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Taliesin, who in one of his poems gives an honourable testimony to the fame of Aneurin?, was like him called Penbeirdd, Chief, or King of Bards. He lived in the reign and enjoyed the favour of Maelgwn Gwynedd, King of all Wales. He was found, when an infant, exposed in a wear, which Gwyddno Garanhir, the King of Cantre'r Gwaelod, had granted as a maintenance to Prince Elphin his son. Elphin, with many amiable qualities, was extravagant; and, having little success at the wear, grew discontented and melancholy. At this juncture Taliesin was found by the fishermen of the prince, by whose command he was carefully fostered and liberally educated. At a proper age the accomplished Bard was introduced by his princely patron at the court of his father Gwyddno, to whom he presented, on that occafion, a poem called Hanes Taliesin, or Taliesin's History; and at the same time another to the prince, called Dyhuddiant Elphins, the consolation of Elphin, which the Bard addresses to him in the person and character of an exposed infant. Taliesin lived to recompense the kindness of his benefactor : by the magic of his Song he redeemed him from the castle of Teganwy, (where he was for some misunderstanding confined by his uncle Maelgwn,) and afterwards conferred upon him an illustrious immortality.

Taliesin was the master, or poetical preceptor of Myrddin ap Morviyn: he enriched the British Prosody with five new metres: and has transmitted in his poems such vestiges as throw new light on the history, knowledge, and manners of the ancient Britons and their Druids, much of whose mystical learning he imbibed.

The first poem which I have chosen for a specimen of Taliesin's manner, is his description of the battle
of Argoed Llu'yvain, in Cumberland, fought about the year 548, by Goddeu, a King of North Britain, and
Urien Reged, King of Cumbria, against Fflamddwyn, a Saxon general, supposed to be Ida, the first King of
Northumberland. I am indebted to the obliging disposition of the late Mr. Whitehead, for the following
faithful and animated versification of this valuable antique
Gwaith Argoed Llwyfain.

The Battle of Argoed Llwyvain a
CAN U URIEN.

A SONG TOURIE N.
Y bore ddyw sadwrn, câd fawr a fu,

Morning rose: the issuing sun
O'r pan ddwyre baul, hyd pan gynu.

Saw the dreadful fight begun :
And that sun's descending ray

Clos'd the battle, clos'd the day.
Dygryfws Fflamddwyn yn bedwarllu.

Fflamddwyn pour'd his rapid bands,
Goddeu, a Reged, i ymddyllu,

Legions four, o'er Riged's lands.
Dyfwy o Argoed, byd Arfynyda,

The numerous host from side to side
Ni cheffynt einioes byd yr undydd !

Spread destruction wild and wide,
From Argoed's s summits, forest-crown'd,
To steep Arvynydd's outmoit bound.
Short their triumph, short their sway,

Born and ended with the day!
Atorelwis Fflamddwyn, fawr drybestawd,

Flush'd with conquest, Fflamddwyn said,
A ddodynt gyngwystlon, a ynt parawd?

Boaftful at his army's head ;
Ir attebwys Owain, ddwyrain fosfawd,

“ Strive not to oppose the stream,
Ni ddodynt in'dynt, nid ynt parawd;

Redeem your lands, your lives redeem.
A Chenau, mab Coel, byddai gymwyawg lew,

Give me pledges ?Flamddwyn cried.
Cyn y talai o wystl nebawd!

“ Never”, Urien's son replied,
Owen', of the mighty stroke.

Kindling, as the hero spoke,
* Taliesin, in his poem called Anrheg. Urien, has the two fol * This is one of the 12. great battles of Urien Reged, cele.
lines

brated by Taliesin in poems now extant. See Carte's History of

England, p. 211, and 213. where there is much valuable intor-
A wn i enw Aneurin Gwawdrydd awenydd,
A minnau Daliesin o lan Llyn Geirionydd.

mation relating to the ancient Britons,

S A district of Cumberland, the country of Prince Llywarch
I know the fame of the inspired genius, Aneurin Gwawdrydd,

Hén, from whence he was driven by the Saxons.
And I am Taliefin, whose abode is by the Lake of Geirionydd.

• Some place on the borders of Northumberland.

