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ODE TO THE SUN*, by Davydd ab Gwilym”,
Tranflated into English, by Mr. David Samwell. This Ode was written by the Bard, to testify his gratitude to the inhabitants of the county of Glamorgan, who had (it would seem) by a general subscription, raised a sum of money to liberate him from confinement, into which he had been thrown, od account of a fine laid upon him, for an illicit amour with the wife of a person of the name of Cyavrig Cynin ; whom he had fatirized in several parts of his work, under the name of Bwabách, or the little Hunchback.
rr Haul dég ar vy neges
" Rhéd ti, cyd bych rhód y tés," &c.
But o'er her green vales through the day,
Th' effulgence of thy light display ;
And court her still, in modest pride,
With gentler beams at even-tide.
Return, and in thy splendor drest,
Again illume the rosy East;
Again, my love a hundred times
Bear to Morganwg's pleasant climes :
Greet all her sons with happy days,
And gild their white-domes with thy rays.
Their high woods, waving to the gales,
Their orchards, and their fertile vales.
Great Sun! how wide thy glory streams !
Through æther dart thy genial beams;
Make industry with wealth be crown'd,
Let honey and the vine abound,
Through all Morganwg's happy vales,
Fann'd by the health inspiring gales ;
Those vales, for ancient chieftains fam’d,
And commons, virtuous, and untam'd;
Those vales so eminently blest,
Whose fons are brave, whose daughters chaste;
Where simple, hospitable fare
Displays th' industrious housewife's care,
Where oft, by love and friendship borne,
With wine, and mead, I fill my horn.
A name immortal fhall belong
To those bright vales in Gwilym's fong :
Where fair Morganwg shall be seen
Of every country's peerless queen.
Were hospitality denied
And spurn’d by all the world beside,
Still there, in every splendid dome,
The lovely guest would find a home.
And should the Bard, of lofty lays,
Perchance have fall’n on evil days ;
Morganwg, soother of his pains,
Would cherilh his immortal strains.
* Milton, finely calls the Sun, " The eye and soul of this world."
3 See the Welsh of this poem, in the works of Davydd ab Gwilym, p. 180.
• North Wales. s Glamorgan. 6 Monmouthshire.
? A river in Glamorganshire, Also, there is a venerable town and castle of that name.
ODE TO MORVYDH, by Davydd ab Gwilym'.
Translated into English, by Mr. David Samwell.
“ I'm oes wyv a mawr yw'm serch,” &c.
Her voice I know the groves among, my And I am Morvyda's faithful Bard;
Sweeter than Philomela's song. Soft as the moon-light on the main
Ab nt from her, I find no rest, Is she, to whom I breathe my strain ;
My Muse is silent, and deprest; From youth's gay prime, the cruel fair
Against despair in vain I strive, Hath been sole object of my care :
The most unpleasant Bard alive, At length her pride and high disdain
With every spark of reason flown, Have turn's her love-fick poet's brain.
My spirit and remembrance gone. Full oft, when Night her mantle spread,
At her approach my sorrows fly, To meet my fair-one have I sped,
My heart exults with ecstasy; To offer in the filent grove
The faithful Muse renews her ftrain, My ardent vows of endless love.
Poetic visions fire my brain; I know her by her footstep's found,
Sound judgement leads my steps along, Among a thousand maidens round;
And flowing language crowns my song ; I know her shadow on the heath,
But not one happy hour have I, I know her by her fragrant breath;
If lovely Morvydh be not nigh.
A Monody on Sión E6s, or John the Nightingale, so called from his celebrity on the Harp, for which he had no equal. He was sentenced to die for man-slaughter: his weight in gold was offered for his ransom; but the law required life for life!
This pathetic Elegy was sung by Davydd ab Edmwnt, a celebrated Bard, who obtained the regalia of the
A man punished for an action in his own defence!
Let misfortune attend such that faileth.
Of evils, the lesser the better.
