Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Radnorshire bardic Poems, 8

Here is a another praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi to Philip ap Rhys and Gwenllian vz Owain Glyn Dwr of Cenarth, St Harmon. A nice image of the drunken bard staggering home to his own wife like a ship afloat on a sea of ale.

No 187 praise to Philip ap Rhys and Gwenllian vz Owain Glyndwr

The man with the four warhorses,
His course was love of office,
Philip son of Rhys, fine and generous,
His body is wise, generous and excellent.
One of the roots of the descent lines
Of Philip Fychan, from his share,
A stag who gives gifts without stop,
The heart of Gwerthrynion and her foot;
He gives full wine, the grandson of Ieuan Llwyd,
The foremost from the glen of Aeron.
It is known that in his majesty
The grandchild of Ieuan Moel shares mead.
Not one of his party was ever weak,
Not his ancestors nor his forefathers,
Not him, not his great grandmother,
Nor his father, nor mother, nor any of his tribe.
A son-in-law, so it is related,
In the sharing of truth, to old Gwyn;
Into his keeping, Gwenllian
Came up from Sycharth.

A laund web from Owain y Glyn
A daughter, too, of Cynfyn,
Molten gold from the body of Llowdden,
A golden thread from Gwen,
From Aron of Merionydd;
She is an Igraine, wise as an elected queen,
A generous daughter of Gruffydd Maelor,
A daughter of Rhodri Mawr,
This is the nobility of our island,
Who is second, Philip ap Rhys?

I dwelt in homely comfort
In his house for a short while.
Now it is high time that I,
As from the houses of Cheapside,
Turned my face toward home.
As is usual with the tribe of Cynfyn,
I am a ship afloat on a sea of ale;
Her head, amidst all the trees
Is a haven, a landfall.
I’m placed like a compass needle
In the box, although I am a grown man,
And her head, which is the diamond,
Is a sure sign of a northerly heading.

The hall of Philip is a rod,
The north of mead and wrought gold,
And my head turns to Gwynedd
And his white walled court.
Gwenllian shares from the court,
Upon her hand there’s gold for Lewis.
In giving wine from the pipe,
Philip will never fail.
Philip will govern every parish,
And so too will Gwenllian.
I sing a prayer for them,
Wine may be my reward.
I am their poet of the cywydd
Who praises Gwen and her husband.
For them let there be two lifetimes,
And after that, a third!

Motor Racing on the Telly

One of the things about getting older is that what is history for younger people is memory for you. How many times have I read that there wasn't much motor racing on the telly before the age of Murray and James. Now this is just twaddle. Likewise the idea that the sport had a low profile in the 50s and 60s. People just repeat this nonsense and because it is churned out so often, it gets accepted as fact. How on earth do these fools explain how Stirling Moss got to be a household name! Anyway here is a list of live motor racing shown on British TV in 1962:

April 7, Oulton Park (BBC)
April 14, Silverstone (ITV)
April 23, Goodwood (ITV)
April 28, Aintree (BBC)
May 12, Silverstone (ITV)
May 26, Goodwood (ITV)
June 3, Monaco GP (BBC)
June 11, Mallory Park (BBC)
June 11, Goodwood (ITV)
June 23/24, Le Mans (BBC)
June 23, Goodwood (ITV)
June 30, Scotland (BBC)
July 7, French GP (BBC)
July 21, British GP (BBC)
August 4, Silverstone (ITV)
August 6, Brands Hatch (BBC)
August 11, Silverstone (ITV)
August 18, Goodwood (ITV)
September 16, Italian GP (BBC)
September 22, Goodwood (ITV)
October 6, Silverstone (ITV)
December 26, Brands Hatch (BBC)

Monday, February 20, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 7

Owain Glyndwr's daughter Gwenllian lived at Cenarth in the parish of St Harmon with her husband Philip ap Rhys, when she died Lewis Glyn Cothi composed this elergy.

No 188 Eergy for Gwenllian vz Owain Glyndwr

The woman whose hair was golden,
Born of the stags of Rhuddallt
Gwenllian, daughter of old Owain,
Was cheerful, God greet her.
It would not be strange, were the mighty redeemer
To honour the fair moon of Cynllaith.

The tongue, since she went from her land
Into the grave, has been laid low.
The countryside is unlively now
Since the priests came to Cenarth.
It was a hall that was new to her,
With tables for three townships,
She filled them, every wine that was
She gave out and shared there.

