Select notes:
Translation:

23. Moliant i Dydecho

edited by Eurig Salisbury

Poem of praise for Tydecho by Dafydd Llwyd of Mathafarn. Date c.1450 × c.1490.

Mae gŵr llwyd yma garllaw,
Mawl a wedd yn aml iddaw,
Crefyddwr cryf o Fawddwy,1 Mawddwy A commote in Meirionnydd where there are churches dedicated to Tydecho in both Llanymawddwy and Mallwyd, see WATU 154. Note how the plural pronoun in the second line of the couplet refers to the inhabitants of Mawddwy: eu hollwlad hwy ‘their entire country’.
Ceidwad ar eu hollwlad hwy,
5Tydecho lwys, tad uwchlaw
Un o filwyr nef aelaw.
Llyma lle bu’r gwyrda gynt,
Llandudoch,2 Llandudoch This is probably Llandudoch (English St Dogmaels) in Pembrokeshire, see l. 9n Dogwel; contrast Llandudech in a text edited by ‘Glasynys’ (Jones 1863: 454), who notes that this was the original name of Llanymawddwy, by which the older inhabitants still referred to it. Is seems that ‘Glasynys’ lifted his text of the poem from a manuscript that contained many poems by Dafydd Llwyd and was in the possession of one Ifan Jones of ‘Ty’n y braich’ near Dinas Mawddwy (ibid. 453). This manuscript cannot be traced, and it is therefore unclear how closely ‘Glasynys’ kept to his source. The form Llandudech is not found in the extant manuscripts, and there seems to be no further evidence to support it. lle nid ydynt,
Dogwel,3 Dogwel Patron saint of a number of churches in Pembrokeshire, including St Dogmaels, see Dogwel; l. 8n Llandudoch. heb gêl y galwant,
10Iaith groyw swrn, a Thegwan Sant.⁠4 Tegwan Sant Patron saint of Llandegfan on Anglesey, see Tegfan. A chapel dedicated to Tydecho was associated with the church of Llandegfan in the Middle Ages, see LBS iv, 285; Coflein s.v. Capel Tydecho.1 Iaith groyw swrn, a Thegwan Sant Both X2 and, in all likelihood, X1 contained this peculiar form of cynghanedd, which was emended to a more correct form in both CM 21 and LlGC 6499B Iaith groyw swrn a Thegwar Sant, cf. Pen 225 Thegwanr. It is likely that Tegwar was invented (possibly under the influence of the uncommon proper name Tegwared) in order to satisfy the rules of cynghanedd. There is no other evidence for a saint of that name. The consonantal cynghanedd in this line may have been defective from the beginning, or otherwise it may have been acceptable for two consonants to remain unanswered in both halves of the line (note that the two unanswered consonants in this line – r and n – were often left unanswered individually in regular lines of cynghanedd). Further, see ll. 7–10n (explanatory).
Abad hael yn batelu⁠2 batelu The edition follows the majority reading, contrast BL 14866 and J 140 bitelu. Although the saints were often praised for their generosity (see GPC Ar Lein s.v. bitelaf ‘to victual, supply with victuals, feed’), the verb batelu (see ibid. s.v. batelaf ‘to battle’) is better suited to the meaning in the second line of the couplet.
Â’i fagl fawr, difwgl⁠3 difwgl This reading seems to have led some scribes to believe that the line had only six syllables, and that it should therefore be emended: CM 21 ai fagal fawr di fygwl fu, Pen 86 di fwgl a fv, Pen 225 divwgwl. Dafydd Llwyd probably pronounced it as a trisyllabic word, but it is uncertain which form he used, see GPC Ar Lein d.g. difygwl. fu;
Câr o waed, cywir ydoedd,
Arthur benadur ban⁠4 ban The edition follows X1, cf. the variant form ben in X2, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. pan1. It seems that ben was influenced by ben- in benadur. Note that the form pan is found in the following line in every manuscript except Llst 118. oedd.5 Ll. 13–14 Câr o waed … / Arthur According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’, Arthur was the brother-in-law of Budicus, who was alternatively referred to as Emyr Llydaw (Tydecho’s grandfather, see l. 16n) in the Welsh version, see BD 146, 268; GMon 193–4. For another translation of this couplet, see TWS 210 ‘Kinsman of true blood he was to Arthur, ruler, a noble was he.’
15Ni charai ban dreiglai draw
