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Old 02-24-2023, 03:56 AM   #1
Huinesoron
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Mîms Klage / The Complaint of Mim the Dwarf

I seem to be making a digital hoard of hard-to-find Tolkien texts. I have Songs for the Philologist, Concerning... 'The Hoard', and even The Boorman Script. I'm still hoping for a copy of the Zimmerman script treatment, but until that surfaces I have something, well, actually Tolkien...ish.

"The Complaint of Mîm the Dwarf" is a blended poem and prose piece by Tolkien which has never been published. The Estate has made it clear (post by Urulókë) that they will not publish it at all. But what has been published, way back in 1987, is a translation into German by Hans J. Schütz:

Mîms Klage

A scan from the 1987 book. 26 lines of poetry, and three pages of prose. Even my limited German tells me that it's very much a stream-of-consciousness - look at that section after the first paragraph break, where Mim speaks:

Tink-tink-tink, tink-tonk, tonk-tonk, tink!
No time to eat, no time to drink, tonk-tink!
Tink-tonk, no time, tonk-tink, no time [to waste]!
No time to sleep! No night and no day, just [haste]!
Only silver and gold, hammered and [formed and shaped]
and small, hard stones, [glittering] and cold
Tink-tink, green and gold, tink-tink, blue and white
Under my hands [quietly sprout and grow]
long [leaves] and flowers, and red eyes [glowing]
of [beasts] and birds between [branches and blossoms].


(Translation mine; [square brackets] are words I had to look up. I've not bothered to try and keep the rhyme or rhythm at this time.)

Without translating the full piece it's hard to know when it takes place: Mim is described in the poem as 200 years old, but we don't have any other ages for him. Dwarves were typically born 100 years after their fathers, so even if this poem is set right before Mim's death he could still have the two adult or near-adult sons we see in the books. It takes place "Under a mountain, in an [impassable] land", which sounds like Amon Rudh, but poetically could be the ruins of Nargothrond.

There's a rhyming translation of the poem in video here, along with some snippets of the prose. I will probably keep poking at the whole thing in my rough way, unless someone happens to come along who actually speaks German.

(It's very tempting to imagine this as Mim working his curse into the hoard of Nargothrond, and thus link it directly to Concerning... 'The Hoard', but without translation I don't know how viable that is.)

EDIT: My full, low-quality back-translation into English (as created in this thread) is here.

hS
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Old 02-24-2023, 09:04 AM   #2
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Taking a break from work-translating to do some fun-translating instead, I took a stab at the rest of the poem:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Complaint of Mim the Dwarf, Part 1
Under a mountain, in an impassable land
lay a deep hole, all filled with sand.
One evening Mim stood before his house
His back was bent, and his beard was grey.
Long paths he had wandered, homeless and cold
the petty-dwarf Mim, two hundred years old.
All he had made, the work of his hands,
of stylus and chisel, of labour unending,
stolen by fiends; only his life and some few pieces
of his crafts were left to him, and a long blade
in a sheath under tattered mantle, venom-smeared.
His clouded eyes had squinted, still reddened from smoke
when amid thorns and bracken he had found
his passage at last amidst the flames.
And thus came he here, choking and sickened.
Mim spat in the sand, and so began to speak:

Tink-tink-tink, tink-tonk, tonk-tonk, tink!
No time to eat, no time to drink, tonk-tink!
Tink-tonk, no time, tonk-tink, no time to waste!
No time to sleep! No night and no day, just haste!
Only silver and gold, hammered and formed and shaped
and small, hard stones, glittering and cold
Tink-tink, green and gold, tink-tink, blue and white
Under my hands quietly sprout and grow
long leaves and flowers, and red eyes glowing
of beasts and birds between branches and blossoms.
I think this has to be just after Mim's betrayal of Turin; the CoH version reads:

Now the Orcs, finding the issue of the secret stair, left the summit and entered Bar-en-Danwedh, which they defiled and ravaged. They did not find Mim, lurking in his caves, and when they had departed from Amon Rudh Mim appeared on the summit, and going to where Beleg lay prostrate and unmoving he gloated over him while he sharpened a knife.

The fiends/monsters who stole Mim's stuff are the Orcs; the pit of sand is the caves he hid in; and we even have a mention of the knife. Or perhaps the scene is a little later, after Androg drives him off "shrieking in fear... to the brink of the cliff and... down a steep and difficult goat's path that was known to him". That would certainly offer more opportunity for smithying than while he was waiting to go and stab Beleg, and the vague summaries I've seen of the prose section say that Mim thinks about his inability to forgive, which would link to having just gone after Beleg.

I'm sure the answers, at least by implication, lie in the prose, but I'm not getting into that right now.

hS
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Old 02-24-2023, 04:50 PM   #3
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I wonder why the Estate is so opposed to its publication? It's a rather odd position to take on an original JRRT poem.
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Old 02-27-2023, 10:55 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post
I wonder why the Estate is so opposed to its publication? It's a rather odd position to take on an original JRRT poem.
It's a very strange position to take. My only thoughts are either that Urulókë overstated things in order to shut down potential trouble on TCG (perhaps the actual position was more of a "there are no current plans to publish"), or that it's tied up by way of its source - I seem to recall the Estate don't want any of Tolkien's other private letters published, for example, so if it came from one of those (like Concerning... 'The Hoard') they might have blocked it on those grounds.

I've taken a stab at the first prose paragraph, and hoooo boy, Mim is crazy:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Complaint of Mim the Dwarf, Part 2
All these things that my eyes beheld, while they were yet clear, and I was young and the world was kind. Why have I bound myself to them, to craft them out of my memories! They sprouted in my heart and writhed under my hands, bending and (twining) themselves into strange and beautiful forms - always growing and changing, and rooted ever in the memories of the world and in my love for her. Then one day I stopped awhile and raised my head, and my hands rested on the stony workbench. I saw my craft. It grew out of Mim, yet it was Mim no more, and he marvelled thereat. Jewels I beheld, radiant in the light of my small forge-fire, and now they lay in my brown hand, old now, yet still slender and crafty. And I thought to myself: Mim was very clever. Mim had worked very hard. Mim had a fire in him, hotter than the forge. But Mim has poured almost everything into these things. They are a piece of Mim, for without them there is little left of him.
Definite shades of Feanor here.

hS
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Old 02-28-2023, 09:27 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Complain of Mim the Dwarf, Part 3
So I devised a proper way of hoarding them, like goods in a storehouse, that wise memory may find them again. For everywhere they lay on the floor, or piled in the corners, and some hung on pegs on the walls - like the pages of an ancient book of dwarven tales, which time has faded and the winds have ravaged.

Clap-clip-clatter! Crack-tap, tom-tom-tap! Tack-tack! Timber and bones! No time to lose. The work begins. Think, speak, carve, gouge, file, nail. No time to rest. Thus I craft my great coffer, filled with compartments and secret drawers. Dragon-guardians glower from the lid, twining and spiraling up from their grasping claws. Ancient dwarves with axes flank its mighty clasp. Clap-clapp, tack-tack! Hammer and nails, tink-tonk, the key was forged and bound by magic. Yes! The great lid fell closed, and my weary eyes too. Long did I sleep, head upon my treasure-chest, my hoard of memories and bygone years.
Okay, so the open question is still when all this is taking place. The poem seems to be post-Turin: Mim flees the wreck of Amon Rudh, takes refuge in a sandy hole and starts muttering about making jewellery. Then he drops into prose, and says that he saw many beautiful things in his youth, and set himself to craft them. He made many beautiful things, but realised he had put so much of himself into them that there was little left. Then he made a great dragon-crowned chest to store them in, that he might not lose himself.

But is that what he's doing now, after his flight? Or is he muttering to himself about what he did before, and what has been taken from him?

hS
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Old 03-02-2023, 11:01 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Complaint of Mim, the Dwarf, Part 4
Did I sleep long? I know not how much time passed. The forge-fire was cold, but choking smoke alarmed me. Men came and robbed everything that I owned: the ore that I long had delved from the rock, the piled gems; and they bore my chest away. Like a rat they smoked me out too, and with mocking song set me to run like a wild beast, through the burning thorns and heather about my deep home. They laughed as I kicked the hot ashes, and the wind snatches away my curses. My reddened eyes could find no path; and all I could save was a sack of hand-tools and, in its black sheath under my tattered mantle, my secret knife with poisoned runes on its blade. Oft have I sharpened it, spitting on the cutting edge until it shone under the cruel stars in dark and dreary places.

