The Bard of the Dyfi, and his contribution to our labels

If you find yourself looking at the back of our Dyfi Original, Pollination or Hibernation gins, you'll find a different poetic couplet on each. We've posted here what their origin is (we keep the original translation at the distillery for those interested in seeing it).

Dyffryn Dyfi (Dovey Valley), by Lewys Glyn Dyfi

Dyffryn Dyfi is part of a much larger work of poetry, published in 1852, by Lewis Meredith: ‘Blodau Glyn Dyfi’ (Flowers of the Dovey Valley).

Lewis of the Dovey Valley (Lewys Glyn Dyfi), wrote the introduction to the book of poems in Cemmaes, most likely at the Penrhos Arms.

Dyffryn Dyfi has never previously been fully translated, and is published here in both the original Welsh and English for your interest and enjoyment.

Three separate couplets from the poem appear on the rear of each of our Dyfi Original, Pollination and Hibernation Gin bottles, and are highlighted below by underlining, as we receive many enquiries as to the origin of these words.

We have reproduced the English after every couple of lines, which in places disrupts the flow of the text, but we have done it in this way for those who’d like to identify individual words in translation.

The original poem was set out in five sections. We have separated each either with footnotes, or a discreet + sign.

The footnotes included appeared in the original text, excepting that in brackets on the final page, which was added at translation stage.

We are indebted to Sioned Pugh and her team at the Welsh Government for their amazing work on this, and earlier to Jodie Bond, Pete’s stepdaughter and now author in her own right.

 

Heddychol ddyffryn tlws! dy ruddiau llon

Fu’n mynych lawenhau y fynwes hon:

Enchanting, peaceful vale! your merry slopes

Have often gladdened this heart of mine:

 

Am orig fach dy hoff ororau glân

A gânt yn awr roi bywyd i fy nghân.

For a little while, your beloved, undefiled frontiers

Shall bring life to my song.

 

Naturiaeth, ar ei thaith i harddu’r wlad,

A wenodd arnat ti mewn llon foddhad;

Nature, on its journey to beautify the countryside,

Smiled upon you in joyous satisfaction;

 

O’i gwych drysorau i addurno’th ael

Cyfranu wnaeth ei cheinion heirdd yn hael.

From her magnificent treasures, to adorn your brow,

She imparted beautiful jewels in abundance.

 

Am un tàl fynydd o dy gylch a gwyd,

Nac am eangder mawr fel goror Clwyd,

Not for one high mountain rising around you,

Nor for a great expanse such as the Clwydian border,

 

Cyfaddef raid nas meddi gyfiawn hawl

I ddysgwyl cael gan neb ryw hynod fawl:

Do you have a true right, it must be admitted,

To expect to receive noteworthy praise from anyone:

 

On der nad yw dy faint ond megys “glyn,”

Ac er nad oes un mynydd mawr na bryn

But although your magnitude is only the size of a dale,

And although there is no large mountain or hill

 

O fri anfarwol ar dy fron ddifraw

Yn taflu i lawr eu tremion beilch o draw;

Of undying fame on your serene hill-side,

Gazing pompously down from afar; 

 

Ymorwedd mae rhyw gryf ddeniadol swyn

Oddeutu’th hoff amgylchoedd sydd yn dwyn

There is a vigorous, attractive charm

Around your beloved vicinity which causes

 

Pob un a’th genfydd yn dy hefin wisg

I’th garu’n wir, a theimlo, tray n mysg

All who discover you in your summer robe

To truly love you, and to feel, whilst amidst

 

Dy brydferth olygfeydd, ryw fwyniant pur

A ddaliant hwy mewn melys gof yn hir.

Your beautiful scenery, some pure delight

Which will long be held by them in sweet memories.

 

Am flwng ryfeloedd certh, fel llawer man,

Ni ddaeth rhyw faith hynodrwydd i dy ran:

You have no great renown, such as many a place,

For terrible, cruel wars:

 

Un Thermopylæ o dy gylch nid oes,

Nac un Marathon erch, yn gof o farwol loes

There is no Thermopylae in your environs,

Nor a terrifying Marathon, in memory of the deadly agony

 

I âlon beilch; dy fynwes werdd ni waned

Fel Cennæ gynt yn goch gan ddynol waed.