Y môr, llwyd ŵyr Emyr Llydaw,6 Ll. 15–16. The verb [c]arai probably refers to Tydecho, grandson of Emyr Llydaw by his father, Annun Ddu (TYP3 348; WCD 249–50), and the adjective llwyd refers to the ‘holy’ saint, rather than the ‘grey’ sea, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. llwyd (a), (d); cf. l. 1 gŵr llwyd ‘holy man’. However, the verb could also refer to the môr llwyd ‘grey sea’, meaning that the sea had treated the saint unkindly, cf. Lewis Morris’s assertion that Tydecho had gone travelling ‘having suffered by an inundation of the sea’ (Jones 1802: 45). Did Tydecho and others leave Llandudoch because their church on the bank of the river Teifi had been overwhelmed by the sea? Cf. Illtud’s protection of both his land and his church against the sea, as well as numerous examples of saints relocating their churches, IlltudLM ll. 47–54n (explanatory); Henken 1991: 107–9.5 Y môr, llwyd ŵyr Emyr Llydaw The edition follows CM 21, and it is likely that the same reading was found in X1. The word ŵyr was omitted in LlGC 6499B, probably in an attempt to shorten the line, and so too, in all likelihood, in X3, where the definite article was jettisoned. It could be argued that the latter manuscript contained the most likely reading, as the lack of mutation (in môr in this case) – which was allowed at the beginning of a line (TC 196) – may have looked suspect to later scribes. However, the evidence hardly allows it here, and Dafydd Llwyd may have intended this to be an octosyllabic line from the beginning. Another possibility is that the definite article was originally apostrophized, but was reinstated fully in an early source so as to avoid any ambiguity concerning the position of r at the end of the preceding line (or likewise at the beginning of this line): Ni charai ban dreiglai draw’r / Môr, llwyd ŵyr Emyr Llydaw. The reading in X2 myrllydaw is puzzling. It may be another attempt to shorten the line, or otherwise the original reading may have been unclear.
Yna mudawdd⁠6 Yna mudawdd The edition tentatively follows X2, contrast CM 21, LlGC 6499B yno y tynnawdd. The reading in J 140 yno y mynawdd, as well as the uncertain emendment in Pen 225 yno yxtynawdh, seem to suggest that the reading in X3 was unclear. The original reading may have been miscopied or misheard as mynawdd in X1, and then later emended to tynnawdd because the meaning was unclear. i Fawddwy
Rhag dygyfor y môr mwy.
Teml a wnaeth yntau yma,7 Teml a wnaeth yntau yma The teml is Tydecho’s church in Llanymawddwy, see WATU 143. It is clear that Dafydd Llwyd performed his poem somewhere in Mawddwy, cf. l. 59 nid rhwydd yma.
20Tad oedd, ei berchen tŷ da,7 Tad oedd, ei berchen tŷ da The orthography in the manuscripts is of no use in determining whether it is the pronoun ei or the preposition i that precedes berchen. The latter would suggest that the saint was ‘a father to a good householder’, namely the priest of the church in the time of Dafydd Llwyd and the likely patron, cf. a reference to an unnamed ecclesiastic patron in PedrLD l. 62n [y] tenant (explanatory). However, the use of oedd ‘was’ seems rather strange in this context. The pronoun ei is more likely, referring to [p]erchen ‘ownership, possession’, although there are no examples before the 16c./17c. in GPC Ar Lein s.v. perchen (b).
Crefyddwr, llafurwr fu,
Cryf ei wedd8 cryf ei wedd As noted in the textual note on his line, gwedd may have a double meaning, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. gwedd1 ‘appearance’, gwedd2 ‘yoke’. The latter seems to be a more obvious choice in the context of this couplet. yn8 wedd yn The edition follows X2, contrast X1 Cryf ei weddi’n crefyddu (the line was lost on a torn page in Pen 86). It seems likely that a reading similar to weddyn in a lost source was interpreted in two ways by later scribes. Both readings are meaningful, but it seems that the reading in X2 is more likely on two accounts. Firstly, its cynghanedd is technically sound, unlike the reading in X1, where it can be argued that both weddi and crefyddu form a fault known as proest ‘partial rhyme’, if not possibly a full rhyme (gormod odlau). Nevertheless, it is uncertain whether proest i’r odl was considered a fault in the fifteenth century, cf. GG.net 97.1 Pererin piau’r awron. Second, the reference to Tydecho as a llafurwr ‘farmer’ in the first line of the couplet suggests that Dafydd Llwyd may have intended to make use of gwedd’s double meaning, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. gwedd1 ‘appearance’, gwedd2 ‘yoke’. Furthermore, the use of weddi in X1 may have been influenced by line 29 I’w porthi â gweddi’r gŵr. crefyddu,
Un a’i wely, anwylwas,
Ar gwr y glyn ar graig las.9 Ll. 23–4. Un a’i wely … / Ar gwr y glyn ar graig las According to Jones (1863: 454), the stone on which Tydecho would sleep or meditate was about two and a half miles above Llanymawddwy in a place called Rhiw’r March, on the overlook between Pennant and Llaethnant. Furthermore, he notes that the saint’s bed remained unscathed by the hands of evildoers and was decorated with signs of the cross carved by God-fearing pilgrims. It may be the same stone on which Maelgwn sat and found himself unable to move, as related in lines 45–50, see TWS 214.
25Diledach, duwiol ydoedd,
 phais rawn, conffesor oedd.