So they took from Mim all his memories and all the joyful leaps and bounds of his mind, making of them gems for their sword hilts, rings for greedy fingers [and moons and stars] and artless ornaments for the breasts of proud ladies. They traded them for petty kingdoms and false friendships; they lusted for them; they killed for them and blackened the gold with the blood of their kin. There is a fire in the memories of old dwarves, and a power goes out from their slender hands that drives Men to madness, though they know it not.
That answers that - we've circled back to Mim in his sandpit with his dagger, mourning the loss of his treasures, so all the foregoing was a flashback. The mention of curses and madness sounds a lot like his actions in Nargothrond, but I think every version has him die by Hurin's hand there, and anyway the treasures of the Noldor weren't made by him from ore and mined jewels. So the most plausible reading is that the "Menschen" are actually Orcs on Amon Rudh.

One line has me so baffled that I've bracketed it: the German reads "Ringe für gierige Finger und Monde und Sterne und kunstlosen Schmuch fur die Buste hochmutiger Weiber." I'm comfortable with the translation, and without "und Monde und Sterne" it makes perfect sense (gems for swords, rings for fingers and brooches for women). But what does "and moons and stars" mean here? Are they more jewels for the women? Is this a German idiom?

In any case, there's one (long) paragraph to go, in which we not only have the phrase "kleine Zwerg" - "petty-dwarf" - but the only conclusive link to the Legendarium: "eine Blute mit Tau darauf, so wie er einst glanzte am Tarn Aeluin". A flower with dew on it, as once shone beside Tarn Aeluin.

hS
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Old 03-03-2023, 02:50 AM   #7
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German-American bilingual here, reading this with interest, though alas, with little time for thought and contemplation right now. Thanks, Huinesoron, for sharing this with us! I will try to answer as much as possible as soon as possible...

edit: I would say the line you bracketed is simply a list - "rings (for greedy fingers) and moons and stars and artless ornaments (for the breasts of proud ladies)". Moons and stars are popular designs for jewelry even nowadays, and Elves, should they have been the recipients, would have appreciated them even more than other races.
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Old 03-03-2023, 05:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Complaint of Mim, the Dwarf, Part 5
But now I am old and bitter, and in my refuge in the wild mountains I must begin the work anew, seeking to catch the echoes of my memories before they are lost forever. Ah! my work is still good; yet it is haunted now. Their freshness is gone; a veil lies between me and the things I have seen and wrought, as if they were lights and shapes scattered in a mist of tears. I can glimpse still what I once created, but not that which I once saw. I am dangerous they say, full of hate and malice, old Mim, the petty-dwarf. If you touch me, I will bite with blackened teeth or stab you in the dark, and none can heal the wound from my knife. None dare to come near me; but shoot arrows at me from a distance if I dare to show my face to the Sun. It was not always so, and it is not good that it is so now. The course of the world is become crooked and precarious, deceit goes about, things creep up out of dark places, and under my fingers grows fear instead of joy. If I could but forgive, it might still be possible to shape a leaf, a flower with dew upon it, as it once shone beside Tarn Aeluin, when I was young and felt for the first time the cleverness of my fingers. But Mim cannot forgive. The embers still smoulder in his heart. Tink-tonk, tonk-tink! No time to think!
The retranslation is complete; I've put the whole thing in a document just to have it together.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Estelyn Telcontar View Post
edit: I would say the line you bracketed is simply a list - "rings (for greedy fingers) and moons and stars and artless ornaments (for the breasts of proud ladies)". Moons and stars are popular designs for jewelry even nowadays, and Elves, should they have been the recipients, would have appreciated them even more than other races.
I suppose that works. I was thrown by the fact that the other jewellery (gems, rings, ornaments) is described straightforwardly and negatively, and then suddenly we have what seems to be a positive description in the middle. In the consolidated version I've tweaked the commas but am happy to accept your point.

So what can we say about Mim? He first began to craft in Dorthonion, by Tarn Aeluin; for a long period he devoted himself to making naturalistic crafts out of his memories; he secured them in a great chest decorated with dragons. Someone (monsters or people) came and stole everything, leaving him with only a few tools and his poisoned dagger, and burning him out; he retreated to a deep hole and stewed. He then tried to remake his treasures, but found his memories faded, and his craft weakened by his inability to forgive.

Interestingly, Mim's own view of himself is wildly at odds with everyone else's, and with his behaviour in this very poem. He wants to believe that he was a pure artist until right before the events of the poem - but he carries a poisoned dagger, and fills his treasures with magic that drives men mad. He was never as nice as he likes to think he was.

(I should note that NoME 3.VII - The Founding of Nargothrond (1969) gives a different account of Mim's early years - it has him as the chieftain of the Petty Dwarves of Narog, helping Finrod build Nargothrond and then attempting to murder him. It's not clear how this fits in with his youth by Tarn Aeluin in the poem, or with his known death 400 years after Nargothrond was finished - that would make him very old indeed for a dwarf! Perhaps the chieftain was his grandfather?)

hS
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Old 03-13-2023, 05:35 AM   #9
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I have ordered the Book and read that text myself. Easy for a native German. Having some experience with the Schütz translations, I have many doubts if by retranslating we would find anything even near to the original. Schütz was not very good at rhyme. It is clear, that in the 26 lines of poetry he took many liberties and nonetheless would not even try to take up rhythm, flow or even kind of rhymes used in the original. As an example, the word 'sand' in the second line cries out 'none Tolkien!' to me. I wouldn't be surprised if reading the original we would not find the information that the cave did have a sand flour. But as that is only my personal impression, please take it only as warning.

Quote:
So what can we say about Mim? He first began to craft in Dorthonion, by Tarn Aeluin; ...
That is not so clear. The text says that he always worked from memory. Therefore this only assures that he had been in Dorthonion in his youth and that what he saw there inspired him deeply. And from the context we as well can say that these were days of peace in Dorthonion, so well before the Dagor Bargolach.

Quote:
... for a long period he devoted himself to making naturalistic crafts out of his memories ...
I don't agree fully to 'naturalistic'. Mîm himself makes in the later text a very clear distinction between the things that inspired his craft and the artefacts that he produced. He says that he still can memories the artefacts he made but no longer the things that inspired them and I at least think this is part of his issue of remaking anything.

About Mîm's life as given in NoME: Taking aside the 400 years for a moment, I would rather say the story lines work very well together: Young Mîm wanders around in the peaceful Beleriand before Finrod founded Nargothrond. As he visits Dorthonion where Finrod's brothers ruled at this time, the two might have meet there. Finrod planning to build Nargothrond would than naturally ask a Dwarf he did know before hand for help. For how that relationship was than poisoned there are a lot of candidates:
- Finrod, seeing how big a task it was, asking the Dwarves from the Ered Luin as well for help and since these dismissed the Petty-Dwarves that might be enough.
- Maybe Mîm was only early involved in the planning and when it became clear that Finrods plans were made for the enlargement of the halls of Nulukkhizdīn, driving the Petty-Dwarves out of their old home the relation shifted.
- Or he came late and assumed that they had found the halls of Nulukkhizdīn deserted, and only when he found out that they had driven out the Petty-Dwarves by force he tried to take revenge upon Finrod.

The 400+ years are an issue, but not a big one:
- On the one hand we know that at least on first generation Dwarf was very long lasting: Durin I., the Deathless. He died 'before the end of the Elder-days', which means from the context during the First Age of the sun, having outlifed all the long years of the Stars since the awakening of the Dwarves. So it might be that Tolkien saw a decline in longevity for the Dwarves and planed much longer time for the earlier generations to which Mîm might have belonged.
- If we assume that Mîm was of the line of the 7 chieftains, than we are told that in these lines from time to time Dwarves were born that were so similar to the chieftains of old that they got the same name. So for example Mîm II. could have been the helper of Finrod and Mîm III. would then be the host of Tuirn later to be killed in Nargothrond.