O then I had it not been better, since one fell,
not to sacrifice the other through mere revenge? Dwyn un gelynwaed a wnaeth ;
Avenged for shedding the crimson gore of an inve Dial un, dau elyniaeth!
terate foe; one Nain, the other punished ; two en. Oedd oer ladd y ddeuwr lán
mities ! An enormous failing, that sentence of death Heb achos, ond un bychan ;
fhould be the iffue of a chance-medley.
Life for life they laid ; the death of one was the
dire effect; and that avenged ; then, both fell.
Y corph, dros y corph os caid
Is the soul of the slain made happier, or his ghost appeared, by having life for life as an atonement ?
, See the original of this poem in Davydd ab Gwilym's Works, 8vo, p. 498. Davydd ab Gwilym informs us, in one of his poems, that he addressed his beloved Morvydd with no less than a hundred and forty-seven Cywyddau, which is more extraordinary than that of Petrarch to Laura; because each of Davydd ab Gwilym's Odes are as long as five or fix of Petrarch's Sonnets. The works of this Bard, till extant, consist of near 300 poems. He died about the year 1400, and was buried at Ystrad Fflur,
Dedd wedi addewidion
To avert the fate of Siôn, his weight in gold was offered as a ransom. How am I enraged ! Indignation fires my breast, that the severe laws of Chirk should deprive music of its Nightingale! O thou revengeful tribunal !—thou bribed court! why hads thou not tried the warbling chorister, by the impartial laws of Howel? When the court of Westminster adopted the rigid sentence, penance, nor any other punishment could molify, nor interfere with thy refractory verdict. The jury, with one united voice (O Heavens !) consented his death.
Thou wert worthily called the father of music; and during life, honoured with that appellation. After thee, charming Nightingale, there is no harmony in music, nor any mortal that is capable of restoring it.
r gwr oedd dad y gerdd dant, Yn oefwr a farnasant! Deuddeg yn un od oeddyn', Duw deg! ar vywyd y dyn. Wedi Sión, nid oes Synwyr Da’n y gerdd, na dyn a'i gwyr. Töres braich, twr oes, a brig, Töred mefur troed miwsig : Tòred ysgol tir desgant, Tòrwyd dysgfal tòri tant. Oes mwy rhwng Euas a Môn, O'r dysg abl i'r disgyblion? Reinallt, ni 's gwyr ei hunan, Ran gwr, er hynny e gân': De aeth ei gymmar yn vúd, Durtur y delyn deirtud! Ti sydd yn tewi a són, Telyn aur télynorion! Bu'n dwyn dan bób ewin dant, Byfedd llev gwr a bwysant ; Myvyrdawd rhwng bawd a býr, Mén a threbl, mwy na thribys. Oes dyn wedi Eôs deg, Gystal a gán y gosteg? Na phroviad neu ganiad gwr, Na chwlwm, bron uchelwr. Pwy'r awr hon mewn puroriaeth, Mor ddivai, a wnai a wnaeth ? Ac atgas ni wnant gytgerdd, Eisiau gwawd Eôs y Gerdd ! Nid oedd nag Angel na dyn, Nad wyl, pan ganai delyn!
Music is torn up, root and branch ; its pedestals and ornaments ruined : genuine skill is dissolved in an instant, and harmony discorded like the breaking of a string
Is there any from Euas * to diftant Mona, that are worthy of being called his disciples? Reinallt, though his inferior in excellency of skill, yet he presumed to be his competitor for the laurel.
O, Reinallt! thy rival is dumb, the turtle of the triple-stringed harp.
Alas! thou hast consigned to silence the golden harp of harpers.
As each of thy fingers struck the concordant string, O ! how far the sonorous melody surpassed human defcription!
After the delightful Nightingale, is there any that dares pretend to fuch universal skill, and know. ledge in the elements of musical concord? Or who can essay, proceed, and conclude his piece of music with such judgement and taste as he did, in the presence of his fuperiors ? Who is his rival in harmony? who can attempt his performances? I find at present no union in music, for want of the sublime theme which the Nightingale of genius warbled, which caused transporting raptures in the feel.. ings of his surrounding admirers. Neither the pasfions of man, nor the virtue of an angel could escape being affected by the melodious harmony of his harp, which whirled the foul upon wings of extasy,
* Eras, is a district in Herefordshire, on the borders of Breckpockshire.