7 Owen ap Urien acted as his father's general; and is called, 3 See this poem, published and translated in Evans's specimens. in the British Triades, “ one of the three Cavaliers of Battle."

Сепак, ,

1

Atorelwis Urien, ydd yr echwyad;
O bydd ynghyfarfod am garennydd.
Dyrchafwn eidoed odauch mynydd,
Ac ymborthwn wyneb odduch emyl,
A dyrchafwn beleidr odduch ben gŵyr,
A chyrchwn Fflamddwyn yn ei lüydd;
A lladdwn ag ef, a'i gyweithydd !

Cenau, Coel's blooming heir
Caught the flame, and grasp'd the spear:
“ Shall Coel's issue pledges give
To the insulting foe, and live?
Never such be Briton's shame,
Never, 'till this mangled frame,
Like some vanquish'd lion, lie
Drench'd in blood, and bleeding die 8.”
Day advanc'd : and ere the sun
Reach'd the radiant point of noon,
Urien came with fresh supplies.
“ Rise, ye sons of Cambria, rise,
Spread your banners to the foe,
Spread them on the mountain's brow;
Lift your lances high in air,
Friends and brothers of the war ;
Rush like torrents down the steep,
Thro' the vales in myriads sweep;
Fflamddwyn never can sustain
The force of our united train."

A rhag gwaith Argoed Llwyfain,

Havoc, havoc rag'd around, Bu llawer celain :

Many a carcase strew'd the ground; Rbuddai frain,

Ravens drank the purple flood; Rhag rhyfel gøyr!

Raven plumes were dy'd in blood; A gwerin a fry[wys gan ei newydd.

Frighted crowds from place to place;
Arinaf y blwyddyn nad wyf cynnydd.

Eager, hurrying, breathless, pale,
Spread the news of their disgrace,

Trembling as they told the tale.
Ac yn 'i fallwyf ben,

These are Taliesin's rhimes, Yin dygn ang au angen;

These shall live to distant times, Ni byddif ymdyrwén ;

And the Bard's prophetic rage
Na molwyf Urien !

Animate a future age.
Child of sorrow, child of pain,
Never may I smile again,
If, 'till all-subduing death
Close these eyes, and stop this breath,
Ever I forget to raise

My grateful songs to Urien's praise ! About the beginning of the sixth century, Urien, son of Cynvarch ab Meirchion, King of Reged; (a territory in Caledonia, bordering on the Ystraddlwyd Britons ', to the south ;) who was bred in King Arthur's Court, and was one of his knights: he had great experience in war, and great power in the country by the largeness of his dominion, and the number of his vassals : he was still greater by his reputation and wisdom; and by his valour in defending his country against the encroaching Saxons. After several engagements, with various success, he at last prevailed so far against Theodoric, son of Ida, as to force him to fly into Holy Island for safety. Urien, the glory of his country, who had braved death so often in the field, and fought it in vain among the thickest of his enemies, fell at last in the midst of his own men, in the year 560, by the treachery of Morgant, brother to Rhydderch, from mere envy, on

8 Cenau led to the assistance of Urien Reged, the forces of his Lewis's History of Britain, p. 201. and Carte's History of England. father Coel Godhebog, king of a northern tract, called Goddeu, 9 The Strath-clwyd Britons inhabited the west part of Scotprobably inhabited by the Godini of Ptolemy. Owen ap Urien land : and the Cumbrians dwele from the wall fouthward as far as and Cenau ap Coel were in the number of Arthur's Knights. See I the Ribble, in Lancashire. 5

account

account of his superior merit. The names of the two assassins, suborned to commit this execrable deed, were Dyvnwal, son of Mynyddawg, and Llovan llawddino, of Edinburg, who were both Britons that served in his troops, and are recorded in the Triades; where this is reckoned to be one of the three villainous mi ders committed in Britain, and wbich contributed most to its ruin. Urien is also celebrated, in the Triades, as one of the three Bulls of War. Taliesin dedicated to him upwards of twelve poems, in which he describes most of his battles; and he likewise wrote an Elegy on his Death. Also, Prince Llowarch Hen composed a Lamentation, on the loss of this distinguished Hero.

The Battle of Gwenytrad.