Of proud courage; your green bosom was not,

Like Cannae of yore, made red by human blood.

 

Er hyn, y glew Rufeinwr unwaith fu

Yn siglo’i waewffon ar hyd-ddot ti:*

Yet, the valiant Roman once swung

His spear along your length:*

 

Ac wedi trail canrifoedd, Llew Glyndwr

A welwyd yn dy fro yn uwchaf gwr, †

And with the lapse of centuries, the Lion of Glyndŵr

Was seen in your neighbourhood, the greatest hero, +

 

Yn arwain ei arfogion dewr i’r gad

I roi ar ffo elynion blin fy ngwlad.

Leading his brave men to war

To drive the evil enemies of my country away.

 

* Dywedir fod gynt amddiffynfa Rufeinig sefydlog mewn lle o’r enw Cefncaer, yn Mhennal.

† Coronwyd Owain Glyndwr yn Machynlleth. Yroedd ganddo hefyd senedd-dy yno, yr hwn sydd yn aros hyd heddyw.

*It is said that there was once an established Roman fort at a place called Cefn-caer in Pennal.

+ Owain Glyndŵr was crowned at Machynlleth. He also had a parliament house there, which still stands today.

 

 

Ac er nad wyt yn rhyw Arcadia fwyn,

A’th wigoedd cain yn ddigon cryf eu swyn

And although you are no gentle Arcadia,

Nor the charm of your fine woodlands powerful enough

 

I ddenu pêr Fardonneg hardd ei phryd

I wneud ei thrigfan ynot ar bob pryd;

To allure the noble and beautiful Poetry to make

Her home with you at all times;

 

Trwy’r oesoedd oll nib u dy ardal werdd

Mewn amddifadrwydd llwyr o deithi’r gerdd:

Throughout the ages your green environs

Were not totally devoid of poetical attributes:

 

Pwy a annghofia’th hybarch Lywarch Hen,

Y grymus fardd a wisgai siriol wên

Who will forget your honourable Llywarch Hen,

The mighty bard who had such a joyful smile

 

Pan glywai’r “gog yn Abercuawg” † gynt

Yn anfon ei pheroriaeth gyda’r gwynt,

When once upon a time, at Abercuawg,* he heard the cuckoo

Send her melody on the wind,

 

Neu a dywalltai alarnadawl gri

Am gwymp Cynddylan ddewr i’r dyfnfedd du?

Or who poured out a mournful lament

When brave Cynddylan fell into the black depths?

 

Tra seif Machynlleth ar dy dawel fron,

Bydd enw Llawdden* ddoeth yn nglyn wrth hon;

While Machynlleth town stands on your peaceful slope,

The name of wise Llawdden+ will abide by her;

 

A’th afon dlos, tra’n treiglo bydd ei lli,

Caiff Ieuan Dyfi fod mewn cofiant cu.

And while your fair river continues to flow,

Ieuan Dyfi shall be in beloved memory.

 

A minau’n llanc cystuddiol, gwael ei wedd,

Sy’n ceisio plethu BLODAU’n arlant hedd

And I myself an afflicted, sick lad,

Endeavouring to plait FLOWERS into a peace garland

 

I’w gadael ar fy ol, yn deyrnged fach

O barch i ti, pan wedi canu’n iach

To leave behind me, as a small tribute of

Respect to you, when I will have bid farewell

 

Y byddaf fi i’r awen hoff a’r gerdd,

I huno’m hûn yn nghôl dy ddaiar werdd.

To the dearest muse and song,

To sleep my slumber in the lap of your green earth.

 

† Cyfansoddodd Ll. Hen Englynion Triban ar y testyn uchod. Mae enw Abercuawg yn cael ei gadw, mewn rhan, hyd heddyw, gan dyddyn o’r enw Dolguog, ar Ian y Dyfi, yn agos i Fachynlleth.

* Bardd dyagedig, yr hwn a fu yn Offeiriad yno.

*The bard Llywarch Hen composed ‘Englynion Triban’ (a metrical triplet in Welsh poetry on the above theme). The name Abercuawg has been kept, in part, until today, in the name of a smallholding, called Dolguog, on the banks of the River Dyfi near Machynlleth.

+ A learned poet, who had been a priest there.