Gyrrodd (nid er ei garu)
Maelgwn10 Maelgwn Maelgwn Gwynedd, sixth-century king of Gwynedd, see TYP3 428–32; ODNB s.v. Maelgwn Gwynedd. He died around 547/9. In the saints’ lives, he is often portrayed as an evil tyrant and oppressor of the godly saints, probably because he had been the subject of a biting character assassination by Gildas in his influential ‘De Excidio Britanniae’ c.479–84/c.515–30. feirch, amlwg iawn fu,⁠9 amlwg iawn fu The edition follows X2, contrast X1 a milgwn fu. The fact that Dafydd Llwyd refers only to [m]eirch ‘horses’ (34) and [c]wrseriaid ‘coursers’ (38) in the following lines suggests that milgwn ‘hounds’ were not also given to Tydecho by Maelgwn. The original reading was, in all likelihood, either miscopied or misremembered, possibly because milgwn rhymes with Maelgwn.
I’w porthi â gweddi’r gŵr
30Ar ei barth i’r aberthwr;
Yna y’u rhoddes yn rhyddion
A’u gyrru fry i gwr y fron.
Somed hwy⁠10 hwy The edition follows the majority reading, contrast X4 hwyl (possibly an unsuccessful attempt to rectify the faulty cynghanedd in this line). oll – symud lliw
Meirch gwnion marchog anwiw.
35O bu oerwynt a barrug,
Yn dewion gryfion o’r grug,11 Yn dewion gryfion o’r grug This refers to the horses mentioned in the following couplet, which were both stout and strong despite the wintery mountain weather described in the preceding line.
Yr oedd pan gyrchwyd i’r allt
Gwrseriaid grysau eurwallt.
Dug Maelgwn⁠11 Maelgwn The manuscripts all give the form Maelgwyn. As in line 28, where the same form is found in every manuscript except X4, the cynghanedd in this line is of no use in determining the correct form. However, the internal rhyme in the two cynganeddion sain in lines 45 and 51 show clearly that Maelgwn is the correct form in those instances. For the sake of convenience, the edition uses the same forms both in this line and in line 28. wedi digiaw
40Ychen y gŵr llên garllaw,
A’r ail dydd, bu arial dig,
Yr ydoedd geirw’n aredig;12 Yr ydoedd geirw’n aredig According to Jones (1863: 455), this happened on a piece of church land called Dôl y Ceirw on the bank of the river Dyfi.
Blaidd llwyd heb oludd lledwar
Ar ôl oedd yn llyfnu’r âr.
45Doeth Maelgwn a’i gŵn gwnion
I’r graig hwnt ar garreg hon;13 Ll. 45–6. Doeth Maelgwn … / I’r graig hwn ar garreg hon According to Jones (1863: 455), the location of Maelgwn’s uncomfortable sitting could still be seen in his day, but he gives no details about its precise location.
Eisteddodd, bu wst addas,
Uwch y lan ar y llech⁠12 y llech The edition follows X1. As for X2, the same reading is found in BL 14866, but contrast Llst 118 i lech and Pen 86 elech. The reading in Pen 86 is appealing (see GPC Ar Lein s.v. elech ‘stone’), but the reading in Llst 118 suggests that the text in X2 contained something similar to yllech or ylech (possibly because of uncertainty concerning the mutation of feminine nouns beginning with ll- after the definite article). las;
Pan godai nid âi ei din
50I ar y⁠13 I ar y Contrast the synonymous yet technically faulty reading in X1 Oddi ar garreg. garreg, ŵr gerwin.
Gwnaeth Maelgwn, od gwn (dig oedd),
Iawn iddo am a wnaeddoedd:
Danfoned trwy godded tro
Dodi ychen i Dydecho;⁠14 Dodi ychen i Dydecho The edition follows X2. It seems that the scribes who copied the texts that derive from X1 counted this as an octosyllabic line – not realizing that dodi ychen could be contracted into three syllables – and therefore attempted to shorten the line. The preposition i was omitted in X3, whilst more obvious revamping is found in CM 21 and LlGC 6499B Ei ychen i Dydecho, where the verb danfoned in the preceding line was interpreted as the third singular imperative form, instead of the past impersonal form, see GMW 126.
55Rhoes gannoes – nid rhwysg enwir
Nawdd Duw Dad – nodded i’w dir;
Siwrnai’i was⁠15 Siwrnai’i was Most of the manuscripts read siwrne, which may be a dialectal form (cf. l. 93n wrthie (textual)) or a variant form not included in GPC Ar Lein. However, it seems more likely that the original reading was siwrnei, and that -i was assimilated by the following pronoun. A scribal error, in all likelihood, led to the omission of was in X4. drwy swrn o wŷdd,
Meilir,14 Meilir Jones (1863: 455) states that Meilir was the son of ‘Gwyddnaw ab Emyr Llydaw’, and therefore related to the saint, but it is more likely that Meilir was simply Tydecho’s servant. On measuring land on a one-day journey, cf. the medieval Welsh law regarding the right of anyone who had found shelter on ecclesiastical land to graze his livestock as far away from that land so long as they could return within one day, Jenkins 1986: 82; Pryce 1993: 193, 199–200. o’i randir undydd.

