Friday, November 24, 2006

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 21

This interesting praise poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi to Bedo Coch of Rhayader describes an early form of plastic surgery.

No. 182. Praise to Bedo Coch

The brave one from about Rhaeadr Gwy,
Who draws blood from three wounds.
Bedo Coch, without sparing villeins,
Engrave your name once more in prophecy.
The estate of Maredudd rolls
To your hand among eight liberal lines;
The tax of Hywel Gethin
There with the other among nine liberal lines.
From the height of the line of Einion Llwyd
You were counted upon in warfare,
And your sires in Gwerthrynion
Loved single combat and justice.

It is not easy to light a fire
In the waves, and against nature,
No easier, face to face,
To overcome you with arms.
The essence of your being, Bedo,
A generous body that hates flight.
The most cowardly, the most vain in retreat,
Is wounded on the back of the neck,
And the bravest of all, for the sake of justice,
Straight in the face.
From your courage,
like that of a martyr,
A cut has been opened on your face;
So, like the work of Afallach,
Heavenly teachers make you well.
God has sent, with the Holy Ghost,
His shield and ointment to you.
Ptolemaeus long, long ago,
Was your doctor so James says.
Hippocrates, an honest fellow,
But best of all the work of Rhiwallon.

The skill of Doctor Ieuan’s son
Dwells like gold upon your cheek.
Gruffydd’s orthography is good,
A graceful indentation from cheek to teeth,
A letter above the jawline,
A golden S to charm us.
It was soldered, no-one has sown it,
A silken web across your face.
A cement like an enamel cross,
God’s signet on your forehead.
Son of Maredudd, it is as if
The scar on your cheek is gilded;
Dabbed with angelic ointment
Made from frankincense and myrrh.
From the prayers of the twelve,
And by God’s miracle, a beautiful scar.

From now on your life will be healthier,
Bedo stay for four lifetimes.
Your forehead is carefree,
Unworried by any treason,
Without care, without pain,
Without halt, without sickness;
Without refusal to anyone
Your face is without blemish.

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