 

Mori ach â’r glain, mor chwim â’r iwrch fy hynt,          

Ar lawer bore teg y dringais gynt,

As healthy as the gem, as nimble as the roe deer,

Many a fair morning did I once climb,

 

Yn llon fy mryd, i ben y mynydd draw,

I hoff fwynhau’r olygfa faith islaw.

My heart full of joy, up to the top of yonder hill,

To enjoy the beloved expanse of scenery below.

 

O! mor ddymunol fyddai gwel’d yr haul

I’w yrfa’n cychwyn gyda rhwysg diail,

Oh, how pleasant it would be to see the sun

Begin its journey with matchless splendour,

 

A’r dyffryn dan ei wres yn offrwm fry

Ei fwgdarth pêr am wawl y bore cu!

And the valley, in its warmth, sending up above an offering

Of its fragrant haze for the beloved morn’s radiance!

 

Ond yma weithian fore, nawn, a hwyr,

Yr ydwyf fi, mewn absenoldeb llwyr

But nowadays, morning, noon and night,

Here I am, completely absent from

 

Oddiwrth adfywiant a mwynderau chweg

Dy dirion olygfeydd, O ddyffryn teg!

The renewal and pleasant delights

Of your graceful scenery, Oh, handsome vale!

 

On der rhoi terfyn ar fy llwybrol hynt,

Yn fynych mae dy hen brydweddau gynt

Yn ysgafnhau fy mron, pan yn fy mryd

Yr ail gynyrchir hwynt yn llawn i gyd.

But although my wending journeys have now ended,

Your old features in time past have frequently

Lightened my heart, when in my mind

They are all fully reproduced.

+

Gwyryfon glân a fagwyd ar dy fron,

A llawer torf o’th wrol fechgyn llon,

Virtuous maidens were nurtured at your breast

And many a throng of valiant, joyous lads,

 

Sydd wedi rhoi ffarwel i’th oror gu,

A’i swynion llawn, a llwybro dros y lli

Have bid farewell to your dear boundary,

And its bountiful charms, and wended their way over sea

 

I ffrwm wastadion a choedwigoedd pell

Gorllewin fyd, a llawer cwm a chell

To the luxuriant plains and far-flung forests

Of the western world, and to many a vale and bower

 

O’r ddaiar faith, gan ddysgwyl mwyniant gwell.

Ceir ambell hoedyn balch yn diystyru’r dydd

Worldwide, expecting better delights.

There is the odd proud stripling who disregards the day

 

Y llonid ef â’th iach awelon rhydd:

Ond ereill, er i ddoeth ragluniaeth Duw

That he was gladdened by your abundant, salubrious breezes:

While others, although God’s wise providence

 

Eu harwain draw i arall fro i fyw,

Yn fynych iawn, yn ddigon trist eu bron,

Led them away to another land to live,

Often, with sadness in their heart,

 

Adgofio meant yr hen amserau llon

Pan fyddent hwy yn llawen iawn eu hynt

Remember the old joyful times

When they would merrily wend their ways

 

Yn troedio’th lenyrch heirdd y dyddiau gynt:

Meillionen wyllt oddiar dy ddolydd cu

Dderbyniai ganddynt ryw anwylach bri

In times gone by, treading your beautiful glades:

A wild clover from your beloved pastures

Would from them receive an honour

 

Na phêr bwysïau o rosynau prid

A harddaf flodau gerddi pena’r byd.

More dear than pure posies of costly roses

Or the finest flowers in the world’s choice gardens.

+

Hen afon Dyfi! mae dy enw’n wir

Yn deffro yn fy mron adgofion pur:

Old river Dyfi! Your name in truth

Does wake pure memories in my heart:

 

Ar hyd dy hyfryd lenydd tirion wawr,

Mewn pêr fwynhad, mi dreuliais lawer awr,

Along your beautiful banks of graceful hue,

Did I spend many an hour in pure enjoyment,

 

Cyn i drallodian a chystuddiau blin

Ffrewyllu ymaith fy mwynderau cun.

Before adversity and troublesome tribulation

Scourged away my beloved delights.

 

Fe gafwyd llawer llon ddifyrwch rhydd

Pan yr ymgasglem gynt ar hwyr y dydd,

Many the unrestrained happy amusement did we have

When congregated in time past at end of day,

 

Heb wybod dim am wae na gofid sur,

I gydymdrochi yn dy ffrydiau clir;

Knowing nothing of adversity nor sour distress,

To bathe in your clear waters;

 

A llawer crechwen iach ddyspedai’r nen

Pan gwympai’r llwfr, heb feddwl, dros ei ben!

