« ForrigeFortsæt »
Pitiless, insatiate Sea,
Thou but mock'st my bitter weeping ;
He will hear me and command
Of the latter kind of poetry, Blackwell is, perhaps, the chief exponent. While the language of his effusions is pure and idiomatic, the thoughts bear all the impress of a high education and of acquaintance, not only with Celtic literature, but with that of other peoples and languages. He has ransacked the storehouses of English poetry and transferred much of their wealth into his own Cymric tongue-not in its crude, undigested state; but, by fusing it in bis alembic and moulding it into new forms, he has given us creations that, retaining all the characteristics of their original condition, are yet new in our Welsh literature.
The poem before us will, if carefully examined, prove our assertion, We must caution our readers not to form their judgment of the truth of these remarks from the translation. A right opinion can be formed only by an exact criticism of the original.
The two kinds are concentred in the poetry of Goronwy Owen, and in an extraordinary degree. After ranging through the wide fields of Grecian, Roman, and English literature, he writes his strains in a purely Cymric idiom-fusing thought and language into one compound in his crucible.
PRIVATE DEVOTIONS OF THE WELSH IN
DAYS GONE BY.
BY THE REV. ELIAS OWEN, of Ruthin.
In the more secluded parts of Wales, up to a time remenbered by the living, the evening devotions of the people consisted of prayers in rhyme, with the repetition of the Creed and Lord's Prayer. These were usually uttered audibly in a reverent manner, and in a kneeling posture. One of the most common of these rhythmical prayers commenced with “Mam wen". It is known as Breuddwyd Mair, Mary's Dream. 1 have collected several readings of this hyinn, and, as it is curious, it is worth perpetuating.
The first copy of Breulduyd Mair I met with in 1863. It was given me by John Parry, a shoemaker, of Aber, in Carnarvonshire, an intelligent man who was fond of talking of old times, which he continued to regard, notwithstanding modern inventions, as the “ good old times”. He was taught it by an old female neighbour forty-one years before, when he was a child; and she also taught him his Pudar (Pater), the Lord's Prayer. But I will give his own words:—“Dyma i chwi riw beth ac ni wn i ddim o ba le y tarddodd e na phwy yw ei awdwr, ac a ddysgodd hen gymdoges i mi 41 mlynedd yn ol gydar padar iw ddweud cyn myned ir gwely bob nos ac yr oedd y pryd hyn yn beth cyffredin.” Ile says :у
:-" Here I send you something, but I do not know whence it sprang, nor who its author was, that was taught me by an old female neighbour forty-one years ago, together with the padar, to say nightly before going to bed, and it was then a common thing." And then he writes as follows:
PRIVATE DEVOTIONS OF THE WELSH IN DAYS GONE BY.
Mam wen Fair wyt ti ’n huno?
Pwy bynag ai gwypo ac ai dywdo
Tir uffern byth nis cerddo. I have adhered to the orthography; in fact, have given a perfect copy of my friend's letter. The Welsh is that of Carnarvonshire, and this will account for some of the verbal differences between the above and the versions that are to follow. He ends his letter as follows:-“A dyna fel y bydda pawb ar ol dweud ei badar drosdo 3 gwaith ac yn wir i chwi pan y bydda y dywydd yn oer byddwn i yn rhedeg drosdo yn o fuan ond mae yr hen dy sofl a gwell(t) yna wedi myned ar dan ers dalm gan lawer ar ysbrydoedd yn gadwedig drwyr anhywsder;" which, rendered into English, is as follows: "And thus did everyone, after repeating the Pater noster three times—and, to tell you the truth, when the weather was cold, I ran over it pretty quickly,—but that old stubble-built and straw-thatched house has long since been burnt by many, and the souls saved through difficulties.” The concluding remark shows the estimation of such prayers by a generation but one remove from that in which they were common.
Without attempting to turn these lines into English verse, I will give a translation thereof, following the verses as given in Welsh:
Mary, mother pure, art thou asleep?
And one benighted man, deceived of Satan, piercing thy left side,
There is poetry in the picture which these lines bring before us.
The Saviour sees His mother in a troubled dream ; and, child-like, inquires whether she is asleep; she, alluding to the horrors caused by her dream, informs her Son that she had been asleep, and that she had had a dream. Then He affectionately inquires what that dream might be that caused her those throbs of mental pain; and she, in answer, informs Him, that she, in her dream, had seen him, her dear Son, taken prisoner, rudely followed by the mocking crowd, nailed to the Cross, and His side pierced with a spear,
and that His precious blood spurted from the cruel wound. She had had portrayed to her mind the whole scene of the Crucifixion. Then she is told that her dream was to be a fact. The picture is drawn by an artist, and the thoughts of the dying Saviour, which the repetition of this would suggest, are such as might well be our last, after a busy day's labours. But the latter part of the piece is greatly inferior to the former portion.
The next version that I shall give was taken down from the lips of an old woman in Flintshire, a good while ago, by a cousin of the Rev. Canon Williams, of Llanfyllin, who kindly gave me a copy thereof a few months ago. It is as follows:
Mam wen Fair, wyt ti'n ddeffro ?
Nie welaf dy ddilyn, dy ddal,
Sawl a'i d'wetto ac ai medro
Since there are so many slight differences between this and the first, I will give a translation of this also :
Mary, mother pure, art thou awake?
Whoever says it, and knows it,
It is true, it is true, amen and amen.
Both these readings are substantially the same. But the verbal differences are many. In the first line of each, the Virgin is addressed as “ Mam wen Fair". Both begin alike. Wen I have translated pure, though, primarily, the word means white. I think I am justified in so translating it. After the