Saturday, March 15, 2008

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 44

This is a translation of a run of the mill praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi addressed to Bedo Chwith and his wife Gwenllian vz Gwilym of Bryn Pennardd, Cregrina. Bedo belonged to that sub-clan of the tribe of Rhys ap Tewdwr descended from Meilyr O Ddiserth. The poem was probably composed for a feast to celebrate David, the patron saint of Cregrina, it exhibits the usual bardic obsession with bonedd (descent) and the obligations (perchentyaeth) that this placed on the chieftain towards the wider community.

No 151, Praise of Bedo Chwith and Gwenllian vz Gwilym

The stag like Ifor Hael,
A great spending in Elfael,
Oh my, is Bedo Chwith
Not the shoot of the wheat?
He is one growth with Dafydd,
He'll be one mettle with Hywel,
One foundation, one body with Meilyr,
One look, one height, one long spear,
One dart with Ricart and Rhys,
One face throughout the fair island.

He has, as he pours mead,
Two names, they are not the same,
By Mary, he is Maredudd,
But he's Bedo to the world.
John the Baptist had
Two names for a single man:
He was John and Ioannes,
Names for a host that he benefited
A famous man lives in Cregrina,
And there he bears two good names.

Bedo it is who labours my hand,
A long life to him,
On it is placed from one share,
Three ploughs of silver,
And behind them the men sow,
A swarm of golden seed.
Golden reals were sown,
On the chosen men of fair Arthur.
The bright gold of Cologne,
Was given to Holy Mary.
Many men have placed fine gold
Upon the great image of Dublin;
And it is an honour for a poet
To be gilded by some man.
The grandson of Meilyr, with yellow gold,
Has gilded the fists of many folk.
His gift of gold from his right hand,
Gilded me at the feast of Dewi.
Gwenllian, on Dewi's feast night,
Gives food to the world, she shares
Tomorrow, the day after, the day after that,
Three days hence, more and more shalll come.
The hand of Gwilym ap Llywelyn,
Who was her father, did the same;
The hand of the girl from Malläen
Grinds out gold in fair Elafel.
The same girl who shares the mead
Is of an exalted line from Gwynedd;
Sir Gruffydd Llwyd was the lion,
Truly he was gilded;
Truly she with the great bearing
Of his hand, signals the feast.

She and Bedo, throughout the world,
Have been one word for some time.
Bedo and she are generous,
They are not enfeebled by meanness.
He has had a good share of wealth,
She is good, He is wise,
For him, good, for her two lives,
An age for her, a lifetime for him,
May sickness never visit her,
Let age come to his brow.

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