Bardic praises?

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Bardic praises?

Postby Livio Asta on October 26th, 2012, 3:09 pm

We read in classic sources that bards had the double task to praise and to blame lords, depending on their actions; this perfectly matches with later insular texts.

More specifically, Posidonius writes about a bard singing that the traces left by the weels of his lord's chariot were like grooves in wich gold and prosperity grew for men.

Now, i would like to develop this short trace of a bardic text, maybe crossing it with some Irish or Welsh text where a bard praises his lord; someone knows such texts? If you have both original and translation it would be perfect.

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Re: Bardic praises?

Postby D Evans on October 27th, 2012, 12:51 pm

I know that the British bard Aneirin sang praise poems to his lord Urien of Rheged. These date to c. AD 600, although the earliest written copies date to the later Middle Ages.

POEM 1- Song for Urien

In rest,
A song I kept.
Respect and plenty
And mead I possessed.
I possessed mead.
His triumph,
And fair lands,
A great wonder.
And gold and hour,
And hour and treasure,
And plenty
And esteem.
And giving a desire,
A desire of giving it
To encourage me.
He slays, he plagues,
He cherishes, he honours,
He honours, he cherishes,
He slays before him.
Presence was given
To the bards of the world.
Ever certainly
To thee they say
According to thy will
God hath caused to thee
The shoulder of kings
Against despicable fear.
Incitement of battle
The protection of a country.
The country protected
Battle of incitement
Usual about thee
The tumult of capering,
The capering of tumult
And drinking of ale.
Ale for the drinking,
And a fair homestead,
And beautiful clothing,
To me has been extended.
The lofty Llwyvenydd,
And requests open.
In one dwell
Great and little.
Taliesin’s song.
Thou comfortest it.
Thou art the best
Of those that have heard
His vehement animosities.
I also will praise
Thy deeds.

And until I fail in old age,
in the sore necessity of death,
May I not be smiling,
If I praise not Urien.

POEM 2 - Song for Urien

In one year
One that provides
Wine and bounty and mead,
And manliness without enmity,
And a musician excelling,
With a swarm of spears about him.
With ribbands at their heads,
And their fair appearances.
Every one went from his presence,
They came into the conflict,
And his horse under him.
Purposing the affair of Mynaw.
And more harmony,
Advantage flowing about his hand.
Eight score of one colour
Of calves and cows.
Much cows and oxen.
And every fair need.
I should not be joyful
If Urien were slain.
He is dear before he went.
A Saxon shivering, trembling,
With hair white-washed,
And a bier his destiny,
With a bloody face.
For the blood of men a little protected.
And a man of the intrenchment persevering,
Whose wife is a widow.
Mine is the wine of the prince,
Mine is the wine of frequent parties,
My chance, my aid, my head.
Since the rising up will not cause
A striking fronting one another.
Porter, listen.
What is the noise: is it the earth that quakes?
Or is it the sea that swells?
Whitened, clinging together, against the infantry.
If there is a cry on the hill,
Is it not Urien that terrifies?
If there is a cry in the valley,
Is it not Urien that pierces?
If there is a cry in the mountain,
Is it not Urien that conquers?
If there is a cry on the slope,
Is it not Urien that wounds?
If there is a sigh on the dyke,
Is it not Urien that is active?
A cry of a journey over the plain,
A cry in every meandering vale.
Nor will one sneeze or two
Protect from death.
He would not be on famine
With spoils surrounding him.
Over-querulous, trailing, of a blue tint.
Like death was his spear,
Killing his enemy.

And until I fail in old age,
In. the sore necessity of death,
May I not be smiling,
If I praise not Urien.

Finally I found this one, which also has the original old Welsh Text too.