Nid rhydd ddim,⁠16 Nid rhydd ddim The edition follows X2, contrast X1 nid rhydd ym (incorrect dividing). nid rhwydd yma,
60Dwyn o’i dir dynion na da;15 da Certainly ‘cattle’ of ‘livestock’, rather than ‘wealth’, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. da as a noun (a); cf. GGLl 17.49 A’i dda ar fynyddoedd ŷnt ‘And his cattle are on the mountains’.
O daw dyn â da i’w dir,⁠17 O daw dyn â da i’w dir The edition follows X2, contrast X1 Od â dyn â da o’i dir. Both readings are meaningful in terms of medieval law, but it seems that the reading in X1, which refers to the theft of cattle from Tydecho’s land, was influenced by the preceding couplet in terms of content and phrasing (o’i dir). The lectio difficilior is found in X2, whose reading refers to the rights of Tydecho’s church in cases of trespassing, see ll. 61–2n (explanatory).
 chebystr yr achubir.16 Ll. 61–2. O daw dyn â da i’w dir, /  chebyst yr achubir Cf. the medieval Welsh law regarding the right of corn farmers to take possession of any animal that trespassed on their crops, see Jenkins 1986: 202–9.
Tiroedd aml, nid rhydd ymladd
Na phrofi llosgi na lladd,
65Na sarhau un o’r sir hon
Oni wnair iawn i wirion.

