Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 4

This is my translation of a poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi which was probably composed for the Assembly of the Men of Elfael, the cantref that later became the southern part of the old county of Radnorshire.

No 141, Praise of Elfael and her Saints

What land is more welcoming
Than this wise land along the Wye?
What folk as generous,
Under a far sun, as her folk?
Is the land of yonder Elfael not generous?
Is liberality not amassed there?
God and the saints would not allow
Any harm to befall Elfael.

Yonder were thirteen saints
Or more whom God has named.
Blessed Mary, she and her maids,
The generous mother of God, she is a good mother.
Michael and his countenance,
High upon wings of gold.
On the day of sifting, who else?
Blessed Peter from his land, fair Padarn
Holy Dewi, blessed old Teilo,
God in his country, blest-holy Deiniel.
Elwedd, good and large, a kindly image,
Good Mariaith, St Bride the virgin.
Meugant that confident saint,
Proper Meilig, likewise Cewydd.

These saints of our generous land
Are the foundation of Elfael.
One day they will defend
Their obedient parishes.
Without question they will be
The lifeblood of this country.

Sons, tall beautiful daughters,
Mountain stallions, large and excellent cattle
Friendly, capable servants,
Ploughmen, husbands and fine wives.
Elfael is generous and wise,
Generous with her patrimony of wealth.
She sleeps well after wine,
Untroubled and fortunate.
Elfael is never vexed
Although she shares her mead and gold.
Her wisdom is never diminished
By any surly refusal.
In Elfael there is no hearth
Without a full table, without food and drink,
No woodland, no mountain, no spot
Not richly stocked with grazing beasts.
No ancient vale without some crop,
No fair brow not covered with wheat.
The fruits from her rivers are plentiful,
Fruits from woodland and from green hedgerow.
Halls long bound by obligation,
And firesides full of riches.
A strong land there to give warmth,
Fire we have and cosy houses;
Tasty food and drink everywhere,
All of everything, and Weobley ale.
Beneath the stars there are fine forests,
And all the designs of toilers,
And free land and long standing houses,
And firesides full of riches.

Elfael, which is below the mountains of Mael,
Elfael is well made.

No comments: