Monday, May 07, 2007

Radnorshire Bardic Poems, 34

This request poem by Lewis Glyn Cothi is addressed to Syr Huw Iolo - a priest - and his cousin Hywel ap Ieuan Coch of Llansantffraid yn Elfael. It's unclear whether the Earl of Pembroke mentioned at the end is Jasper Tudor or William Herbert.

No. 134, Request for a Bridle and Harness

Two generous men, the kindly sort,
Who give gifts of the same type;
One is ordained, by Non,
The other a layman with a cruel hand.
Syr Huw Iolo, his Welsh is good,
From the fair land of Elfael;
The other is Hywel son of
Ieuan Coch, a wise leader.
Hywel Fychan was a patriarch
From a noble stock of men,
And they, two young Welshmen,
Come from his body like two branches.
For all his land they are two good shepherds,
They’re his two guardians;
One with the propriety of law
And the other with his courageous spear.

In summertime Syr Huw wears
The ermine cape of the most supreme;
Hywel wears an iron helmet
And steel armour.]; there from our judgement
Syr Huw Iolo our teacher
In the college of Abergwili,
In holy Menevia, it’s true,
He is installed in the two lands.
Hywel, take battle throughout the world,
He also wages war on men,
There he is before one hundred
With a war horse and the silver spear.
The two kinsmen, yoked together,
Who maintain their strength.
In Llansantffraid they are one party,
One blood, one people.

Oh God, it is generous
For two men to give gold.
If Syr Huw Iolo is too generous,
Then Hywel is just as generous.
I am a bard who follows their path,
Unsteady in my old age;
Although I’ve had gifts from these fine goodmen,
Now I seek for more there.
I seek a bridle and a harness,
I’ll get a saddle from the Wye vale.
Two liberal stags shall give them freely,
Hywel and that saint Syr Huw Iolo.
On my shod colt I’ll go to Chester
For the Feast of the Holy Rood.
To hold his riddel as he runs
The flaps must be set tightly.
Stars, the work of a jeweller of Rouen,
This chip-style leather work.
My strong stallion wears
A chasuble of belts,
Across his forehead there are daisies,
And woodland leaves all down his flanks,
Upon his mane, leaves of the same work,
And upon his breast is a citadel of colour.
A fine harness like stars or frost,
Reed stems to hold a charger.

My white charger wears a dress of stars
Syr Huw Iolo, the stars of Hwlyn.
Too much of a gift for a man,
The two presents that they give,
These two give me their two presents,
The Earl of Pembroke must provide a stallion.

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