Upcoming Daily Series: Welsh Poetry

I cannot lie: I am a Welshman, if you haven’t guessed.

I don’t know Welsh, or Cymru, but I am obsessed with the history and poetry of Wales. Following in this vein, each day I will post a Welsh poem with accompanying translation. I enjoy the poetic style very much, and I hope some of you do as well.

I will be working through two ancient Welsh manuscripts. The first is the Llyfr Taliesin, written by the bard Taliesin.  Although Taliesin himself lived at the beginning of the 6th century, the manuscript was probably compiled in the latter half of the 14th century. Many of the poems are poems of praise to God, and are very beautiful.

The second work is the Y Gododdin. It is a heroic epic of 300 men who fight against incredible odds, and fall almost to a man (similar to the Battle of Thermopylae). Approximate dates for the Y Gododdin range from the early 6th century to the middle of the 13th. Whatever the case, it is almost certainly the oldest surviving piece of Welsh poetry available to us today.

Both translations are by W. F. Skene, done in 1858.



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