Page images
PDF
EPUB

IV.

Accursed be the white wood

That drew out his eye from his head:

Gwallog the son of Lleenog, the Sovereign.

v.

Accursed be the green wood

That drew out his eye in his youth:

Gwallog the son of Lleenog, the dignified.

VI. AND VII.

Bull of battle! active in the army;

Leader of a host, his anger caused disquietude.

To pure and blameless life he was a protector.

And with the valiant hero,

Chief of the host of furious spears,

There was stout protection for singers, whoever asked

VIII.

For protection was given to me.
How familiarly art thou greeted?
Dawn of the host! who would stay, (at home) when
thou earnest forth?

XXIV.

I know the place where Gwallog was slain,
Son of the chief of a rightful family,
Lloegria's ruin, Lleenog's son.

This imputed intimacy between Gwallog and Gwyddno is also in favour of the location here assigned to the former.

The original of the following poem is printed in the Myvyrian Archaiology, i. p. 58; but it is not there stated whence it was obtained, and I have been unable to trace it. However it is certainly old, and probably by the same author as the other, whom I have supposed to be Taliesin; but it is very much inferior to its companion, and very much inferior to the other poems of that bard; and we must either assume that he was really very much affected with grief, or that he had exhausted himself in the other poem. I am not without a doubt, however, that the critical judgment of the sixth century would have been less severe; for it contains several illustratior of the peculiar rythmical versification which was much admired at that time, and for many subsequent centuries. This was the practice of repeating the initial syllables of words, of which one instance is found in Merddin, one in Llywarch, several in the poems of Taliesin, and a very large number in the Gododin; but of the poems of Taliesin, this contains the largest proportion of such miscalled beauties; and as I have denoted them by italics, they will be easily discernible. This practise continued until the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, {Literature of the Kymry, pp. 236, 504,) and was specially noted by Giraldus, who informs us that no composition was considered to be elegantly constructed which had not this ornament. This peculiarity could not well be embodied in the translation; I have, in a few instances, represented the form of the original by words of analogous structure; but in the majority of instances this was impracticable, as the flexibility of the Welsh is very much greater than that of the English language.

[ocr errors][graphic][ocr errors]

Nid y gwr dilaw ei ddaered
Gwas greid a gwrhyd gottraed
Eil eichawg Gwallawg yn llywet
Hwyrweddawg gwallawg artebed
Ni ofyn i neb a wnaeth udd
Neud ym udd nac neud ych Darwerther
Tewvedd yn niwedd Haf
Nis cynnydd namyn chwech (chweg?)
Chweccach it gynan o hynnydd
Chwedlawg trwyddedawg traeth dydd
Teyrnedd yngwedd nwys medd mad
Telyg heul haf huenydd soned gan mwyaf
Cenhaf gan ddoeth y gan llu eiliassaf
Bint bydi derwy y bryt haf pryt mab
Lleenawg lliawg hamgwrwl gwmn
Gwawl gwnn gwres tarth gwres tarth
Trangyunis yd engis heb warth
Cledfa cledifa cledifarch nidd am tyrr
Y lu y ledrad nid amescud i gaw ei gywlad
Tyllant tal ysgwydawr rhac taleu ei feirch
O march trwst Morial rith gar riallu
Gwynawg ry gwystlant gweiryd goludawg
O Gaer Glut hyd gaer Garadawg
Ystadl tir penprys a Gwallawg
Teyrnedd tewrn tangweddawg.

The translation:— TO GWALLAWG. In the name of the Ruler of the exalted retinues of Heaven,
They excessively sing, they excessively bewail the Dragon (i. t
leader);He rejected (the aid of) uniform-ranked tribes,
The hosts of Rhun, Nudd, and Nwython.4

4 The reader will find a translation of the first four lines in Pughe's Dictionary, sub voce Gogyfres; but if he refers to the individual words, he will find, what is commonly the case, that the lexico grapher's" translations are utterly inconsistent with each other. In these lines he substitutes Gwledig for Gweledig, as I have done; but he also translates gorchorddion as if it were gorchoddion, misprint i ddragon for y Dragon, and translates it so; and he renders gwrthodes, a verb, having the form of the past tense, and referring to the act of the dead Gwallawg, as if it were in the present tense. I mention these things once for all, in order to account for the discrepancies which may be found between my versions and his Dictionary , I will not adore, as the Bards of Britain do, Wonderful generosity, and the knowledge of the diviner;In place of a master-minstrel of excelling minstrelsy, I will earnestly desire, I will greatly sing to a Ruler.'

