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> Dafydd ap Gwilym, Wales' Greatest Poet
post Sep 17 03, 16:54
Post #1


Dafydd ap Gwilym (c1320 to 1370) is Wales' best-known poet. He was born near Aberystwyth ("Mouth of the River Ystwyth") and is burried in Strata Florida Abbey. He excelled at romantic and nature poems.

To quote from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) website: (BBC Website about Dafydd ap Gwilym )
Most of his poems consist of cywyddau in full cynghanedd, each line consisting of seven syllables and arranged in couplets in which a stressed syllable rhymes with an unstressed one. His mastery of such a complicated medium is astonishing, and he gave such prestige to the cywydd that it was, for 300 years, the preferred poetic form of all ambitious Welsh poets.

A RECANTATION by Dafydd ap Gwilym
(The English translation)

I am Morfudd's poet:
I sang to her, it was a costly task.
By Him who rules today
my head aches for the fair girl,
and sickening sorrow wears my brow;
for my golden girl I die.
When death comes, cramping the bones,
with its sharp arrows,
life's end will be stupendous,
man's tongue will become silent.
Lest there come lamentation with great misery
may the Trinity and the Virgin Mary
forgive me for my great offences,
Amen, and I shall sing no more

A RECANTATION by Dafydd ap Gwilym
(The Original Welsh version)

EDIFEIRWCH - Dafydd ap Gwilym

Prydydd i Forfudd wyf fi,
Prid o swydd, prydais iddi.
Myn y Gwr* a fedd heddiw
Mae gwayw i'm pen am wen wiw,
Ac i'm tâl mae gofalglwyf;
Am aur o ddyn marw ydd wyf.
Pan ddêl, osgel i esgyrn,
Angau a'i chwarelau chwyrn,
Dirfawr fydd hoedl ar derfyn,
Darfod a wna tafod dyn.
Y Drindod, rhag cydfod cwyn,
A mawr ferw, a Mair Forwyn
A faddeuo 'ngam dramwy,
Amen, ac ni chanaf mwy.
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post Sep 17 03, 17:06
Post #2


English translation of The Woodland Mass - I have not yet traced the Welsh original.

The Woodland Mass
by Dafydd ap Gwilym

A pleasant place I was at today,
under mantles of the worthy green hazel,
listening at day’s beginning
to the skilful cock thrush
singing a splendid stanza
of fluent signs and symbols;
a stranger here, wisdom his nature,
a brown messenger who had journeyed far,
coming from rich Carmarthenshire
at my golden girl’s command.
About him was a setting
of flowers of the sweet boughs of May,
like green mantles, his chasuble
was of the wings of the wind.
There was here, by the great God,
nothing but gold in the altar’s canopy.
I heard, in polished language,
a long and faultless chanting,
an unhesitant reading to the people
of a gospel without mumbling;
the elevation, on the hill for us there,
of a good leaf for a holy wafer.
Then the slim eloquent nightingale
from the corner of a grove nearby,
poetess of the valley, sings to the many
the Sanctus bell in lively whistling
The sacrifice is raised
up to the sky above the bush,
devotion to God the Father,
the chalice of ecstasy and love.
The psalmody contents me;
it was bred of a birch-grove in the sweet woods.
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post Sep 17 03, 17:09
Post #3


I do not know the title of this but here it is shown in both its original Welsh and its English translation by Rachel Bromwich - an authority on this poet. Her books may be purchased via Amazon.co.uk

Cymraeg (Welsh)...

Cerddais, addolais i ddail,
Tref eurddyn, tra fu irddail.
Digrif fu, fun, un ennyd
Dwyn dan un bedwlwyn ein byd.
Cydlwynach, difyrrach fu,
Coed olochwyd, cydlechu,
Cydfyhwman marian môr,
Cydaros mewn cowed oror,
Cydblannu bedw, gwaith dedwydd,
Cydblethu gweddeiddblu gwydd.*
Cydadrodd serch â'r ferch fain,
Cydedrych caeau didrain.
Crefft ddigerydd fydd i ferch -
Cydgerdded coed â gordderch,
Cadw wyneb, cydowenu,
Cydchwerthin finfin a fu,
Cyd-ddigwyddaw garllaw'r llwyn,
Cydochel pobl, cydachwyn,
Cydfod mwyn, cydyfed medd,
Cydarwain serch, cydorwedd,
Cyd-ddaly cariad ceadwy
Cywir, ni menegir mwy.


I walked, while leaves were green, and gave
my worship to my darling's leafy home.
It was sweet, my love, a while
to live our life beneath the grove of birch,
more sweet was it fondly to embrace
together hid in our woodland retreat,
together to be wandering on the ocean's shore,
together lingering by the forest's edge,
together to plant birches - task of joy -
together weave fair plumage of the trees,
together talk of love with my slim girl,
together gaze on solitary fields.
It is a blameless occupation for a girl
to wander through the forest with her lover,
together to keep face, together smile,
together laugh - and it was lip to lip -
together to lie down beside the grove,
together to shun folk, together to complain,
to live together kindly, drinking mead together,
to rest together and express our love,
maintaining true love in all secrecy:
there is no need to tell any more
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