Saturday, June 30, 2007

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 37

In this jolly poem addressed to Ieuan ap Gruffudd Fychan of Gladestry, Lewis Glyn Cothi mocks a bardic rival called Hywel Bongam, none of whose work has survived.

No. 160, Praise of Ieuan ap Gruffudd Fychan.

You are a terror to the unwise,
Wise, silver-tongued Ieuan;
You are the liberal limb of yonder land,
A lieutenant over the land below.
Where you give, you are a Daniel,
A prophet, son of Gruffudd,
A Solomon seen throughout the March,
A Sir Ffwg of Llwythyfnwg and her lands.
Let the life of Gruffudd Fychan,
Be there upon your face, goodman.

Your strong word comes from the root,
It stands throughout Maesyfaidd
Like the green trees of Meifod
Stand above any snowfall.
You are a man who has grown wise,
An oak or some such tree;
Silver coins are your berries,
There is gold in the roots,
Under your branches, good prince,
I come quietly to shelter.

Yonder are my brothers.
We share an oath on the relics of Enlli;
Between us, by the image of Thomas,
There is a noisy battle for silver metal.
Hywel Bongam was very loud,
Not a single word is tolerable;
He comes from Manafon,
A servant of Morys ap John;
For myself, like office for the English,
If he deserves it, then I resign!
Jovial Dafydd asks you,
"Is every man to be a victor?"
This suitor is an adulterer,
The man has sought your patronage,
He seeks to seduce your oath;
For his own ends he does so.
I must insist, Ieuan,
To have my share from an Ifor Hael.
Men of poetry, my knave!
Who praise you in the dialect of Gwynedd!

You are a member of the chief council,
You are the Duke's right ear;
Do you deal justice fairly
Between the men there?
You are a foot in the land,
To uphold the office of the lord.
Along a road of propriety it should run
To the pathways of high law.
Ieuan, you are the right hand
Of the earl, watching over his share;
Hold that patronage like a harp string,
Through the means at your disposal.
Bring profit there for the Duke,
The Duke has given you good office.
Duke Richard brings and has given
The land of Llwythyfnwg to your ward,
He takes in Llanfar four lifetimes,
God will give you four lifetimes.

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