At this point we might consider anew when Mîm does utter this ‘Klage’: I find it rather forced to connect the plundering of Bar-en-Danwedh by the Orcs to the story as told in Mîm's Klage. In CoH Mîm is not sleeping on his chest of treasures and the attack of the Orcs is not a surprise for him. Thus if the Mîm of Mîm's Klage and Mîm from CoH are one and the same person, I would assume that the Mîm from CoH is a somewhat recovered version from the earlier Mîm of Mîm's Klage: In CoH he is described as poor, old, isolated and bitter against the world outside that has wronged him and his folk in many ways. When caught by Androg Mîm did even bit him, like Mîm reports of himself in his 'Klage'. As well CoH reports that the Men shot arrows at Mîm and his sons. And we learn in CoH that Mîm from time to time works in his smithy, all by himself, as we would expect from a person haunted by a back story like told in the 'Klage'. So my best guess is, that what we have in ‘Mîm’s Klage’ is a report of one of Túrin’s men of what he heard when at one day Mîm came out of his smithy (for a time, because the ‘Tink-tonk, tonk-tink! No time to think!’ suggest that he is going back to work) during a fruitless try in his craft. And the friendship that Mîm develops to Túrin might be the response to his ‘It was not always so, and it is not good that it is so now.’ from the ‘Klage’.

One last point: 'Complaint' does not sound fully right as translation of german 'Klage' in this context. I would rather take 'Lament'. ('Dirge' would fit from the sense as well, but does not sound a bit like Tolkien for me.)

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Old 03-15-2023, 03:53 PM   #10
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Mim's Story

I recently wrote an article in Italian on Mim's Klage.

My goal was to (try to) build both an internal and external chronlogy for this text, based on the clues given in the text.


Here's the english version of it: https://u.pcloud.link/publink/show?c...lmu8eeT5VJGiUX

Of course there's a lot of speculation and I know several other possibilities are plausible but...Let me know what you think about it.
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Old 03-15-2023, 03:56 PM   #11
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I would like to give my opinion regarding Mîn in relation to all the information we have about him.

Regarding whether they are all the same Mîm, from the point of view of the information we have and making the verosimility relevant, I do not think that Tolkien would have thought of a different Mîm on each case. And in the case of a Petty Dwarf, a Dwarf of more than 500 years It would not seem plausible to me.

A possible historical line that I propose would be (please correct me if I forget something):

-An indefinite time after Nargothrond is complete in FA102, Mîm becomes the young leader of the Petty Dwarves and later attempts to assassinate Finrod (say in FA250).
-He is expelled and goes to Dorthonion.
-When the Beörians are given Ladros in FA410 he has to leave and goes to Amon Rűdh (who he already knew).

So, when Mîm die in 502 (been very old and possibly near to his natural end) would be more or less 300-350 years old.

Of course this line would be a mythical adaptation to be able to make a plausible composition of his story.

In relation to the moment of the Klage, I agree with Findegil that a possible one would be after stablised the friendship between Túrin and him.

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Old 08-29-2023, 12:54 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gondowe View Post
I would like to give my opinion regarding Mîn in relation to all the information we have about him.

Regarding whether they are all the same Mîm, from the point of view of the information we have and making the verosimility relevant, I do not think that Tolkien would have thought of a different Mîm on each case. And in the case of a Petty Dwarf, a Dwarf of more than 500 years It would not seem plausible to me.
I'd just like to point out that according to 'The Making of Appendix A', 'Durin's Folk' in The Peoples of Middle-earth (p. 284), the Dwarves originally lived longer than in the later ages:

Quote:
Dwarves of different 'breeds' vary in their longevity. Durin's race were originally long-lived (especially those named Durin), but like most other peoples they had become less so during the Third Age.
Of course, this passage is talking about the Longbeards, but I think it's a reasonable assumption that the trend of reduced longevity is found in other clans as well, even if originally they weren't as long lived as Durin's Folk.
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Old 08-29-2023, 04:48 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Arvegil145 View Post
I'd just like to point out that according to 'The Making of Appendix A', 'Durin's Folk' in The Peoples of Middle-earth (p. 284), the Dwarves originally lived longer than in the later ages:

Of course, this passage is talking about the Longbeards, but I think it's a reasonable assumption that the trend of reduced longevity is found in other clans as well, even if originally they weren't as long lived as Durin's Folk.
I like this explanation; it's tidy, makes all the "Mim" references refer to Mim himself, and best of all, uses actual Tolkien text.

There's two tentative bits of evidence to support it. First, Azaghâl of Belegost rules for over 200 years - the Dragon-Helm was forged for him as Lord of Belegost after Glaurung's first appearance, and he dies in the Nirnaeth, still fighting fit. Allowing for a childhood (in which he was not king) and old age (in which he couldn't have led them to battle), that gives him a minimum natural lifespan of 350 years, possibly much longer. That would support long-lived Beleriandic dwarves.

Secondly, and even more tentative... the poem "The Hoard" is said to be inspired by the tales of Mim and company. The dwarf in it is described like this:

But his eyes grew dim and his ears dull
and the skin yellow on his old skull;
through his bony claw with a pale sheen
the stony jewels slipped unseen.


That sounds properly ancient, not just "normal lifespan of a dwarf" ancient. If it can be applied to Mim (a big 'if'!), then he seems to have lived past his natural end.

Actually, he also calls himself "old" in Mim's Klage. We still don't know when that is: Findegil makes a good point that it doesn't fit with the attack on Amon Rudh, Val Balmer suggests the expulsion from Nargothrond, and I'm now thinking it could be the Beorians arriving in Dorthonion, driving him out to the south. In any case, it seems to be quite some time before his death, so he would be very old by the time Hurin encountered him in Nargothrond.

hS

PS: re the English title - this thread says it's probably Tolkien's own title.

EDIT: this thread discusses the source of the (German) title, in "Mimes Klage(ge)sang", from Wagner's Ring cycle. It appears (untitled) in the early part of the Siegfried libretto, in which Mime complains a lot. The way he speaks resonates strongly with Tolkien's Complaint:

Zwangvolle Plage! Müh’ ohne Zweck!
Heart-breaking bondage! Toil without end!


hS
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Last edited by Huinesoron; 08-29-2023 at 04:59 AM. Reason: Wagner
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Old 08-29-2023, 11:29 AM   #14
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Allowing for... old age (in which he couldn't have led them to battle)
Not necessarily; Dain II was over 250 when he died axe in hand at the siege of Erebor.
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Old 09-04-2023, 10:34 AM   #15
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Coming back to the text and it interpretation: I am not sure that the scene in the begining with:
Quote:
All that he had made, the work of his hand,
with burin and chisel, with hassle without end,
the fiends had robbed from him, a few tools only, beside his life,
of his handicraft were left to him and a long knife
venomed in a sheath under his tattered cloak.
His clouded Eyes blinked, still reddened from the smoke;
since, stemmed with thorn and heather, they had,
at last, his passages cruelly on fire set,
and thus came he out, sickened and choked.
And the later passage with:
Quote:
The forge-fire was cold, but choking smoke roused me. Men came and robbed all that I possessed: the ore, that a long time ago I had dug out of the rock, the small piles of gems; and they bore my chest away. They smoked me out like a rat, and in mocking mercy they made me run like a wild beast, through burning thorns and heather around my deep home. They laughed as I kicked the hot ash, and the wind snatches away my curses. My reddened eyes could find no path; and all I could save, was a sack of small tools and underneath an old, tattered cloak in a black sheath my secret knife with the poisoned runes on its blade. Often have I sharpened it, spitting on the edge until it shone under the cruel stars in the dark and dreary places.
describe the same event. Even so they very similar in the description, I think it does not fit together, for the follwoing reason:
- If we see Mîm at the bining coming out of his hole after he was robbed of his chest, where is then the 'run over burning thorns and heather'?
- in the first secne the enemies are "Unholde"/'fiends' while in the later scene they are "Menschen"/'Men'.
- If it would be the same plundering, that would make 2 additional shifts in perspective necessary in the text (one is of course given, when after describing his coming forth Mîm starts to speak): One from Mîm recounting his live back to life action of him trying and failing to re-create part of his work, and the men shunning and hunting him. And another one when he recounts that it had not been so in the past and so on.

Thinks become much easier when we assume that we have 2 diffrent robberies: One done in the past by Men that stole his chest. This is recounted only by Mîm in his speech. And a second that just has happend done by 'fiends' out of which he comes right at the biginning of the text.
In that way we would only have in intorduction of the scene and Mîm by a narator voice and than for all the rest Mîm recapitulating his life and actual situation.