I, for my part, had from Cenarth:
Silver from every corner,
Feasting from every square foot,
All that makes the old feel healthy.
From her giving they gave Gwenllian
The name of St Anne.
Gwenllian was never foolish,
Gwen was good and wise;
The moon of Owain was kind,
The best amidst gold and precious stones.
Her father was a strong prince,
All of Wales was his dominion;
Forty dukes were forced to pay
A tax of gold and silver,
And he paid, unto the grave
For sixty two widows.

Gwenllian gave birth to lions,
Men of her stock who will rule.
Maredudd, Dafydd an ashwood,
My hopes are with her sons.
As tall as Owain their grandfather,
They shelter under their father’s wing.
In Cenarth and Sycharth there is talk,
And sadness in Gwerthrynion.
All honest folk cry out in anguish,
Everyone, Philip ap Rhys!

Gwenllian was the colour of the wave,
She and her husband were fair of face.
They never hid on the high feast days,
Nor on working days, nor any day.
Every moment was one for giving,
Easter gifts to adorn the world,
Christmas gifts, almost to excess,
Gifts on the feast of St Garmon, again to excess.

If I had a tongue of steel
Which had never spoken, never been used.
If my heart and my breast were made of brass
And my chest was a white stone,
I could not, any more than a reed stem,
Express with one head all our pain.
God chooses to take the wise,
We are nothing much more than broken twigs.
Gwenllian, like a vineyard of mead,
Was the unassuming Luned of Gwynedd,
Oh Jesus be a welcomer
To the fair Luned of Glyndwr.

Innes Ireland Trivia, 2

Innes Ireland’s interest in motor sport was first aroused when he met the aged chauffeur to a wealthy family in Newton Stewart, Scotland. The family owned two Bentleys and the young Innes was allowed to run them up and down the drive with petrol filched from his father’s wartime ration. When the owner of the Bentleys, a lady called Frances, died, she left one of the cars to Innes.

I can’t be certain, but I wonder if that elderly retainer might have been Mr Arthur Cowling, coachman and chauffeur for 64 years to the Armitage family of Kirroughtrie, Newton Stewart. He died at the end of 1948, aged 84.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 6

Ostensibly this praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi and addressed Maredudd ap Dafydd Fychan of Llinwent is about hunting but I guess it is really about sovereignty and politics.

No 181 Praise of Maredudd ap Dafydd Fychan

No better land for fine, liberal gifts,
Than Maelienydd the land of honey.
Within it, in the flesh once,
Were wonders as numerous as molehills:
Here, so it is reported,
Was held the marriage feast of old Arthur;
The ancient citadel of Caer Ochren once stood
On the headlands of Rhos Maelienydd;
Eight times the Red Ford on the Ithon
Flowed red with the blood of battle.
Maelienydd disdains the speech
Of any Saxon and any jot of his works.

I’ve one love for three lands,
For three men, unto the youngest:
The Cornish say, ”Gracious Arthur will live
In every ward, the power of Richard;
”Maelienydd says, “Old Owain
Will be alive by his side.”

The best of a land its men and feasts,
For a hundred years, Maelienydd.
There is more ale in Maelienydd
Than in all the seven oceans;
Maelienydd will be my foster sister,
Maelienydd is my sustenance.
One man is loved here,
A tall man, like Garwy Hir
A prince born in Llinwent,
With the body of a lion,
like the Earl of Gwent.
Maredudd ap Dafydd Fychan, yours
Are all the main lines of descent:
A hawk of the falcons of Deheubarth,
As powerful as Gwilym of Y Garth,
A fledgling of the line of Elystan,
A sword from the tree of Llowdden.

Your custom after fresh mead,
Spiced deer meat and ordering the feast;
Is to mount like a salmon
Upon a stallion, as your father did,
With purpose, advance on the headwaters of the Wye
And the hill pastures of Clun;
Ever heedful of the terrain,
And a hound calling, wo-oo.
Expectant, was it a true sighting,
Caused by a young stag;
Call for greyhound and huntsman,
Aim them after the hind,
Set hunting dogs upon the roebuck,
Await a kill below the court;
Cause for me with every gift
Fresh venison, as befits me.

He commands me on a stallion from Gwent,
To and fro, back and forth, to Llinwent.
It wears me out, Maredudd,
I would not come even to feast at the house of Nudd.
He soon provokes me
With talk of the rights of tall Jasper;
He invites me with a gift of gold,
And there he’ll give me more gold,
Joshing me, he’ll give three chests,
Commanding me to take a stallion.