Gwnaeth ddynion efryddion fry
I rodio pob tir wedy,
A dall a byddar allan
70Weled a chlywed achlân;
Mwy oedd y gobrwy heb gêl
I Dydecho, dad uchel,
Y nosau golau heb gilwg⁠18 Y nosau golau heb gilwg The readings in both Llst 118 and Pen 86 suggest that this was an octosyllabic line in X2 and, furthermore, that David Johns attempted to shorten the line in BL 14866 by omitting heb. It seems that a similar attempt was found in X1, where the definite article was omitted.
Golli trem y gwylliaid drwg.
75Pan ddycpwyd Tegfedd,17 Tegfedd Tydecho’s sister, according to this poem, who was considered a saint (LBS iv, 216–17). meddynt,
Dirasa’ gwaith, i drais gynt,
Yn iawn, rhoes Cynon18 Cynon According to LBS iv, 217 (cf. WCD 603), this Cynon was an unknown ‘local chieftain’, but Cynon may be a form of Cynan, namely Cynan Garwyn, king of Powys in the second half of the 6c., see ODNB; cf. Lewis Morris’s description of him as ‘Prince of Powys’ in Jones 1802: 46. The depiction of Cynon in this poem is certainly similar to the portrayal of Cynan Garwyn both in the Latin life of Cadog, where he is persuaded by the saint not to plunder Morgannwg, and in the Welsh life of Beuno, where he gives land to the saint in Gwyddelwern, see VSB2 114–17; Sims-Williams 2018, 53–4, 145.19 Cynon The edition follows the majority reading, contrast J 140 einion, LlGC 6499B cynan. a’i wŷr
Iddo Arthbeibio bybyr,19 Garthbeibio bybyr A parish in the commote of Caereinion in Powys where there is a church dedicated to Tydecho, see WATU 73; cf. a poem by Lewys Môn to reconcile with the men of Caereinion, in which he says that he received a pardwn from Tydecho, GLM LXXXI.55–8. On the soft mutation of an adjective following a place-name, see TC 119–20.20 Iddo Arthbeibio bybyr The edition follows X2, contrast X1 Iddo Arthbeibio’n bybyr.
A’i chwaer deg, bu chwerw ei dwyn,
80O’r drin fawr adre’n forwyn.

Nid amod bod ebedyw20 ebedyw See GPC Ar Lein s.v. ebediw ‘heriot’; OED Online s.v. heriot 2 (a) ‘A feudal service, originally consisting of weapons, horses, and other military equipments, restored to a lord on the death of his tenant; afterwards a render of the best live beast or dead chattel of a deceased tenant due by legal custom to the lord of whom he held’. Further, see ll. 81–90n.21 ebedyw Note X2 (and possibly X1) ybedyw, cf. the variant form obedyw in BL 14866 and LlGC 6499B, as well as X3 abedyw, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. ebediw.
Yn nhir y gŵr, anrheg yw,
Nac arddel gam na gorddwy21 cam na gorddwy Considering that both ebedyw (see l. 81n) and gobr merch (l. 84n) are legal payments, it seems that both [c]am and gorddwy should be similarly understood. For gorddwy, the edition follows GPC Ar Lein (b) ‘fine, amercement’, but no similar suitable meaning is given to [c]am, except ‘wrong, misdeed, sin, vice, injustice …’, see ibid. s.v. cam2. The edition therefore suggests that it is a shortened form of camlwrw, see ibid. s.v. 1 ‘fine, amercement, forfeit’; Jenkins 1986: 279, 322. Further, see ll. 81–90n.
Na gobr merch,22 gobr merch See the combination in GPC Ar Lein s.v. gobr ‘maiden-fee, fee payable to his lord by the father (orig. by the daughter) on his daughter’s marriage, merchet’; cf. ibid. s.v. amobr. Religious communities viewed this rather profitable custom with suspicion, as it resulted in fewer girls leading the chaste lifestyle favoured by the church, see Cartwright 1999: 169–70. Further, see ll. 81–90n. nid gwiw bwrw mwy.⁠22 Na gobr merch, nid gwiw bwrw mwy The edition follows X2. The adjective gwiw was absent in X1, and it seems likely that a later scribe emended its reading in order to rectify the cynghanedd. The original reading was copied in X3 (possibly before the line was emended), and the emended reading was copied in both CM 21 and LlGC 6499B Neu wobr merch, nid bwrw mwy.
85Barwniaid, bybyr einioes
Pab Rhufain i’r rhain a’i rhoes;
Hywel a’i cadarnhaodd
Ap Cadell,23 Ll. 87–8. Hywel … / ap Cadell Hywel ruled most of Wales at his death (c.949/50), but he is known primarily as the king of Deheubarth and as the lawmaker Hywel Dda ‘the Good’, see ODNB s.v. Hywel Dda. rhybell fu’r rhodd:
Breiniau i ni bob awr yn ôl,
90A rhydid mawr, gwaredol.24 Ll. 81–90. These lines, along with a previous section of the poem that refers to the punishment of criminals on Tydecho’s land (ll. 59–66), emphasize the separate nature of the saint’s church or churches in the eyes of the law. Dafydd Llwyd seems to be celebrating the fact that Tydecho’s church held jurisdiction over payments that were obligatory in secular law and, furthermore, that these payments had been repealed on Tydecho’s land. Some versions of Welsh law associated with Gwynedd refer to the rights of the king in connection with legal payments on church land, see LlI 54 Ny dele un tyr bot en dyurenhyn: o byd abbattyr ef, o bydant lleygyon, dyrue a chamluru ac amober ac ebedyv a lledrat a lluyd ef a’e dele. O byd escoptyr ew a dyly llvyd a lledrat; Jenkins 1986: 101 ‘It is not right for any land to be kingless. If it is abbey land, if there are any laymen he [the King] is entitled to dirwy and camlwrw and amobr and ebediw and theft and hosting. If it is bishop’s land he is entitled to hosting and theft’ (for a discussion, see Pryce 1993: 211–15). The similarity between the references to payments in the passage above – [dd]yrue a chamluru ac amober ac ebedyv – and the four payments named in the poem – ebediw, [c]am, gorddwy and gobr merch (see ll. 81n, 83n and 84n) – suggest that Dafydd Llwyd was familiar with some form of this law, namely that payments on Tydecho’s land were governed by the church. The exceptional nature of Tydecho’s church is further illustrated in two Latin versions of the law that state that the right of the bishop of St Davids to legal representation had been extended to the communities of three northern saints, namely Beuno, Trillo and Tydecho, see ibid. 136. Dafydd Llwyd does not refer to this particular legal right (it is furthermore unclear whether it was in force by the 15c.), but it does reinforce the independent nature of Tydecho’s church in legal matters. In Dafydd’s poem, exclusion of payments on the saint’s land is referred to as an anrheg ‘gift’ in line 82 (cf. l. 88 rhybell fu’r rhodd), a privilege that enriched the [b]ywyd gwych ‘fine existence’ of the Welsh barons and was authorized by both the pope and Hywel Dda (see ll. 87–8n). Some versions of the introduction to Hywel’s law found in manuscripts associated with north Wales (the earliest of which is dated c.1400) state that Hywel, along with an entourage of high-ranking ecclesiastics, travelled to Rome to receive the pope’s blessing, see Owen 2000: 226–9, 246–9; cf. James 1994: 75–81. This story is not verifiable, but it is known that Hywel visited Rome (probably on a pilgrimage) in 929.23 A rhydid mawr, gwaredol This line in X4 was either impossible to read or lost to a tear at the bottom or top of the page. An empty space was left in the text in both BL 14866 and Llst 118.