Respectfully
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Old 09-12-2023, 07:11 AM   #16
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Thinks become much easier when we assume that we have 2 diffrent robberies: One done in the past by Men that stole his chest. This is recounted only by Mîm in his speech. And a second that just has happend done by 'fiends' out of which he comes right at the biginning of the text.
Hmm. Okay. I think you're right, because in the second-to-last paragraph, Mim describes the fate of the Men who stole his treasures in the dragon-chest:

Quote:
Originally Posted by The Complaint
They traded them for petty kingdoms and false friendships; they lusted for them; they killed for them and blackened the gold with the blood of their kin.
The German is definitely in the past tense, so this doesn't seem to be a prophecy or curse: it's Mim's description of the fates of those who took his dragon-chest. If his eyes are still red with smoke, they cannot be the ones who just robbed him.

So yes, we have two robberies: one by Men in his youth, up by Tarn Aeluin; one by fiends (Orcs?) in his old age. Mim's journey is that at first he was hopeful and enjoyed beauty; then he became bitter and dangerous; and now, after that path has ended the same way as the first, he has chosen to try and reclaim some of his original hope and memory.

It is so, so tempting to make the second robbery the fall of the House of Random. But then where is Mim's refuge, where he starts his great re-forging? It can't be Nargothrond, that's still intact! So we have to imagine yet another hidden cave, in which Mim holes up only to randomly leave it and go haunt Narog instead.

hS
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Old 09-12-2023, 02:52 PM   #17
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But then where is Mim's refuge, where he starts his great re-forging? It can't be Nargothrond, that's still intact! So we have to imagine yet another hidden cave, in which Mim holes up only to randomly leave it and go haunt Narog instead.

hS
We can't say other than it was deep in a nameless forest, where Mim fostered the infant son of a dying woman, and raised him to use his father's reforged sword to kill Glaurung.... oh, wait.
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Old 09-12-2023, 04:21 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
Thinks become much easier when we assume that we have 2 diffrent robberies
To be honest I cannot imagine Tolkien describing two different scenes in which Mim is smoked out by his own cavern: it must be the same scene.

Also by re-reading both, the prose passage seems to expand on the poem main passages.

Poem:
- Mim is in cavern
- he has already 200 years
- The "brutes" live him with his life and his poisoned knife
- They smoke him out his caverns
- Mim tries to rebuilt the treasure he lost

