Archive for November 22nd, 2018

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Gwalchmai’s Delight by Gwalchmai ap Meilyr

Swift rising dawn of joyful gliding June,
Melodious song of birds, calm, lustrous noon!
A gold-torqued Chief am I that know not fear,
A fierce, host-facing lion, rout in my rear!
At night I guard with bound-protecting sword
The babbling flow of Dygen Freiddin’s ford.

How green the untrodden grass! How pearly pale
Its stream! And oh, its amorous nightingale!
The sea-mews playing o’er its bed of flood
Shake their white plumes in boisterous multitude;
Till, whiter breasted one, the lover’s season
With dreams of thee distract my very reason.
Far, far art thou from Mona’s pleasant leas,
Where folk in splendid solitude take their ease,
Where truth by choicest lips is ever told,
Where poesy pours in one pure stream of gold.

My falchion flashes quick to guard the brave,
My round shield glitters glory by the wave;
While dulcet harmonies from morn till eve
Wood-birds and waters delicately interweave.

My mind inflamed shoots like a shivering star
O’er all the land to Evernwy afar;
Over white budding apple-tree, blossoming flowers,
Woods one wide emerald at this hour of hours,
To Caerwys’ nymph, within her bower of bowers.

Gwalchmai my name, the Saxon’s steadfast foe,
For Mona’s prince I struck a battle blow;
Before a fortress I made blood to flow,
For Llywy’s sake, fair as on trees the snow.

The nightingale that shortens sleep in May
And Llywy’s lily looks I’ll praise alway.

I saw in Rhuddlan a flaming rush before
Owain, carnage of spears, lettings of gore.
With mortal combats I heard the Vale outring;
I saw a hundred Captains’ silencing.

But when War’s mighty music had sunk to rest,
Sweet sang the nightingale above his nest.

From: Graves, Alfred Perceval (ed. and transl.), Welsh Poetry Old and New in English Verse, 1912, Longmans, Green, and Co.: London, pp. 16-17.
(https://archive.org/details/welshpoetryoldne00graviala/)

Date: 12th century (original in Welsh); 1912 (translation in English)

By: Gwalchmai ap Meilyr (fl. 1130-1180)

Translated by: Alfred Perceval Graves (1846-1931)

Advertisements