pun in hisIn the older poem there is no mirror-motif, and the potential
> poem? Note that 'Leeds University Verse' included two other
> works by Tolkien, namely 'An Evening in Tavrobel' and 'The
> Lonely Isle'; both have obvious relations with his mythos, so
> perhaps this conjecture is not too far-fetched.
pun would thus not have much point.
It is perhaps more likely that _Ní_ had originally no
intended interpretation, and that Tolkien's recognition that
it could be taken as a 1st singular gave rise to an elaboration
of the poem, eventually resulting in the substitution of _Mee_
[The fact that the name of the princess in the poem is _Ní_
(with acute accent) makes me wonder -- perhaps Tolkien
_was_ making a private Elvish pun, but not the one Diego
proposed. The Gnomish Lexicon s.v. _nîr_ (2) 'woman' com-
pares the Qenya cognate _nî_, and perhaps Tolkien used
this as a convenient monosyllabic name of appropriate
meaning (if only to him!). Q _nî_ does not appear in QL as
a separate entry, though in the form _-ni_ it is well attested
there as a feminine ending: _ettani_ 'female cousin', _haruni_
'grandmother', _heruni_ 'lady', _hestani_ 'sister', _kuruni_
'witch', _veruni_ 'wife', etc. -- PHW]