Monday, October 12, 2009


Going through my private manuscript hoard again, and I've discovered another snippet from the writings of Ioannis de Ultima Thule, this time taken from his Commentarium in librum rubrum occidensmerci, long thought to be utterly lost. Only the beginning of a single question is preserved in the codex I've examined, and it begins Quartum, quaeritur utrum unus anulus habeat aliquantulus esse? Et videtur quod non . . . I translate the fragment below:

Whether the One Ring has any kind of being? And it seems not:

For the One Ring neither exists now, nor did it exist at any time in the past, for it is legendary [fabulosus]. But whatever exists at no time has no being, ergo etc.

On the contrary: whatever is the object of knowledge exists, for of nothing nothing is known. But of the One Ring many things are known, for instance, the names of its possessors: Sauron, Isildur, Smeagol, Bilbo, Frodo. Ergo, etc.

Again, we may indicate the Ring's exemplary cause, namely elvish lore [doctrina Eldaliae seu Larum antiquorum]; its efficient cause, namely the Dark Lord [Dominus ater seu anularius magnus]; its formal cause, namely roundness [figura orbis]; its material cause, namely gold [aurum]; and its final cause, as its own inscription said:

Unus anulus omnes regere, unus anulus eos comperire,
Unus anulus omnes redigere et in caligini eos devincire

But where the cause is posited insofar as it is a cause, the effect is also posited. Ergo, etc.

*The verse, of course, famously concludes in terra Mordor [indcl. n.] ubi tenebrae latunt.

It remains to be seen whether any more fragments, or even the whole work, might surface at some future date when the world's libraries are better catalogued.


Lee Faber said...

I'm not sure if this is awesome or lame.

Michael said...

I'm with you, man. If any more of the work surfaces we might be able to better tell.