Prose:
- Mim checks his hoard and he is clearly already old
- Mim builds a check (new element) to keep things safe
- Mim is smoked out of his cavern with fire (again??)
- The passage of men and petty kingdoms is for sure difficult (if we imagine this tale to be set up in Middle-earth).
- Mim starts to rebuild his treasure, but he lacks the creative energy (new)
- He mention his poisoned knife
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Old 09-13-2023, 09:30 AM   #19
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WARNING: This has become a very long post! Sorry, for that. But maybe I was during working on it somewhat in the same possessed mode as Mîm during his work.
Let's go through the text and see what we learn:
Quote:
Under a hill, in a wayless land,
lay a deep hole, all filled with sand.
One evening Mîm stood before his den:
The cavern described in the first sentence is Mîm's den. The 'wayless land' is ambiguous enough to be everywhere and nowhere, but I think it would fit Amon Rűdh more than Nargothrond even after its fall. The sand reminds me strongly of the description of the shelf named by Mîm 'the gartrh' in The Children of Húrin. Sand is not mentioned their directly as it is in the poem. But we have 'a thicket of thorns', 'a little grove of dwarfed birches' and 'a green sward of the shelf, from brink to brink'. These are all pioneer plants (as is the ‘heather’ mentioned in the poem later on) living on such meagre soil as sand.
Quote:
His beard was grey; and his back was bent.
Long paths he had wandered, homeless and cold,
The Petty-dwarf Mîm, two hundered years old.
A bit of description that only makes clear that we see Mîm not in his youth. The ‘long paths he had wandered‘ must be in his past not right now, because he comes out of his ‘den’ right now.
Quote:
All that he had made, the work of his hand,
with burin and chisel, with hassle without end,
the fiends had robbed from him, a few tools only, beside his life,
of his handicraft were left to him and a long knife
venomed in a sheath under his tattered cloak.
As we have just read some events from his former life (the ‘long paths’) it is tempting to see these as well as flashback, maybe even as the reason for his wandering. But if that is the case, we have here a break in the telling and shift back to the present with the next two sentences:
Quote:
His clouded Eyes blinked, still reddened from the smoke;
since, stemmed with thorn and heather, they had,
at last, his passages cruelly on fire set,
and thus came he out, sickened and choked.
Mîm spat in the sand and thus he spoke:
The blinking of his eyes, reddened from the smoke, the stemmed passages set on fire, Mîm being sickened and choked fit all together with him spitting before he speaks. That means here is no way around the fact, that we are at the present time and not looking back into Mîm’s past. Thus we can at least be certain that Mîm was smoked out of his ‘den’ (wherever that was) just in the moment before he uttered what we could call his Lament.
A farther point of importance here is that what follows is in direct speech (layed by the author into the mouth of Mîm). That must not apply to all the text that follows, but for much of it, since Mîm is often addressed by ‘I’ in the rest of the text, and the style of the text in many passages, with the repeating onomatopoeic ‘tink-tonk’ or ‘tom-tom-tap’ marks it as very homogeneous and a bit in contrast to what had been written so fare. It is sad that no speech marks were used in the translation (maybe following the original text). But in the German use that is more understandable, since they would normally not been repeated at the beginning of each paragraph. Thus if all that follows is in direct speech, in the translation would have been only before the first ‘Tink-tink-tink, …’ that follows immediately and at the final End behind ‘… Keine Zeit zum Denken!’ The English use with a repeated speech mark at the beginning of each paragraph would have been very helpful, but I would here argue that H. J. Schütz, the translator would have marked the difference and incorporated a clear indication if in the original any part of what followed would have been clearly not in direct speech. Therefore, for me the reminder of the text is in Mîm’s words.
Quote:
Tink-tink-tink, tink-tonk, tonk-tonk, tink!
No time to eat, no time to drink, tonk, tink!
Tink, tonk, no time, tonk-tink, no time to waste!
No time to sleep! All night, all day, always in haste!
This is a back reference to ‘the work of his hand, … with hassle without end’ from the beginning.
Quote:
Hammered and bended to shape the silver and gold,
and small hard stones, glittering and cold.
Tink-tink, green and amber, tink-tink, blue and pale:
Under my hands quietly did sprout and swell
long leaves and flowers, and red eyes glowed
in beasts and birds between blossoms and bough.
We learn that Mîm was not only a goldsmith but as well a cutter of gemstone and that his works were depictions of nature – leaves, flowers and animated things with eyes. We reach here the end of the poem and change to prose text, but it is sure that the next sentence is still direct speech of Mîm, since it states works were ‘things my eyes had seen’.
Quote:
All the things, that my eyes had seen, when they were still clear, when I was young and the world was kind.
This is the first glimpse we get for Mîm's inspiration. But not so much for the time when he fashioned his works. The inspiration clearly comes from his young times long ago.
Quote:
How have I spent myself, to make them more lasting than memory!
The first part is difficult to translate and I have taken some liberties here. The German reads ‘Wie habe ich mich geknechtet, sie dauerhafter zu machen als die Erinnerung!‘ German ‘Knecht‘ means ‘farmhand’, ‘minion’, ‘vassal’. ‘geknechtet’ is past tense of ‘knechten’, which means to bring someone, who is firmly under your control, to do some toilsome work. In German this can easily be used for a think some does to himself or - as here - something you have done to yourself. The connotation is that Mîm had in a way forced himself to make these artefacts. If some one has a better idea how to transport that connotation back to English, I would gladly learn. The second part is easier to translate but maybe more difficult to understand. I think that it means that these artefacts are not only depictions of the beauty seen by Mîm in his youth, they are means to wake again the same feelings as experienced in youth when confronted with the beauty of nature. That is, way I think they are not (at least not purely) naturalistic. At least in their intention they are as well impressionistic (and since Mîm finds his work is good, they seem to work in that way).
Quote:
And they sprouted from my heart and formed under my hands, bent and combined into strange and beautiful images – always growing and changing, and yet ever routed in the memory of the world and my love for it.
Here again we have contrast been impressionistic (‘sprouted from my heart’) and naturalistic (‘routed in the memory of the world’).
Quote:
One day I stopped awhile and raised my head, and my hands rested on the stony workbench. I looked at my work. Since out of Mîm it had grown, yet it was Mîm no more, and he marvelled thereat.
Here we come to one of the strange shifts in perspective. My translation is relatively straightforward, and there is no question that the same shift is in the German text. The first two parts of the last sentence - ‘Denn aus Mîm war es erwachsen, doch es war Mîm nicht mehr,‘ in German - would still be okay in direct speech. But ‘und er staunte darob.‘ is unusual, especially because in the next sentence we shift back to ‘ich’/’I’ in reference to Mîm. I am sure that ‘er’ is not a mistake for the more natural ‘ich’. The book is celebrating 10 years annual of the publisher. It was surely lectures with all care they could put into it. Therefore, I think, Schütz had to defend his use of ‘er’, and in that case the most natural defence is that he followed the original closely in this respect.
Quote:
Jewels I beheld, glowing in the light of my small forge-fire, and now they lay in my brown hand, old now, yet still slender and crafty.
What I translated with ‘Jewels’ reads ‘Juwelen’ in the German text. I don’t think it is a ‘false friend’ on my side (nor on the side of H. J. Schütz), but I have some doubts about the translation here. I would have expected (in the English original) a more general term in this place, referring not only to gems but to all the kind of artefacts Mîm had made. But since we don’t have the original text to cross check, ‘Jewels’ seem the best I could use for the back translation. Here we learn a bit more about the time Mîm made his artefacts: When he halts for a while his hand is ‘brown’ and ‘old’, that means either he really spent a very long time on that work or he worked long after his days of inspiration in his youth.
Quote:
And I thought: Mîm was very clever. Mîm had worked very hard. Mîm had a fire in him, hotter than the hearth. But Mîm had poured it almost all into these things. They are a piece of Mîm, since without them there is little left of him.
In this reporting by Mîm of his own thoughts the use of Mîm instead of a pronoun seems quiet natural to me (at least in the German text). What we he reports is, I think, a first sign that his inspiration is failing at last and instead some possessiveness setts in: ‘he poured it almost all’ and ‘without them little is left of him’. In addition, it is very much like Sauron and the One Ring. As long as Mîm does possess his artefacts it is well form him, but when he losses them he is diminished.
Quote:
So I thought about a right way to store them, like goods in a storehouse, that wise memory my find them again. For everywhere they lay on the floor, or hung in the corners, and some hung on pegs on the walls – like the pages of an ancient book of dwarven-law, which time had worn and the winds have devastated.
The description of how the Mîm’s artefacts were cluttered in his smithy, sound for me not like he had any kind of possessiveness felt before, rather like an obsessive artificer, putting his works heedless a side as soon as he is satisfied with how he has shaped them. Here again I have some doubts about the German translation: ‘hung in the corners, and some hung on pegs on the walls’ reads in the German text ‘angehängt in den Winkeln, und manche hingen an Pflöcken von den Wänden’. ‘angehängt in den Winkel’ is by itself a bit unusual. ‘angehängt an Winkeln’ would be more natural but is a full repetition in sense of what follows, ‘angehäuft in den Winkel’ would fit nicely between the first part the ‘pegs on the Wall’. So ‘angehängt’ could be a misprint for ‘angehäuft’, seeing that there are only two letters have to be shifted. But we can not be sure and thus have to take the text as it stands. Next are the ‘books of dwarven-lore’. The German ‘Zwergengeschichten’ transports, at least for me, a wrong connotation: It is to near to ‘fairy tales’. ‘-lore’ is a good translation of ‘-geschichten’ but does not transport that connotation (I think, and therefore I mention it here). ‘-tales’ would in this respect maybe be nearer to the German text, but since I found the connotation not fitting I used ‘-lore’. By the way, this picture of the torn book reminds me strongly on the Book of Mazarbul from The Lord of the Rings.
Quote:
Clap-clip-clatter! Crack-tap, tom-tom-tap! Tack-Tack! Timber and bones to me! No time to lose. The work begins. Think, saw, whittle, chisel, rasp, rattle. No time to rest. Thus, I crafted my big chest, furnished with boxes and secret drawers. Dragon-guards glowered from the lid, twined and twisting up from their grasping claws. The hinges rested between their sharp teeth. Ancient dwarves with axes flanked its mighty claps. Clap-clap, tack-tack! Hammer and nail, tink-tonk, the key was forged and bound by magic. Well done!
As in the beginning of his speech Mîm describes his own working very onomatopoeic. Mark specially how he comes back to the ‘tink-tonk’ used at the beginning for his work on gold and silver, when working the metal of the key.
Some remarks on the back translation:
‘kralligen Klauen’ => ‘grasping claws’: I don’t know if or how to transport back the German repetition of ‘kralligen Klauen’. ‘Kralle’ is used in German for a single talon while ‘Klaue’ means the ‘claw’ as a limb or appendage with more than on talon. Thus ‘talon embattled claws’ would possibly work, but I don’t think that was the original reading. That some repetition was in the original can be seen in the phrases just before this with the ‘verschlungen und sich hochwindend’, which both would translate to ‘twisting’.
‘Wohlan!’ => ‘Well done!’ Someone any better idea here? ‘Wohlan’ is not much used nowadays in German. The first reference that comes to mind is Schiller’s Glocke where it is used as kind of encouragement for the companions in the work to be started. But that use does not fit here entirely and even if, I have no clou how I would translate in that case. Maybe the original had a simple ‘Lo!’, but than I would have rather expected ‘Siehe!’ which would fit not badly in the German translation.
Quote:
The great lid felt close and my weary eyes too. Long did I sleep with the head upon my treasure chest, my hoard of memories and bygone years.
The long sleep with the head on the treasure (chest), just after that treasure was acquired and secured, is so much dragon like, isn’t it? Maybe it is another symptom of the Dragon-sickness?
Quote:
Did I sleep long? I know not how much time passed. The forge-fire was cold, but choking smoke roused me. Men came and robbed all that I possessed: the ore, that a long time ago I had dug out of the rock, the small piles of gems; and they bore my chest away. They smoked me out like a rat, and in mocking mercy they made me run like a wild beast, through burning thorns and heather around my deep home. They laughed as I kicked the hot ash, and the wind snatched away my curses. My reddened eyes could find no path; and all I could save, was a sack of small tools and underneath an old, tattered cloak in a black sheath my secret knife with the poisoned runes on its blade. Often have I sharpened it, spitting on the edge until it shone under the cruel stars in the dark and dreary places.
Now here we have clearly a robbery. It might be the same as that mentioned at the beginning as the description is very similar. But how could Mîm come out of his ‘den’ in the beginning, if beforehand he had been smoked out and by mocking mercy had been made run like a wild beast, through burning thorns and heather, not finding a way with his reddened eyes? For me at least it seems impossible that we have here mid-sentence a shift of perspective from Mîm reflecting his past to him being actually mishandled. Therefore I think at least the smoking out happened twice: Once here in his past after his time of inspiration, his time of work and his time of rest and then a second time just before he uttered his lament. The ‘dark and dreary places’ are interesting as well. When did he sharpen his knife there? Earlier, before his time of work? I don’t think so. It is rather the first glimpse we get of the time that follows: Mîm’s long wandering in homeless and cold paths.
Quote:
Thus they took from Mîm all his memories and all the joyful leaps and bounds of his mind, making of them gems for their sword hilts, rings for greedy fingers and moons and stars and artless ornaments for the breasts of haughty ladies. They bartered them for petty kingdoms and false friendships; they lusted for them; they murdered for them and darkened the gold with blood of their kin. There is a fire in the memories of the dwarves of old, and a craft goes out of their slender hands, that drives Men to madness, though they know nothing about it.
This is the one paragraph of the text that could be told by the narrator instead of Mîm, but I doubt it. The joyful leaps and bounds of his mind are to much of an inside to be told from a narrator. And anyhow there is no reason why Mîm should not tell this himself. And it would as well not help to explain some perspective shift. Since that if it occurred must have been earlier in the text. What follow is one of the clearest descriptions of the symptoms of Dragon-sickness we have - even so as yet no Dragon is involved, beside the images on the chest - but only the handicraft of the old dwarves. And that functions as a lead-over to the next part.
Quote:
But now I am old and embittered, and in my shelter in the wild hills I must try the work, the echo of my memories to catch, before they totally elapse. Alas, still my work is good; but it is haunted now. The freshness is missing, a veil lies between me and things, that I see and create, as if the shapes and lights were scattered in a mist of tears. What I have once created, I glimpse fleeting, but not that which once I saw.
This now is a jump forward. Mîm does not tell us more about his homeless time of wandering. He has found a ‘Zuflucht’/‘shelter’, the narrator called it a ‘Bau’/‘den’, not a ‘deep home’/’tiefes Heim’, that he had possessed before the robbery. He is now ‘old and embittered’ not ‘old now, yet still slender and crafty’. ‘Alas, still my work is good’ can only mean that he is not missing the handicraft to fashion new artefacts, but rather the right inspiration. And he goes on to explain that in more detail. Cumulating the statement that he only can remember the artifacts he made earlier but no longer the real things that inspired them. For me that marks these earlier artefacts as impressionistic, since a really good naturalistic artefact if remembered in sufficient detail would be re-creatable.
Quote:
I am dangerous they say, full of hate and malice, old Mîm, the petty-dwarf. If you touch me, I will bite with blackened teeth or stab in the dark, and nothing can heal the wounds from my knife. They don’t dare to come near me; but shoot arrows at me from a distance if I come out to look at the sun. It was not always so, and it is not good that it is so now.
Here we have Mîm’s telling of his interactions with his ‘neighbours’ – whoever they might be, they are living near enough to his ‘shelter’ to encounter him, when he ‘comes out to see the sun’. It is unclear how this toxic relationship started. But mistrusted on both sides is clearly a factor. Because first he tells that they call him dangerous, but than he confirms that he would bite and stap in the dark if they touch him. Thus they shun him and shoot at him from a distance. The examples sound similar but are not identical to what we hear about Mîm’s relationship to Túrins band.
At the end of this passage, we get a deep inside view to Mîm’s mind: ‘It was not always so,’ to which time can that refer? Mîm’s time of homeless wandering - Rather not since what we know is that he is often sharpening his knife. Mîm’s time of rest – most unlikely as he is unconscious. Mîm’s time of work – maybe, but he seems to be very obsessed with his work. So most probably his time of inspiration or before in his early youth.
‘it is not good that it is so now.’ So at least he is regretting the change.
Quote:
The course of the world is become crooked and dubious, deceit goes about, things creep up out of dark places, and under my fingers grows fear instead of joy.
Here Mîm is blaming the outer world for what goes wrong in his life. He might not be absolutely wrong, since we know he lived in darkening times, but in part it might as well be his attitude towards the world that causes part of the darkening for him.
Quote:
If I could but forgive, it might nonetheless be possible to shape a leaf, a flower with dew upon it, as it once glistened beside Tarn Aeluin, when I was young and felt for the first time the cleverness of my fingers.
We learn a lot here: Mîm nonetheless does know the way of healing. His time of inspiration had at least in part been in Dorthonion. Since he than ‘felt for the first time the cleverness of his fingers’ we learn that his time of work either overlapped with his time of inspiration or followed immediately. So it is clear that he worked for a very, very long time from ‘when I was young and felt for the first time the cleverness of my fingers’ to ‘my brown hand, old now, yet still slender and crafty’.
Quote:
But Mîm cannot forgive. The embers still smoulder in his heart. Tink-tonk, tonk-tink! No time to think!
This is the tragic end of the text. Mîm can not forgive. The memories of the wrongs done to him are to deep. He only can stand them or drive them out of his mind by working farther. The ‘Tink-tonk, tonk-tink!’ don’t mean he is actually gone back into his smoked out ‘den’ to smith again, but rather that he has shifted his focus back to work, equally to the beginning of his speech, when he is not actually smithing anything, but only recounting his time of work. And that is than emphasised by his last uttering of ‘No time to think!’