Extol the warriors, who on Cattraeth's lawn, Went forth to battle with the rising dawn.Victorious Urien's praise, the Bard hext fings : The first of heroes! and the shield of Kings !

Gwaith Gwenysrad.
Arwyre gwyr Cattraeth

gan ddydd;
Am Wledig gwaith fuddig gwarthegydd,
Urien hwn anwawd ei neuydd;
Cyfeddeily Teyrnedd, ai gofyn rhyfelgar,
Rhwysg anwar rwyf bedydd.
Gwyr Prydain adwythain yn lluydd,
Gweny strad ystadl cad cynnygydd;
Ni ddodes na maes na chodydd tud acbles,
Diormes pan ddyfydd,
Mal tonnawr tot ei gwawr tros elfydd,
Gwelais wyr gwychr yn liuydd.
A gwedi boregad briwgig;
Gwelais i dwrf teurflin trancedig,
Gwaed goboyw gofaran gowlychid.
In amwyn Gweny/trad y gwelid gofwr,
Rag angwyr llawr lluddedig :
Yn nrws rbyd gwelais i wyr lledruddion,
Eirf dillwng rbag blavr gofedon ;
Unynt tanc gan aetbant golluddion ;
Llaw y'nghroes gryd y'ngro granwynion,
Cyfeddwynt y gynrbain gwyndon,
Gwaneuawr gollychynt rawn y caffon ;
Gwelais i wyr gospeithig gofpylliad,

gwyar a faglai ar ddillad,
A dulliaw diaflym dwys wrth gad,
Cad gwortho, ni bu ffo pan bwylled.
Glyw Reged, rhyfeddaf pan feiddiad !
Gwelais i ran reodig gan Urien,
Pan amwyth ei alon yn Llechwen Galysten;
Ei wythiant oedd llafn aefawr gwyr,
Goberthid wrth angen.
Awydd cad a dyffo Euronwy,
Ac yn y fallwyfi hen,
Ym dygyn Angau angben,
Ni byddif yn dirwen
Na molwyf fi Urien. Talielin.

The British hoft, impatient for the fray,
Repair’d to Gwenystrad in film array:
As when the Ocean with tremendous roar,
By tempests driven, overwhelms the shore;-
So furious is their onlet thro' the field;
Nor vales, nor woods, the spoilers Thelter yield.
But near the Fort the conflict fiercer raged,

For heroes at the pass the foe engaged : + There horror stalk'd in hideous forms around, * While blood in purple streams deluged the ground:

And ere the long disputed Fort they gain,
What numbers lifeless strew th’ ensanguin’d plain!
Chiefs ! that rush'd on the hostile rank as fast,
As chaff is whirl'd before the northern blast,
See mangled lie !--ne'er when the battle 's ceas'd
Shall they again among their kindred feast!
Batter'd their arms! their garments dyed in gore,
And defolation marks their path no more".

See Reged's dauntless Christian Chief appear !
And consternation seize the Saxon rear.
At Llechwen-Galysten, on Urien's brow,
Destruction as terrific frown'd as now :
His sword with slaughter'd foes o'erspread the field;
And prov'd his arm, his people's strongest shield.
For war, Euronwy, may thy bosom glow,
And till death bids my numbers cease to flow :
May Peace to me, her balmy sweets ne'er bring,
If I can Urien's praise, forget to sing.

10 Though they were successful, it may be said in the words of Shakspeare, to have been among those victories,

" For which the conquerors mourn'd so many fell."

Canu

TH

CANU

Y

M E D D.

THE MEAD SONG, by Taliesin.

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It appears, that Prince Elphin had been invited by his uncle, King Maelgwyn, to keep his Christmas at his Court, at the
Calle of Diganwy, in CarnarvonMire; where some dispute arising between them about Religion, or Politics (probably when
heated with Mead,) Elphin was thrown into prison, and remained confined, untill his Bard Taliejin obtained his release, by the
following celebrated Song, addressed to Maelgwyn; to which I have subjoined an English version.
Golychaf wledig pendefig pob fa,

To him that rules supreme ;-our Sovereign Lord,
Gêr a gynnail y néf, Arglwydd pôb tra;

Creation's Chief - by all that lives ador'd.
Grør a wnaeth y dwyr i bawb

Who made the waters, and sustains the skies;
Gêr a wnaeth pob llâd, ac a'i llwydda :

Who gives, and prospers, all that's good and wise.-
Meddwer Maelgwyn Món, ac a'n meddwa :

To him I'll pray, that Maelgwn ne'er may need, Ai féddgorn, ewyn gwerlyn gwymba,

Exhaustless stores of sparkling, nect'rous, mead :
As gynnull gwenyn ac nis mwynba.

