In the beginning Eru, the One, who in the Elvish tongue is named Iluvatar, made the Ainur of his thought; and they made a great Music before him. In this Music the World was begun; for Iluvatar made visible the song of the Ainur, and they beheld it as a light in the darkness. And many among them became enamoured of its beauty, and of its history which they saw beginning and unfolding as in a vision. Therefore Iluvatar gave to their vision Being, and set it amid the Void, and the Secret Fire was sent to burn at the heart of the World; and it was called Ea. Then those of the Ainur who desired it arose and entered into the World at the beginning of Time; and it was their task to achieve it, and by their labours to fulfil the vision which they had seen. Long they laboured in the regions of Ea, which are vast beyond the thought of Elves and Men, until in the time appointed was made Arda, the Kingdom of Earth. Then they put on the raiment of Earth and descended into it, and dwelt therein.
Thus it came to pass that of the Ainur some abode still with Iluvatar beyond the confines of the World; but others, and among them many of the greatest and most fair, took the leave of Iluvatar and descended into it. But this condition Iluvatar made, or it is the necessity of their love, that their power should thenceforward be contained and
bounded in the World, to be within it for ever, until it is complete, so that they are its life and it is theirs. And therefore they are named the Valar, the Powers of the World. But when the Valar entered into Ea they were at first astounded and at a loss, for it was as if naught was yet made which they had seen in vision, and all was but on point to begin and yet unshaped, and it was dark. For the Great Music had been but the growth and flowering of thought in the Tuneless Halls, and the Vision only a foreshowing; but now they had entered in at the beginning of Time, and the Valar perceived that the World had been but foreshadowed and foresung, and they must achieve it. So began their great labours in wastes unmeasured and unexplored, and in ages uncounted and forgotten, until in the Deeps of Time and in the midst of the vast halls of Ea there came to be that hour and that place where was made the habitation of the Children of Iluvatar. And in this work the chief part was taken by Manwe and Aule and Ulmo;