Archive for February 13th, 2012

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Owl Disturbs the Bard’s Sleep by Dafydd Ap Gwilym

Wretched owlet! worthless bird!
Always are her accents heard;
She must ever wail and cry―
While the stars are in the sky!
I can never rest or sleep
For the noise she loves to keep!
With the bat she lives together,
In the rainy―snowy weather!
Every day my ear she tears
With her shrieks and hideous airs―
Every night all slumber flies
(At her wild salute) my eyes;
I am vexed the long night through,
With her vile “to-hoo to-hoo!”
I believe that with these yells,
She the dogs of night impels!
Filthy and untoward fowl,
With fat head, and hideous howl,
Forehead broad, and ruddy breast―
Foe of mice, with mouse-hued vest!
Worthless thing with formal port,
Dingy hue, and leafy court;
With demure and solemn face―
Goblin of the feathered race!

Her each bird a buffet gives―
It is strange that still she lives!
More she utters on the hill,
Than the nightingale―at night;
But in hollow tree, she still
Guards her head―in the day-light!
Bird of Gwyn ap Neath! too long,
Her unseemly form I’ve known;
Dolt of darkness! whose harsh song
By the thieves is deemed their own;
How I hate her luckless tone!

Never shall I want a lay,
Though her voice were far away.
Firebrands, till the frost is past,
In each ivy-bush I’ll cast!

From: Gwilym, Dafydd ap, Translations into English verse from the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym, a Welsh bard of the fourteenth century, 1834, Henry Hooper: London, pp. 76-77. (

Date: 1834 (published)

By: Dafydd ap Gwilym (c1320-c1380)