Saturday, July 29, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems. 19

This is a praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi for Llywelyn ap Rhys of New Radnor. It makes some interesting points about buying and selling land - an alien concept under Welsh law - Y Draethen seems to have been some kind of administrative district in the Vale of Radnor.

No 164 Praise to Llywelyn ap Rhys

In a feast Llywelyn is an angel,
If a man can be an angel;
He has given his bards Rasbi wine,
The hawk of Rhys ap John,
The grandson of Einion, from the men of old,
Son of Hywel Fain with the fir stake;
Captain of the fair town and its wall,
A constable who beautifies any regiment.

The man’s nature, an ash through the rock,
Who loves land and fair words.
Land inherited through descent
Is the fourth gift to mankind;
Lewis is a second Elias of old
Belonging to the earth.
Whosoever sells land about the house,
In the end he will fail.
He who buys land will be honoured,
Who never sells back the smallest copse.
He has and will have profit;
Are there a hundred men with such profit?
His great store of money is no less
Than that of a thousand from Anglesey and Maelor,
Nor his estate than the two fair lands of Gwent,
Nor his taxes in Y Draethen.

Llywelyn is one member
Of Y Dref Wen, it vexes me that he is;
Namely what he has made in Maesyfaidd,
Laying a foundation and sealing a root,
Desiring a feast and watching over all
On the commons against transgression,
Keeping the franchise more like
Great Cedewain than Windsor Fair,
Breaking down the kindred hatreds,
Every day treating for peace,
Yet if there is war, Llywelyn’s
Hand is not less than any man’s.
Edward, when he came home
Through the sea to the land of mead,
The lion Rhys, by giving many gifts
To every quarter, received him.
And his ready task to create Easter work
In the early morning in Barnet,
And in the Tewkesbury to lay out the day
And win it with his ash spear.

It would be only proper for a very generous lion
To have reward for the work of his blade point.
It will be known before the feast of Mariaith,
The lion from Rouen will benefit our nation.
King Edward will share land with his men
And two kinds of wine.
When the head shares out the island
He will save a share for the son of Rhys.

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