In his land (where) there was trembling I did not make, I will not make his lay:Reluctantly I was released, of feasts there was no scarcity;To the Ruler there was no denying The expected ode to the weighty sovereign:In life, until he became the property of the grave, There was not enough of fondness for his conduct. Harder is the fortune of the generous one. He was a host present before Britain;

While there was anxiety the nimble one destroyed excessively,
And there was great damaging, wiping of tears, and much
judging. And all men adjudged the hero, tall, bold,
And furious to be a judge,6 and to be serviceable.
He was not a hero whose revenue was owing;
An ardent youth, the valour of the skirting country,
Gwallawg was like Eichiawg in government,
And of a forbearing aspect was the countenance of Gwallawg.
He does not ask any one what he shall do.
Neither to me nor to you would the Lord sell
Thick mead at the close of summer.
There will be no increase except of sweet mead,
And sweeter will be its utterance on account of the sleeper.
Talkative was the privileged (i. e. the Bard) of the strand, in the
day Of the sovereign, under the vivacious influence of delicious mead.
Like the sun the animator of summer7 he was most frequently
described.

his work is indispensable to the student of bardic poetry, but he is to be used with caution; and when my own judgment is unsatisfied, I place more implicit confidence on a less pretensious guide.

5 See also Pughe sub voce Ergrynig and Rhygethlydd. 6 The old bards attribute a very peculiar and warlike character to the judge or ygnad.—See Llywarch Sen, in reference to Caranmael ab Cynddylan; and Aneurin, verse 9.

i This, and the two preceding lines are thus translated by Pughe, sub voce Chwedlawg:—

"Talkative is the privileged orator Of kings, in the luxuriant circle of the good mead, Like the sun the warm animator of summer." He here interposes an o between traeth and dydd in the first line,

i

I will sing a wise song, of those who were an harmonious host.
Sullen in the summer time was the countenance of the son
Of Lleenawg, he was floodlike in the border glen.
Vapour arose, effluvia from heat—heated effluvia
From the corpses of men who died without disgrace.
At the sword-place, in the swording, the sword of the hero was
not broken;His army did not spread about to plunder in the country of the

Caw (the Bard).
They pierced the front of the shield, in front of his steeds;
On horseback like the din of Morial was that of the foray-loving

leader. Fiercely they took hostages of rich hays, From Caer Clud8 to Caer Caradoc,9 Continuous and high-priced land. And Gwallog is in the realm of the Sovereign of tranquillity (£. i i Christ, the Prince of Peace).

The persons named in this poem are all known to

and thus puts into the mouth of Taliesin a word which did not exist for many centuries after, and of which he could not find an example to illustrate his Dictionary; this unauthorized word changes the whole meaning of the passage. He also has mwys in his extract, instead of nrvys; and Pughe's extracts from the bardic poems are frequently most unfaithful.

8 Caer Clud, or Caer Aclud, Alcluyd, Arclwyd, or Alltclwyd, was the old name of Dunbarton, in Scotland, when that country was in the possession of the Britons of Strathclyde. The town was first built by Theodosius, and was thence called Theodosia; but it afterwards assumed, or resumed, the British name, and was the royal seat of Rhydderch Hael, king of Alclwyd at this time.

9 This is said to have been Salisbury (Richard's Dictionary, sub voce Caer); but that is improbable. A better authority places it "I finibus Salopian inter fluvios Themidem et Colanum,"—(Monument Historical) i. e. on the borders of Shropshire and Radnor; and those who wish to ascertain the exact position will find it in the preceding numbers of this Journal, in the various articles " On the Site of the Last Battle of Caractacus." It is also named in the Elegy on Cad- wallon:—

"Yspyddawd Catwallaun Caer Caradoc vre
Wrth y gyfwyre gynne Efrawc."

Myv. Arch. i. p. 180.

and Cadwallon is said to have protected " Caer Caradoc Hill" by the joint rising which fired York. This description leaves no doubt as to the proper site; and it thus appears that the name by which that hill is known is as old as the sixth century.

« PreviousContinue »