Sunday, May 07, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 14

This poem illustrates some of the social functions of the bard: as genealogist, herald, soothsayer and political agitator. The academics, who don't know much about Radnorshire, place Dafydd's home in the parish of Llanbadarn Fynydd although it is obvious from this poem that he lived in the Fron district of Llanbadarn Fawr. Dafydd held the castle of Stapleton near Presteigne after the battle of Mortimer's Cross in 1461.

No. 174 Praise to Dafydd Goch

You are privileged and of noble blood,
Baron of Stapleton, good evening!
Dafydd Goch, God protects
And James creates calm about you.

You are a son of Maredudd
Who brings me profit, a grandson of Adam,
Son of Madog, from his dwelling,
Son of Adam, hawk of the wide earth,
Son of Rhys, that generous apple of paradise,
Son of Ifor, his inheritance still lives,
Son of Gruffydd, with his ruddle stallions,
Son of Ieuan you are, none better,
Son of Ifor, songster of the sweet wine,
Son of Philip, with the five war colts,
Son of Einion, the heart of the Wye shore,
From a kindred from Uwch Conwy,
Son of Llywarch, respected to the grave,
Son of Bran, an emperor of Gwynedd,
Son of Dinawal of the province,
Son of Einudd, a high earl of the nation,
Son of Aelaw, who was in Aberffraw,
Son of Alser the unrefused,
Son of Tudwal, like the men of Maelor,
From the land of Anglesey, son of Rhodri Mawr.

From the highest nobility, Dafydd,
You are a shoot, as talented as Nudd.
You are the finest in terms of pedigree
From Anglesey to the land of Menevia.
And I am over Cymaron
In your house, high on the Fron,
Calculating, by the little clock,
Your hours and your four lines of descent.
I prophesied an Englishman without office
And an evident castle for you, lord,
And a fair tower and houses,
And a barony and its privileges.
A Taliesin to an Elphin
I’ve become, as I grow, for you Dafydd;
Like Adda Fras to the realm
Of Llywelyn, protector of our nation;
Like Meugant, when he played on his pipes
A fine speech for Gwrtheyrn;
When I divine, I’m like Myrddin,
You are an Emrys in the March.
At two feasts, Iolo said,
He was his lord’s bard,
“Good teeth without a tongue, the day will come,
A clumsiness in the recess of the mouth.”
You have good teeth without a tongue,
So I would be it with my lip.
Dafydd the talent will be reflective,
It will be a remembrancer, it will be just,
It will be silent and do much,
Hurry to all to give a spur.
Raise your banner Dafydd,
For Mary, carry the day for Wales!
A lion with the three ravens of
Llywarch Ap Bran, respected by all,
Your three ravens have a silver field
And a black chevron like the chapel of Dewi.
Your ancestors had a privileged place,
The privilege of the holding of three ravens,
The most loved birds
In all of prophesy are the ravens.
It will go well for you, no worse,
For three ravens, to turn into a barony.
You are the baron of the ravens,
You’ll have an ancient earldom from a fair man.

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