Sunday, December 24, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 25

Another praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi. Ieuan ap Philip rebuilt Cefnllys Castle in the Fifteenth Century. The bard compares Ieuan to various lawyers of the day and indeed his Welsh Law book is still preserved at the National Library in Aberystwyth. The whitewashed walls of Cefnllys must have been quite outstanding, sited on a hill and bounded on three sides by the River Ithon (see the old postcard) far below. The mention of uncovering a hearth is significant, it was a Welsh legal term by which the true proprietor regained an inheritance. The bard is saying that although Ieuan might hold this castle for the Duke of York, infact he is the proper ruler of this part of Wales.

No 170, Praise of Ieuan ap Philip and Angharad vz Ieuan of Cefnllys Castle

What better wall about a castle,
This fair wall like distant Gloucester?
A white castle within a circle of deep water,
An eight-sided castle above the curve of the Ithon,
A Greek citadel, set within twelve girdles,
The name of the place is Cefnllys.
This castle's name is found
In the great history of the Mortimers;
The largest castle where there are kindred,
It has its name and privileges in Brut.
It was indeed extinguished ,
A Tre-wen except for two small parts.

The masters of the laws of Swydd Ithon,
He has uncovered the hearth.
Ieuan, with all the strength of Christendom,
Son of Philip, dressed in velvet.
From the descent of Ifor, his grandfather,
Flow two lines from the Tordduaid.
I have called him, in the highest place,
A second justice from Elystan.
He talks, like John Milewater,
In Maesyfaidd about civil law.
The wisdom of old Dafydd Hanmer
In his speech or peroration,
He is our Burley, an Aberhale,
A lawyer like Merbury.
A Fitzwarine of Maelienydd,
A wise Fitzhenry of the trial day.

He has made on the lip of the Ithon,
A building like Sandal, an Anglesey.
Beli, lord of the blue sea,
Ordered the building of a city,
And Lludd repaired it, henceforth
Caer Ludd and the quarrel for it.
Ieuan, in the same manner,
Has made a wall of worked stone,
A palace made from lead work;
From the flesh of the ash he has made a city,
And his sons and grandchildren
From the eighteen streets of a city.

The cosy royal palace is unhealthy,
Good health is in the heights.
In the month of May, the mountain lark
Turns towards the heavens,
At the start of the summer the eagle
Is eager for the highest place.
Ieuan, who is under the seal,
Is a healthy hart on a high bank.

The words Non and Eigr are joined
In my mind with Angahard and her mead.
The golden moon of Ieuan
Son of Hywel, a pure lamp,
She descends from Elystan.
Could any of her sex be more generous?
It flows the bloodline of Madog Fychan,
along the pathway of descent to Beli and Bran.
Angharad, moon of the feast,
The very pinnacle of grace and nobility.

Ieuan shares the same foundation
As Tewdwr from his eight buildings.
Ieuan, he gave wealth and burnished gold,
Ieuan dispenses wine from gold,
And the Duke of York, in need of a man,
Has made him a receiver.
There never was a more able constable,
There never will be, as long as there is Christian faith.
There's never been, with his minted gold,
A better governor of a castle.

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