And many a hearty guffaw did echo up above

When the faint-hearted tumbled, without thinking, over his head!

 

Fel yma chware wnaem ar hyd y llyn

Mewn nwyfiant byw; ac yna wedi hyn

This is how we played along the lake

In lively vigour; and then, to follow

 

Yn llu noethlumyn eid, mewn gwres diball,

I ymlid hyd y ddôl y nail y llall.

A stark naked multitude we would go, in relentless heat,

To chase one another along the meadow.

 

Ddiniwed oriau dyddiau bore oes!

Oedd mor amddifad o wir chwerw loes

Oh, innocent hours of childhood days!

So devoid of true cruel anguish

 

Ag yw dy loew lif o rewllyd iâ

Ar ganol tesog ddydd “Gwyl Ifan ha’!”-

As are your sparkling icy waters

Midday on a sultry “Gŵyl Ifan ha’!”* day –

 

O lawer trod dy don fu’n dyst, er pan

Fu awen Llywarch Hen yn canu ar dy lan:

Many a time your waters have been witness, since

The muse of Llywarch Hen sang on your shore:

 

Ar foesau’th finion cyfnewidiad mawr

Gymerodd le o hyny hyd yn awr:

To the great change in the customs on your banks

That has taken place between then and now;

 

Yn lle yr hardd, ond gwledig, symledd pur,

I blith pob gradd death oeraidd falchder sur;

Instead of the beautiful, but rural, pure simplicity,

To every class has come sour, cold vanity;

 

Yn awr gan fawr a bach, mewn gwisg a moes,

Y nod o hyd yw coeglyd ddull yr oes.

And now, midst great and small, in dress and morals,

The aim still is the vain fashion of the age.

 

Ond gwelaist hefyd hen arferion fil

O flaen eu gwell yn gorfod myn’d ar gil:

But you also saw a host of old traditions

Having to decline before their betters:

 

Godyrddain nefol ffrydiau gras ein Duw

Sy’n awr er’s blwyddau maith, yn adsain yn dy glyw.

The stirring sound of our God’s heavenly streams of grace

Do now, for many a year, echo in your ear.

 

Er fod clogwyni gwyllt yr Aran* serth

Ar ddechreu’th daith, mewn blin sarugrwydd certh,

Although the wild cliffs of steep Aran,+

At the start of your journey, hang in awful terrible severity

 

Yn hongian uwch dy ben, a chreigiau fyrdd

Yn ceisio’th atal i dy ddyffryn gwyrdd, -

Above your head, and myriad boulders

Attempt to impede your journey to your green vale, –

 

Buddugol wyt are u holl rwystrau hwy,

Ac wedi cyraedd hwn nid ofni mwy;

You are the victor despite all their obstacles,

And having arrived here you no longer fear;

 

Pleserus bellach fydd dy araf daith,

Rhwng dolydd hyfryd, a gweirgloddiau maith,

Henceforth your slow journey will be pleasing,

Midst beautiful meadows, and extensive pastures,

 

Nes cyraedd mynwes ddofn yr eigion llaith.

I miau boed yn rhan gyffelyb ffawd

Until you reach the deep breast of the succulent ocean.

May I also be part of a similar fate

 

Wrth grwydro glynoedd amser ar fy rhawd;

Os cilio’n llwyr a wna mwynianau’r llawr,

As I wander the valleys of time on my way;

If earthly pleasures do completely diminish,

 

Ar gynydd boed cysuron pur bob awr,

Nes imi gyraedd draw i’r bythol wynfyd mawr.

May pure solace increase by the hour,

Until I reach the great eternal blessedness.

 

*Wrth droed Aran Fawddwy y mae yn codi. Gelwir ei ffynonell “Creiglyn Dyfi:” y mae yn dwfn tywyll, ac addeutu haner milldir o amgylchedd.

(*Gŵyl Ifan – the feast of the Nativity of St John the Baptist, held on 24 June)

+ The River Dyfi rises at the foot of Aran Fawddwy. Its source is called Creiglyn Dyfi: it is a deep, dark lake, approximately half a mile in circumference.

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