So what can we make out of it? At least a kind of sequence of events or periods of Mîm’s life:
- Mîm’s time of inspiration in his youth: He spent some time in Dorthonion around Tarn Aeluin, was inspired by the beauty of nature and had good relationships to other beings around him.
- Mîms time of work: probably it in the beginning overlapped with the time of inspiration and it lasted very long. He had at least at the end of this time a ‘deep home’. The contact to his surrounding must have died down at the end at least, due to his obsession with his work. The result were many beautiful artefacts.
- Mîm’s time of possessiveness and his time of rest: He makes his treasure chest and sleeps on it.
- The robbery: ‘Men/fiends’ come and smoke him out of his deep home. They robe his ore and gems and carry away his chest. They chase him away from his home.
- Mîm’s time of homeless wandering: we do not know how long this lasted, but it is not just a short episode since we hear of long paths wandered and often sharping his knife.
- Mîm’s time in his ‘shelter’: He must be long enough in this place to have some encounter with his neighbours and develop the toxic relationship. He tries and fails in re-creating artefacts like of old.
- He is smoked out of his shelter, but we do not know, if he is driven forth from it. We only know that he utters his lament. So someone is around to hear it. But it’s not clear, who that is. Probably not the ‘they’ that smoked him out and as well not his neighbours that shot at him with arrows from afar, when he came out to see the sun. But I could well imagine that these neighbours could have smoke him out.

How that combines with all the other stuff we learn in the legendarium about Mîm, is quiet another cane of worms.

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Old 09-13-2023, 01:16 PM   #20
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Thanks for the long and detailed analysis!

I agree with most points, but I still don't get this and expecially the part in bold:

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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
Now here we have clearly a robbery. It might be the same as that mentioned at the beginning as the description is very similar. But how could Mîm come out of his ‘den’ in the beginning, if beforehand he had been smoked out and by mocking mercy had been made run like a wild beast, through burning thorns and heather, not finding a way with his reddened eyes? For me at least it seems impossible that we have here mid-sentence a shift of perspective from Mîm reflecting his past to him being actually mishandled. Therefore I think at least the smoking out happened twice: Once here in his past after his time of inspiration, his time of work and his time of rest and then a second time just before he uttered his lament.
Do you imagine the prose part to happen before the poem?

To me all your points seems to indicate that the two pieces desribe the same event, but maybe I am missing something...

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Old 09-14-2023, 04:27 AM   #21
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I would not split between prose and poem. Part of the poem and the prose are Mîm speaking to us "Mîm's speech", while the first paragraph of the poem (16 lines) is a kind of "introduction". That would be my split. And as a matter of fact everything the introduction is telling us must have happened before Mîm utters his speech.

But how long before we do not know. E.g. 'Long paths he had wandered, homeless and cold' had happened most likely a longer time before Mîm stood before his den.

Nonetheless some of what the introduction is telling us must have happened very recently. Or at least the German text does strongly suggest that. Line 12 'His clouded Eyes blinked, still reddened from the smoke;' is without any question describing Mîm when he steps out of his den just in the moment before he uttered his speech. Why would you tell us of a blinking eye in an event long past? If we would not have lines 13 to 15 in between I would think that the smoke that reddened his eyes would have been from his forge-fire. But the lines 13 to 15 make clear that we see Mîm coming out because 'they had,/ at last, his passages cruelly on fire set'.

Now the 'they' from line 13 finds most naturally its reference in 'the fiends' of line 9. If that is the reference, then the events described in lines 7 to 11 had as well most naturally happened recently.

Taken by itself, nothing speaks against that. But then we read Mîm recount what sounds like the same event as in line 7 to 11. This offers two issues:

- Mîm tells us: ‘They smoke me out like a rat, and in mocking mercy they made me run like a wild beast, through burning thorns and heather around my deep home. They laughed as I kicked the hot ash, and the wind snatched away my curses.’ This does not fit the introduction where just before he begins to utter his speech Mîm ‘came … out, sickened and choked.’

- What follows in Mîm’s speech after he is smoked out, is still a long story: he has dealings with his neighbours, he tries and fails to re-create some artefacts. That does as well not fit the introduction where Mîm comes out, with reddened eyes from the smoke and still sickened and choking and immediately speaks to us.

I see 3 possible ways out of this dilemma:

1) The introduction line 7 to 15 and Mîm’s speech do not refer to the same events. This would for the introduction work very well. Since it then tells us things in the right sequence: Mîm’s time of homeless wandering – the ‘fiends’ robbing him and setting his passages on fire – he comes out and speaks. But this seems unlikely since the description especially of the robbery is very similar.