Poem 3: Urien Yrechwydd

Urien of the cultivated plain,
The most generous man of baptism,
Abundance has been given
To the men of earth.
As it has been gathered,
It has been scattered.
Joyful the bards of baptism
Whilst thy life continues.
There is greater joy
For the high-famed, and liberal of praise.
It is greater glory,
That Urien and his children should exist.
And he especially
The supreme Guledig.
In a distant city,
A principal pilgrim,
The Lloegrians know him,
When they converse.
Death they had,
And frequent vexation,
Burning their homesteads,
And drawing their coverings.
And loss,
And great incomprehension,
Without obtaining deliverance
From Urien Rheged.
The protector of Rheged,
The praise of Ier, the anchor of the country.
My inclination is on thee,
Of every hearing.
Heavy thy spear-throwing,
When the battle is heard,
When they resort to battle,
A smarting is made.
Fire in houses before day,
Before the sovereign of the cultivated plain,
The most fair cultivated plain,
And its most generous men.
The Angles are accustomed to be without homage
From most valiant king.
A most valiant progeny,
Thine is the best.
Of those who have been, or will be,
There is not thy match.
When he is looked upon,
Very great is the terror.
It is usual to look for him,
For an active king.
Around him a modest demeanour,
And the varied multitude,
The splendid prince of the North,
The choicest of princes.

And when I fail in age,
In the sore necessity of death,
May I not be smiling,
If I praise not Urien.

Urien Yrechwydd

Uryen yr echwyd. haelaf dyn bedyd.
lliaws a rodyd y dynyon eluyd.
Mal y kynnullyd yt wesceryd.
llawen beird bedyd tra vo dy uuchyd.
ys mwy llewenyd gan clotuan clotryd.
ys mwy gogonyant vot Uryen ae plant.
Ac ef yn arbennic yn oruchel wledic.
yn dinas pellennic. yn keimyat kynteic.
lloegrwys ae gwydant pan ymadrodant.
agheu a gawssant a mynych godyant
llosci eu trefret a dwyn eu tudet
ac eimwnc collet a mawr aghyffret
heb gaffel gwaret. rac vryen reget.
Reget diffreidyat clot ior agor gwlat
vy mod yssyd arnat. O pop erclywat
dwys dy peleitrat pan erclywat kat.
kat pan y kyrchynt gwnyeith a wneit.
Tan yn tei kyn dyd rac vd yr echwyd.
Yr echwyd teccaf ae dynyon haelhaf.
gnawt eigyl heb waessaf. am teyrn glewhaf.
glewhaf eissyllyd tydi goreu yssyd.
or a uu ac a uyd. nyth oes kystedlyd.
pan dremher arnaw ys ehalaeth y braw.
Gnawt gwyled ymdanaw am teyrn gocnaw.
Amdanaw gwyled. a lliaws maranhed
eurteyrn gogled arbenhic teyrned.

Ac yny vallwyf hen
Ym dygyn agheu aghen.
ny bydif ym dirwen
na molwyfi vryen.
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Re: Bardic praises?

Postby Livio Asta on October 29th, 2012, 1:24 pm

Thanx a lot! Exactly what i was looking for.
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Re: Bardic praises?

Postby D Evans on October 31st, 2012, 11:27 am

Livio Asta wrote:Thanx a lot! Exactly what i was looking for.


No problem there is a lot more of the Aneirin's praise poems, although I didn't have space to fit them all. All in all there's a lot of other praise poetry from the Dark Ages too, I'll try to find more if you'd like.
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Re: Bardic praises?

Postby Livio Asta on October 31st, 2012, 12:19 pm

If you have time to do it, of course i'd like. But since you signaled me the good direction now i can look for it by myself.
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Re: Bardic praises?

Postby Beth M on October 31st, 2012, 1:20 pm

Livio, Mary Jones' Celtic Literature Collective has a good collation of early praise poetry, although the translations in some cases are a bit out of date. Aneirin's elegaic Y Gododdin can be found here and the rest of Taliesin's praise poems here - only the poems to Urien and his son Owain, Cynan Garwyn and Gwallog are considered to be 'authentic' Taliesin work, though.
Hope this helps. *smile*

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