Pan fu ar ei dir luoedd⁠24 Pan fu ar ei dir luoedd The edition follows X1. The fact that the reading in both Llst 118 and Pen 86, Pan ddoeth ar ei dir luoedd, is defective in terms of cynghanedd strongly suggests that this was the reading in X2. It is likely that David Johns restored the correct reading in BL 14866 (where fu completes the cynghanedd lusg) through his own understanding of the rules of cynghanedd, rather than after seeing the text in another manuscript.
– Amcan tyn⁠25 Amcan tyn The edition follows X2. It seems that these words were divided incorrectly in X1 Amcant hyn – probably through oral transmission – and that confusion concerning the meaning of amcant led to the omission of -t- in X3, which muddled the cynghanedd. i bumcant oedd –
Trech fu wrthie⁠26 wrthie The edition follows the dialectal form found in CM 21, J 140 and Pen 86, cf. Pen 225 wrthia, LlGC 6499B and X4 wrthiau. Tydecho:
A’i tarfodd, ni ffynnodd ffo.
95Daliwyd, dilëwyd heb ladd25 heb ladd The second line of the couplet suggests that this refers to the fact that Tydecho succeeded in defeating the army before anyone was killed or injured by its soldiers, but it could also refer to the saint’s peaceful vanquishing of his foes.
Llu aml heb allu ymladd,
Y modd y delis⁠27 delis The edition follows the older form found in X2, cf. X1 daliodd. diawl, meddynt,
Y brodyr bregethwyr gynt.