2) Introduction line 7 to 11 refer to the same event as Mîm in his speech, but introduction line 12 to 15 refer to some other independent event that happened recently. In that case we still have some similarities in the two smoking outs but as well enough differences. Issues with this solution are the reference for the ‘they’ in line 13 becomes unclear and the introduction becomes unusual in the order of telling things. First the homeless wandering, then the earlier robbery of his artefacts and then the most recent burning of the passages of Mîm’s den.

3) H. J. Schütz did use a bit too much poetical liberty in the lines 12 to 16 of the introduction. That Schütz was not the most skilled translator when it comes to rhymes is attested in his translation of the two volumes of the Lost Tales: he made line by line translations of the poems in these bocks but didn’t use a single rhyme. That he struggled as well with Mîms Klage seems clear from some unusual rhyming couples and sentences ordered strangely. Some such cases concern us here: In line 10 and 11 the ordering of the sentence is very unusual. The line break between ‘und eine lange Klinge’ and ‘in einer Scheide unterm zerfetzen Mantel’ is acceptable but not very good. He needs it for the end rhyme ‘Dinge’ - ‘Klinge’. But then the ‘, vergiftet auch.’ Is a very unusual addon to the sentence. I would even call it strange. Together with the line break before, it disturbs the reading flow badly and leads to a kind of staccato with in this sentence. Schütz does use it for the rhyming couple ‘auch’ – ‘Rauch’ in lines 11 and 12.
The next couple ‘zuletzt’ – ‘gesetzt’ is as well a bit suspicious. ‘zuletzt’, ‘at last’, is superfluous. It looks like Schütz introduced it to get a rhyme with ‘in Brand gesetzt’.
And the last couple ‘Erbrechen’ – ‘sprechen’ is forced. ‘fast am Erbrechen.’ in line 15 is really bad German. Especially taking the time into account, when Schütz made this translation. Today such a construction with a substantive and the use of ‘am’ to describe what someone does (or nearly does in this case) is common in some German slangs. But I would still call it a sign of a degenerative speech, much more so 1986-7.
So what do I make out of this? Well, maybe Schütz changed the order of the lines here to get any rhyme going at all in his translation, we don’t know. But I could at least imaging that the clear impression from the German text that lines 12 and 15 must refer to recent events was not in the original English text. That would explain as well why we have in line 4 ‘One evening Mîm stood before his den’, while later in line 15 we have ‘and thus came he out’: If lines 5 to 15 all tell us some back ground about Mîm’s past, then he does in line 15 come out of his burning ‘deep home’ after the robbery of his artefacts and not out of his ‘den’ right before he uttered his speech.

As nice as solution 3) is, we do not have much evidence for it. And if it is true, it would make the back translation extremely difficult.

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Old 09-14-2023, 11:14 AM   #22
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Oh, just noticed this
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I'm still hoping for a copy of the Zimmerman script treatment,
I talked about this with Bill Fliss (Marquette has it, with Tolkien's annotations), but unfortunately the copyright status is a hopeless mess. TLDR, Zimmerman's heirs hate each other and aren't speaking, so agreement on anything is not in the cards.
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Old 09-14-2023, 02:34 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post

I see 3 possible ways out of this dilemma:

1)
I think I start to understand what you mean, but for me the most "simple" reading is as follows:

- Poem lines 1-6: Mim is 200 years old, he leaves is cave and starts to think about the past.
- Poem lines 7-15: Past event are described vividly: Mim is driven out by fire from his tunnel (a former den)
- Poem lines 16-26: Back in the present (the sand connects the lines): he starts his complaint... he is in a haste to rebuild his treasure.

- Prose §1 [Alle Dinge, die meine....viel ubrig von ihm.]: Mim speaks about the past and the treasures he produced.
- Prose §2 [So sann ich...verwehter Jahre.]: Still in the past, Mim builds a chest for his treasures
- Prose §3 [Schlief ich...an öden Orten.]: Same event as in the poem 7-15; Mim is smoked out of his cave and left with a few tools and a poisoned blade
- Prose §4&&5 [So nahmen sie...Tranen zerspellt + Was früher ich...Zeit zum Denken!]: A link between past and present. Mim was left bitter from the robbery and he has lost the inspiration to create.

So in the poem we have [Present] + [Past] + [Present] and in the prose fragment [Past] + [Present]

In my interpretation sentences like "His clouded Eyes blinked, still reddened from the smoke" are there to trasmit the urgency of the action and not the fact poem lines 7-15 are immediately after 16-26.

On the other hand the whole discussion leads me to re-evaluate the chronology I have proposed in the pdf I shared some time ago: he was not 200 years old when driven out of his caves (Nulukkizdîn?) --> he was 200 years when he rethinks about the past in his new den (Sharbund?).

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Old 09-15-2023, 06:04 AM   #24
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You might have expected it: I disagree (in parts) with your “simple” reading.

- Poem lines 1 – 6: Agreed. It might not be very important, but the text does not state that he leaves the cave. He stands before it, so he could have arrived there coming from some other place just in that moment.

- Poem lines 7 – 15: Possible, but line 12 reads really much like referring to the present in German. The construction with the German ‘noch’ means a temporary state soon to be changed. The correct construction for past time reference would be ‘waren noch’, so some liberty must be granted here. But together with blinking eyes, that are of no significance in a broad recapturing of the past as we have it in the lines before, these cries ‘present!’ to me.
And there is a strong connection between line 15 ‘erstickt und fast am Erbrechen’ und line 16 ‘Mîm spie in den Sand’. As said in my last post, Schütz might have changed some line to get the rhyme going, and here he needed maybe ‘erbrechen’ – ‘sprechen’, but we don’t know and as it stands, there is a strong suggestion that Mîm spit into the sand, because he nearly vomited from the chocking smoke recently experienced. (I suspect that line 15 might have been internally turned for the ‘erbrechen’ – ‘sprechen’ rhyme, and that what Schütz translated ‘und so kam er heraus’ was in the original English text some thing like *thus he escaped*. Which would exchange the strong connection we have to a much weaker. A farther possibility would be, that the blinking eyes belong rather here and are a sign for the jump back into present. But then the reddened eyes from the smoke are a bit lost, and I don’t think they are an addition of Schütz – why should he add ‘Rauch’ when he did not find any better rhyme than ‘auch’ in that rather strange construction of a sentence?)

- Poem lines 16 – 26: I strongly disagree! Even so it is a correct reading that Mîm is obsessed with the work, in the description of the artefacts even in the German translation the beauty shines through that does fit to Mîm’s earlier work, not the ‘Spuk’ of his later tries. And that he was obsessed even in his earlier work is confirmed in Prose §1.

- Prose §1: Agreed.

- Prose §2: Agreed. (I will not change your numbering, but there is a paragraph break between ‘… das die Winde verwüstet hatten.’ and ‘Klapp-klipp-ratsch! …’)

- Prose §3: I agree that we have a very strong similarity between the Event described here and Poem lines 7 – 11, so that these are most likely the same event. But I still have some doubts about Poem lines 12 – 15 as discussed above, even so I see the similarities in these parts as well.

- Prose §4&§5: I agree, more or less. But the paragraph break is not between ‘… Tränen zerspellt.’ and ‘Was früher ich …’. It is between ‘… selbst wenn sie davon nichts ahnen.’ and ‘Nun aber bin ich alt und verbittert …’. This makes a lot of sense since that is were we change from the past (recounting the effect of the treasure on the robbers) to the present (Mîm in his old age).

By the way: I (now) have read your article and find it alighting. Specially the outer chronology is use full.
But I hesitate about your calculation of Mîm’s age. The reference to him being 200 years old in line 6 comes after the time of Mîm’s homeless wandering is mentioned. And from the inner logic of what else is told in Mîms Klage that time should come after he was robbed of his treasure and smoked out of his ‘deep home’.
Your combining of Mîm being robbed and smoked out of his deep home with the building of Nargothrond by Finrod is tempting, but how could he cooperate at first if his ‘deep home’ from Mîms Klage was one of the caves of Narog? Was he willing to share it with the Elves? In addition I think Prose §5 ‘… so wie er einst glänzte am Tarn Aeluin, als ich jung war und zum ersten Mal spürte, wie geschickt meine Finger waren.’ could mean that Mîm’s ‘deep home’ in which he created his treasure was near Tarn Aeluin.

