Sunday, December 17, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 24

This is another praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi composed for Rhys ap Sion and Elis Hol of Gladestry, perhaps on the occasion of the christening of their son. Llwythyfngwg was the name of the district in what became East Radnorshire in which the parish of Gladestry (in Welsh Llanfair Llwythyfnwg) is situated. I wonder if she was the Alice Holl of Old Radnor who contracted a secret marriage with Yevor ap Holl at Bryngwyn church in 1475?

Poem 162, Praise of Rhys ap Sion and Elis Hol

A good place for feasting, with no mean frown
On a winter's night in Llwythyfnwg.
I go, in the name of God and Mary,
To beg a fair judgement upon Gladestry.
In Gladestry, by Llawenfel,
There's money for me and pleasant honey,
The Ludlow ale has made me well,
The Weobley ale has made me completely fit.
Wine I've had with no surly refusal,
From eight havens in Llwythyfnwg,
And folk of true nobility
Treat me in the mead houses.
Rhys, son of Sion, where I would take myself,
Elis Hol at his side.

Sion, son of Einion, son of Hywel,
In terms of pounds he was the richest;
After Sion and his gifts, Rhys
Fills the Isle of Honey.
Elis Hol, before the voice of the generous,
I called her Elis Hael.
I know increase, like the honey of the swarm,
A word to a Mary of the Iforites.
Often many gifts were given to me,
Elis and Rhys gave them,
Many dinners at nines,
And many suppers at sevens,
Many a cape, the best of a hundred,
Many shirts, the colour of crucian,
Many gifts in the shape of gold,
Many wines, is the gold less?
I wrote, in Anglesey, a roll of
The names of the generous:
Within the roll is the name of Rhys,
Followed by the name of Elis.

A noble lamb to the men
Is Rhys, but against tyrants.
It is not easy to obtain
Any sullen payment from Rhys ap John.
In Maesyfaidd he is rooted,
And these roots, Rhys, give gifts,
Each root in its turn.
Rhys is the ash and the cherry tree,
An oak tree from the elders,
And its branches cover the countryside,
Every branch like the body of Pasgen
Wearing steel upon a white shoulder.

He came to the moon of Adam,
He came for the faerie wine.
The gracious blessing came to Rhys
As it stands for Elis Hol.
From whatever country, be they French or Irish,
From whatever land they come,
Elis says, "Rhys, give him this".
Rhys says, "Elis, don't stint".
The wisdom that Elis creates
Will come to her son many a month.
The word of Rhys is wise and witty,
The blessings of Rhys upon Morys his son.

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