Such as with mirth our hours has often crown'd,
When from his horn, the foaming draught went round.

yn dda,

Delicious Mead! Man's solace and his pride,
Who finds in thee his ev'ry want supplied :
The Bee, whose toils produce thee, never sips
Thy juice, ordain’d by Heav'n for human lips.

Médd hidlaid, molaid, molud i bob tra,
Lleaws creadur a fág terra;
A wnaeth Duw i ddyn er ei ddonba,
Rhai drůd, rhai múd, ef a'i mwynha:
Rhai gwyllt, rhai dóf, Dofydd ai gwna
Yn dillig iddynt, yn ddillad ydd â ;
In fwyd, yn ddiawd, hyd frawd yd barba.
Golychaf i wledig pendefig gwlad hedd,
I ddillwng Elphin o alltudedd :
r gêr am rhoddes y gwin, a'r cwrwf, ar medd,
A'r meirch, mawr modur mirain eu gwedd;
A'm rhothwy etwa mal diwedd,
Trwy fodd Duw y rhydd trwy enrhydedd
Pum pemhwnt calan ynghaman hedd;
Elphinawg farchawg medd! bwyr dy ogledd !

TALIESIN *.

od:

Oh, Power Supreme !--Prince of the Realm of Peace;
Let Elphin's bondage, I beseech thee cease.
Who, to the beauteous steeds, giv'n heretofore,
And Wine, and Ale, and Mead, would give me more.
He in the paths of peace, if Heav'n so will,
Myriads of Feafts, shall give with honour still.
Elphinian Knight of Mead! Now is thy trust.-

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Llywarch Hện, or Llywarch the aged, a Cumbrian prince, is the third noted Bard of the British annals. He past his younger days at the Court of King Arthur, with the honourable distinction of a free guest. When the British power was weakened by the death of Arthur, Llywarch was called to the aid of his kinsman, Urien Reged, King of Cumbria, and the defence of his own principality, against the irruptions of the Saxons.

This princely Bard had four and twenty fons, all invested with the golden torques, which appears to have been the antient badge of British nobility'. Many of them were flain in the Cumbrian wars, and the Saxons at length prevailed. The unfortunate Llywarch, with his few surviving sons, fled into Powys, there to revive the unequal and unsuccessful contest under the auspices of the Prince of Powys, Cynddylan. Having lost, in the issue of these wars, all his sons and friends, he retired to a hut at Aber Ciog ’ in North Wales, to sooth with his harp the remembrance of misfortune, and vent with elegiac numbers the sorrows of old age in distress. His poems are in some places rather unintelligible : not because they want fimplicity, which * Taliesin likewise wrote Canu y Cwrw, or The Ale fong. South Wales is fai, for any kind of liquor that is made of the

juice of fruit, such as Cyder, Perry, Rafberry-wine, Currant. Proverbial Sayings in Wales.

wine, Goofeberry-wine, Cowslip-wine, Elder-wine, Servicevôd yn Llawen yved Win!

wine, Birch-wine, &c. Gryy — yved Gwrw!

1 Hybarch yo máb y marchog, A vynno vid yn Jach -- yved Védd!

(Yn aur) yn arian golerog
He that would be Merry -- drink Wine!

Dorchog
He that would be Strong - drink Ale!

We find also, in the Book of Numbers, Chap. xxxi. ver. 50.
He that would be Healthy - drink Mead!

that chief commanders wore chains of gold. The following beverages were the customary drink of the Now Dól Giog near Machynllaith in Montgomeryshire. There ancient Britons against thirit.