If you like, here is my very much fan-fictional take on Mîm’s life:
- As a young Petty-Dwarf he lived in a ‘deep home’ near Tarn Aeluin. I suppose with some companions, since as obsessed as he is with his work, he would need them for survival. Anyhow it would be unusual for the leader of the Petty-Dwarves (what Mîm is according to The Founding of Nargothrond from NoME) to live alone. So I assume all Petty-Dwarves lived with him at that time.
- As that area was or came under the control of Finrod, Mîm build a good relationship with him.
- In Beren and Lúthien Christopher Tolkien refers to a note of his father stating that the Nauglamír was original made by the Dwarves for Finrod. So we let Mîm be the artist to fashion it and give it him during their time of good relationship, maybe in exchange for the protection that the siege of the Elves offered for the Petty-Dwarves of eastern Dorthonion.
- Now Finrod plans to build Nargothrond. He approaches Mîm for help. Mîm agrees and helps in the planning, since he thinks the Petty-Dwarves have no longer a need for the Caves of Narog.
- Now Tarn Aeluin is in the east of Dorthonion, which might have been a contested territory, since Celegrom and Curufin hold the neighbouring Aglon Pass. And we know that they had fortresses on both sides of the Pass. We also know they despised the aboriginal inhabitants, even if they were of the same race (e.g. Eöl). So Curufin and Celegrom are the attackers that rob Mîm’s treasure and smoke him out of his ‘deep home’ near Tarn Aeluin, killing many of his companions, thus eliminating the Petty-Dwarf colony of Dorthonion and taking Mîm’s treasure as their own.
- What follows is Mîm’s homeless wandering. Now he has a grudge against Elves in general and Finrod in special: Mîm had paid Finrod for protecting him and his people, but Finrod had failed to do so. He send his people back to the Caves of Narog and goes on his failed mission to kill Finrod either somewhere in Dorthonion or in Minas Tirth. Mîm’s flight from the place of that failed assassination is still part of his homeless wandering of long paths.
- After the failed assassination of Mîm, Finrod employs the Dwarves of Ered Luin and the begins the actual building of Nargothrond. The Petty-Dwarves that they encounter in the Caves of Narog, show their hostility and are driven out by the Ered Luin Dwarves.
- Now Mîm and the Petty-Dwarves driven out of the Caves of Narog meet at Amon Rudh, which seems to be a kind of first settlement of the Petty-Dwarves in Beleriand (therefore named rather a shelter and a den, than a home). But as the population is sharply diminished by the raid on the ‘deep home’ in Dorthonion and the driving out from Nargothrond it farther dwindles (probably by dying of old age, hunger, …) until only Mîm and his two sons are left.
- After Dagor Bargolach Curufin and Celegorm join Finrod in Nargothrond. For their actions in Nargothrond against Finrod’s leadership they employ the artefacts of Mîm. Thus ‘they battered them for petty kingdoms and false friendships’. Cumulating in their betrayal of Finrod when they learn of his captivity, thus they ‘darkened the gold with blood of their kin.’
- When Celegorm and Curufin are driven forth from Nargothrond most of the treasure is left behind.
- Mîm is captured by Túrins Band and Khîm is slain by the arrow of Androg. Grudgingly Mîm allows them to live on Amon Rudh, when Túrin promises: ‘if ever I come to any wealth, I will pay you a ransom of heavy gold for your son’.
- If line 7-15 of Mîms Klage refer all to the past, then Mîm doth utter his lament sometimes early during Túrin’s stay in Amon Rudh. The friendship he builds to Túrin is most likely the result of his uttering of ‘it is not good that it is so now’.
- Beleg comes to Amon Rudh and Mîm’s hope for a friendship with Túrin is stalled.
- Mîm betrays Túrin and his band.
- Mîm tries to kill Beleg, but flies from Androg.
- Túrin comes to Nargothrond and raises to a kind of leader there. From Mîm’s perspective one could say that he had come to some wealth and he (naturally) fails to give Mîm the ransom he promised for the death of Khîm.
- Glaurung now occupies Nargothrond and the hoard in which beside the Nauglamîr are many other artefacts of Mîm battered out or left behind by Celegrom and Curufin.
- After Glaurungs departure and death by the hand of Túrin, Mîm comes to Nargothrond. He takes possession of the halls that where of Petty-Dwarf origin any how and he claims the treasure on several grounds: the Nauglamîr he claims back as Finrod failed in protecting him and his people, the other Artefacts of his treasure as stolen from him, part of the gold as ransom for Khîm having become available by the dead of Túrin how promised it, part as ransom for his peopled killed by the Ered Luin Dwarves on behalf of Finrod. Thus he can say to Húrin: ‘by many a dark spell have I bound it to myself’.
- When Húrin comes to Nargothrond Mîm is killed, but curses the hoard (farther) with his dying breath.
- Húrin’s band brings the hoard to Menegroth. When after Húrins departure they try to claim the hoard for themselves, they are killed by the Elves.
- Thingol employs the Dwarves of Nogrod and Belegost to fashion the unwrought gold and silver and to join the Nauglamír with the Silmaril.
- When the dwarves are done with that work Thingol shortens his promised payment to have enough silver for a double throne he fancied. The Dwarves leave Menegroth unpaid an embittered.
- Ibun, the second son of Mîm, brings the news of Mîm’s death to Belegost. He joins the invasion force of the Dwarves and takes over the role of Ufedhin in the conversation with Melian and in the failed double assassination of Naugladur. And then he ‘fled gasping from that place, for the long fingers of the Indrafang had well-nigh choked him … and little but a tortured heart got he from the Gold of’ his father.

Well, wouldn’t that be a tale worth the telling?

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Old 09-15-2023, 07:51 AM   #25
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They traded [Mim's treasures] for petty kingdoms and false friendships; they lusted for them; they killed for them and blackened the gold with the blood of their kin.
They who? Straight away, I don't think they can be Orcs - they would certainly kill each other for gold (and "blackened with blood" would work well), but in the days of Morgoth's reign I can't imagine Orcs would be allowed to rule kingdoms. (The German here is "Königreiche", definitely "kingdoms" rather than "domains" or something.)

But Findegil, above, has suggested that they could be Celegorm and Curufin. I think this might fit really well, if we allow Mim a little metaphor, and if we suppose that the takeover of Nargothrond was obtained in part by paying off the Nargothrondrim with Mim's gold. Cel'n'Cur traded the gold for Nargothrond (built by Mim's people, so literally a petty kingdom ), and for the fickle friendship of the locals. In their turn, the locals lusted after the gold, to the point that they sent their king out to die. They may not have killed him themselves, but his blood was on their hands and treasures, just as the blood of the Kinslayings was on the Silmarils.

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Old 09-15-2023, 02:14 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
You might have expected it: I disagree (in parts) with your “simple” reading.
Indeed I was expecting it, but what a dull discussion would be if we all agree?

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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
- Poem lines 16 – 26: I strongly disagree! Even so it is a correct reading that Mîm is obsessed with the work, in the description of the artefacts even in the German translation the beauty shines through that does fit to Mîm’s earlier work, not the ‘Spuk’ of his later tries. And that he was obsessed even in his earlier work is confirmed in Prose §1.
One possible interpretation here might be: he has just found is new home, he thinks about the past leaving the cave, he spits on the ground and sings about what he intend to make. Later, in the prose, he realises he is not able to do so.

It is also possible that this part is still in the past, but we loose the connection with the "Sand" of the first line (an important word as linked with rime). On the other hand, in my interpretation at least, the piece would become: Poem: [Present] + [Past] | Prose: [Past] + [Present]...kind of simmetrical...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
By the way: I (now) have read your article and find it alighting. Specially the outer chronology is use full.
But I hesitate about your calculation of Mîm’s age. The reference to him being 200 years old in line 6 comes after the time of Mîm’s homeless wandering is mentioned. And from the inner logic of what else is told in Mîms Klage that time should come after he was robbed of his treasure and smoked out of his ‘deep home’.
I agree, that's what I meant in my previous post: I should redo my calculations -200 years at least.

One possibility I discarded when I checked that was that the people of Beor had chased the petty dwarves from Tarn Aeluin. I need to check again the chronology to see if, with the new hypotheses, that could be a fit...

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Originally Posted by Findegil View Post
If you like, here is my very much fan-fictional take on Mîm’s life:
I like this story! I am sure a great fan fiction might come of it...
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