Och heno, rhag ei chanu,
Alas! beware, ye harpers, touch not the mournful ftrings ! O ! how disagreeable the sound to my grieved ears, whilst the remembrance of Nightingale's unparelleled performance is still in my perplexed memory!-What have I said ?--They deprived him of life:-he has life ; their verdict only changed the. scene of mortality, for that of immortality.-0, the jury of Chirkland ! despisers of genius !their wilful judgement will have no efficacy in that court of equity which is held at the gates of heaven.— The fatal fentence that he underwent, let them undergo the same. - He sung - he excelled; he now after death sings before the throne of Mercy, with an incorruptible harp. His mortal life has sunk into eternal night; but may he enjoy an everlasting one with God!
The accession of a Tudor to the throne was the happy æra destined to recall the exiled arts of Wales; and Henry VII. was reserved to be the patron, and restorer of the Cambro- British Muses. If during the former inauspicious reigns the Eisteddvods had been discontinued, they were now re-established ; and the Bards were employed in the honourable commission of making out from their authentic records the pedigree of their king' Henry VIII. the stern and cruel son of a mild father, did not, however, refuse to the Bards his aid, and favour’. I insert, as an instance, the following summons to an Eisteddvod by his authority.
“ Be it known to all persons, both gentry and commonalty, that an Eisteddvod of the profesors of Poetry and Music will be held in the town of Caerwys, in the county of Flint, the 20th day of July, 1523, and the 15th year of the reign of Henry the VIIIth, king of England, under the commission of the said king, before Richard ab Howel ab Ivan Vaughan, Esq. by the consent of Sir William Griffith, Knight, and Chamberlain for North Wales, and Sir Roger Salsbri, Sheriff for the county of Denbigh, and the advice of Grffith ab Ivan ab Llywelyn Vychan, and the Chair-Bard, Tudur Aled, and several other gentlemen and scholars, for the purpose of inftituting order, and government among the professors of Poetry, and Music, and regulating their art and profeffon, according to the old Hatute of Gruffydd ab Cynan, Prince of Aberffraw 3."
After a long interval of anarchy among the Bards, commissioners were appointed by Queen Elizabeth to assemble another Eisteddvod at Caerwys in 15684. They were instructed to advance the ingenious and skilful to the accustomed degrees, and restore to the graduates their ancient exclusive privilege of exercising their profession. “ The rest, not worthy" were by this commission commanded to betake themselves to some honest labour and livelihood, on pain of being apprehended and punished as vagabonds s.
In a private collection of MSS. I fortunately met with the following beautiful extempore verses on the Nightingale, which were the fruit of the poetical contest of the Bards of North Wales, and South Wales, for the chair, in a posterior Eisteddvod at Caerwys ', in the same reign. They are a' curious relick; they show the poetry of our country in its utmost extent of alliterative and musical refinement ; and are the only specimens of the kind that have ever been exhibited from the press.
Wynne's History of Wales, p. 325. edit. 1774.
5 Rhydderch's Welsh Grammar, p. 187. Evans's Specimens * See Mr. Evans's address At y Cymry. Specimens of Welfh of Welsh Poetry, p. v. before the preface. And Pennant's Tour Poetry, p. 107;
in Wales, p. 434. At this Eisteddvod the number of the poeti3 Rbydderch's Welsh Grammar, p. 186.
cal Bards was 17, and of their musical brethren 38. lbsthis Commission,” says Mr. Pennant, (Tour, P. 433.? Mertraint, ha de ben the feats of Eisteddrods ; Caerwys, a town " is the last of the kind which was granted.” If he understands that this was the last Eisteddvod, he is misinformed. For in Flintsbire, received in later times that honourable distinction. the commissioners here mentioned, having in 1568 constituted It was chosen for this purpose, in compliance with the ancient Symmwnt Vychan Chief Bard, appointed another Eifteddvod to be custom of the Welth, because it had been the princely residence held in 1569, the tenth year of Queen Elisabetb's reign. See of Llywelyn the last. Pennant's Tour, p. 427. See also p. 33, Esans's Specimens of Weld Poetry, p. vü, before the preface. note 1.