Llywarch died, near the age of 150, about the year 634; and Dzér, Water. Gwin, Wine. - Cwrw, Ale. — Bir, Strong probably was buried at Llanvawr, near Bala in Merionethshire, Beer. Midd, Medelyglyn, Bragod, Mead, Metheglyn, and Brag- where, in the west window of the church, is a stone with an gtt.- Avaleulyn, Cyder.-Maidd-glas, Whey. Schola Salerni. inscription. Llywarch Hén, was a son of Elidir Lydanwyn, of They allo vie various other wines, and the general term in 'Ystrad Clwyd, in the North.

is

vynno A

vynno

vôd yn

G

is their characteristic beauty, but from the antiquity of the language, which is partly the Venedotian, and partly the Cumbrian dialect, and from scantiness of information concerning the facts. The compositions of Llywarch are pure nature, unmixed with that learning and contrivance which appears in the writings of Taliesin : he did not, like that great bard, extend the bounds of British poetry, but followed implicitly the works of the Druids, closing many of his stanzas with their venerable maxims. He writes in such a simple, undisguised, pathetic manner, that it is impossible to suspect hiin of misrepresentation ; he has no fictions, no embellishments, no display of art; but gives an affecting narrative of events and circumstances. Since I published the first Edition of this Book, Mr. Francis Percival Eliot, of Shenstone Moss near Litchfield, has favoured me with the following version of several stanzas in the first and second poems, of Lly Hén ; which I with pleasure present my readers (instead of the former prose translation,) as an elegant and animated specimen of the poetry of that princely Bard 3.

}

The Lamentations of Prince Llywarch Hên. Hark! the cuckow's plaintive note,

Yet once again, the tuneful choir Doch thro’ the wild vale sadly float;

Sing, but me no joys inspire; As from the rav’nous hawk's pursuit,

The babbling brook that murmurs by, In Ciog rests her weary foot;

The silver moon that shines on high, And there with mournful sounds and low,

Sees me tremble, hears me figh. Echoes my harp's responsive woe.

How cold the midnight hour appears !

How droops my heart with ling’ring cares !
Returning spring, like opening day
That makes all nature glad and gay,

And hear'st thou not yon wild wave's roar,
Prepares Andate's fiery car,

Dashing on the rocky shore? To rouse the brethren of the war;

And the hollow midnight blast, When, as each youthful hero's breast

Loft sensation binding fast, Gloweth for the glorious test,

In the adamantine chain
Rushing down the rocky steep,

Of Terror-Hark! it howls again.
See the Cambrian legions sweep,
Like meteors on the boundless deep.

And lo! what scenes invade my sight,
Old Mona smiles

Fear-form'd shadows of the night! Monarch of an hundred ifles.

See great Urien's princely shade, And Snowdon from his awful height,

Cambria's monarch, shoots the glade ; His hoar head waves propitious to the fight.

Gory drops his locks distil,

Ever flows the sanguine rill, But I — no more in youthful pride,

Yet, feated still as it was wont, Can dare the steep rock's haughty side ;

Valour crowns his awful front.
For fell disease, my finews rends,

Next Cyndelylan treads the plain,
My arm unnerves, my stout heart bends
And raven locks, now filver-grey,

Raise, my harp, to him the strain ; heep me from the field away.

Powys' prince, and Llywarch's host,

Llivon's pride, and Morlas' boast: Hark! how the songsters of the vale,

Great as Caradoc in war; Spring's glad return with carols hail;

Swift as Howeľs scythed car; Sweet is their song - and loud the cry,

Still the Saxons seem to fear When the strong-scented hound, doth fly

Cynddylan's arm, and think him near. Where the gaunt wolf's step is trac'd

Next a warlike train advance, O'er the defart's dreary waste.

Skill'd to poize the pondrous lance; Again they fing; again they cry;

Golden chains their breasts adorn; But low in grief my soul doth lye.

Sure for conquest they were born. —

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3 Those who may be incited to a further acquaintance with preservation. Llywarch Hen's Poems were to have been pub. the beauties of Prince Llywarch Hin, will fhortly have access lined by my late worthy friend, the Rev. John Walters, of to them in an edition of all his works extant, with a literal Jefus College, Oxford, if God had prolonged his life; to whom translation and notes; which will be published in the Second I am infinitely indebted for his communications and allittance in Volume of this Work, with feveral other things worthy of the first Edition of this Book. 2

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