BY THE POETS OF NORTH WALES, AND SOUTH WALES.
O waith amravael Brydyddion o Wynedd a'r Deheudir, yn yr Eisteddvod yn Nhre Gaerwys.
"There ev'ry bufo with Nature's music rings,
“ There ev'ry breeze bears bealth upon its wings."Dr. Johnson. Clywais dèg eurllais wedî gorllwyn-nós,
Desgant mwyn dwys gnottiau mawl,
Desgant i'r dysg naturiawl.
Clywais o barc, glâs a bort,
Cyd nod dydd, nid caniad hurt; Jâch lawen ydwyv o chlywais-ar vedw,
Cyd eilio 'lbonc, cydlais bart, Arvodi pereiddlais ;
Cerais bwnc yr Eos bert! Eda llwyd adwaen y llais,
Sión Tudur. Eos gevnllwyd ysgavnllais.
Cyvaniad ganiad gloyw gynnar-clodvaech, Miwsig mîn coedwig mewn ceudawd-llwyn;
Clywch odiaeth cloch adar, Llawenydd hyd ddyddbrawd ;
Cathl Eos gwiw cethlais gwâr ! Mae'r Eos veindlos vwyndlawd
Cyd teilwng mewn coed talar! O, mewn gwŷdd yn mân wau gwawd.
Wm. Cynwnd Mwynlan gloyw chwiban cloch aberth---y llwyn,
Call bynciau yn amlhau ym mhlith-y pillgoed, Mae'n llawenydd prydverth:
Pebillgerdd cyvedd-wlith; Miwfig heb boen ymmysg perth
Cywir ar ganol cae'r gwenith ;
Chwibanogl aur uwch ben gwlith
Chwerthiniad ganiad genau yn crychu
Pwnc crechwen telynau, Eos hyd y nôs dan wŷdd !
Llawen yw cerdd y llwyn cau
Am Eos wâr a'i mesurau !
Daildai ddehuddai hoywddysgobro diddan
Brydyddes y mân-wrylg, Mewn tor llwyn a maint yw'r llais !
Sy' yn nyddu fain addysg Er llais tra hoffais trafferch-mân adar,
O’i filffai dan folffio dysg ! A’u mwyn wawdydd dierth;
Clywais, llawenais mewn lle-iach obaith Eos drwynbert îs draenberth
Chwiban mil o byncie',
O'r gwrych drain ar gyrch y dre'
Rd. Davis, Esgob Myrya'. Nid manwl nodau mwynach,
Mwyndlos main Eos mwyn awydd nwyvus Nid ysbort ond Eos bach.
Mewn nevawl leverydd : Dysgedig viwsig voesawl-gerdd Eos,
mân wawdydd, Gradd Awen ysbrydawl,
Miniwn gwawd a mwynen gwŷdd !
· These elegant Englynion have such peculiar and simple bre- Cynwal, and Huw Llyn, commenced Dysgyblion Pencairddiaid, vity, that I bave forborne to translate them, lest I should de or Masters of the art of Poetry, grace them by an inadequate representation. The Eisteddvod • Richard Davis, D. D. Bishop of St. David's, one of the which produced them was held Iconclude, between theyear 1569 translators of the New Testament into Welth, 4to. London, and 1580; as the Bards who composed them, flourished before 1567. See an Historical Account of the Wellh Tranlations of or at this later period.--Some of the contending Bards took the Bible. By Thomas Llewelyn, LL.D. 8vo. London, 1768, degrees in the Eifteddvod in 1568: William Llyn was admitted We see that the Eisteddvod was still very respectable, whea to the degree of Pencerdd, or Doctori and Sion Tudur, William bishops did not disdain to be enrolled among the Bards.