Gwan borth a gaffo gorthrech,
100Gwnfyd rhai gân’ a fo trech;
Eled bawb o’r wlad y bo
I duchan at Dydecho!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There’s a holy man here close by,
praise befits him abundantly,
a mighty religious from Mawddwy,
guardian of their entire country,
5fair Tydecho, a father above
any one of heaven’s many soldiers.
This is where the good men were of yore,
Llandudoch, where they are not [any longer],
Dogwel, they call openly,
10a clear language for many, and Saint Tegfan.
A generous abbot battling
with his great staff, he was fearless;
a blood relative, he was a faithful man,
to the chieftain Arthur when he was alive.
15He disliked the sea when he travelled yonder,
holy grandson of Emyr Llydaw,
therefore he migrated to Mawddwy
henceforth away from the sea’s turbulence.
He built a church here,
20he was a father, his possession a good house,
a worshipping religious whose yoke was strong,
he was a farmer,
a man whose bed, favourite servant,
was on a grey rock on the edge of the valley.
25One of pure stock, he was pious,
he was a confessor in a hair shirt.

Maelgwn sent horses (not because he loved him),
he was very clear [in his intention],
to the priest to be nourished
30on the man’s prayers in his land;
therefore he released them
and drove them to the hillside on high.
They were all put under a spell – changing the colour
of the white horses of an unworthy warrior.
35If there were cold wind and frost,
as stout strong ones out of the heather,
when coursers were gathered together to the slope
there were [upon them] golden-haired shirts.
Angry Maelgwn took
40the learned man’s oxen nearby,
there was great ferocity, and the next day
there were stags ploughing;
afterwards there was a half-tame grey wolf
harrowing the tilth without hindrance.
45Maelgwn came with his white dogs
to the rock yonder on its slab;
he sat, there was fitting torment,
above the slope on the grey stone;
his rear end when he rose,
50ruffian, would not come off the stone.
Indeed, Maelgwn (he was fierce)
made amends to him for what had been done:
giving oxen to Tydecho was permitted
by way of a convoluted offence;
55he gave for a hundred years – the protection of God the Father
is not false pride – support to his land;
his servant Meilyr’s journey through many woods
from his piece of land in one day.

It isn’t lawful in any way, here it isn’t easy,
60to take men nor livestock from his land;
if a man comes to his land with livestock,
seizing is done with a tether.
Extensive lands, [where] it isn’t lawful to fight
nor to try to burn nor kill,
65nor disgrace anyone from this county
unless the innocent one is atoned for.

Afterwards he caused crippled men above
to roam every land,
and the blind and deaf henceforth
70to see and hear perfectly;
greater was the gift without concealment
that Tydecho, sublime father,
on the bright nights without hatred
destroyed the eyesight of the evil brigands.
75When Tegfedd was taken, so they say,
by force of yore, the most wicked act,
Cynon and his men rightly
gave him splendid Garthbeibio,
and his fair sister, taking her was cruel,
80home a virgin from the great strife.

It’s not a legal condition to have heriot
on the man’s land, it’s a gift,
nor is forfeit nor amercement nor merchet
an entitlement, to strike out is now pointless.
85Barons, the pope in Rome granted to these
a fine existence;
Hywel ap Cadell confirmed it,
the gift was extensive:
privileges to us on every occassion henceforth,
90and great, redeeming freedom.

When there were hosts on his land
– there were close to five hundred –
Tydecho’s miracles were mightier;
fleeing was of no use to any one who troubled him.
95A numerous multitude with no ability to fight
was caught, driven away without killing,
in the same way as the preaching friars, so they say,
caught the devil of yore.

May poor sustinance be oppressed,
100those who are superior shall have joy;
may everyone go from his land
to Tydecho to complain!

1 Iaith groyw swrn, a Thegwan Sant Both X2 and, in all likelihood, X1 contained this peculiar form of cynghanedd, which was emended to a more correct form in both CM 21 and LlGC 6499B Iaith groyw swrn a Thegwar Sant, cf. Pen 225 Thegwanr. It is likely that Tegwar was invented (possibly under the influence of the uncommon proper name Tegwared) in order to satisfy the rules of cynghanedd. There is no other evidence for a saint of that name. The consonantal cynghanedd in this line may have been defective from the beginning, or otherwise it may have been acceptable for two consonants to remain unanswered in both halves of the line (note that the two unanswered consonants in this line – r and n – were often left unanswered individually in regular lines of cynghanedd). Further, see ll. 7–10n (explanatory).

2 batelu The edition follows the majority reading, contrast BL 14866 and J 140 bitelu. Although the saints were often praised for their generosity (see GPC Ar Lein s.v. bitelaf ‘to victual, supply with victuals, feed’), the verb batelu (see ibid. s.v. batelaf ‘to battle’) is better suited to the meaning in the second line of the couplet.

3 difwgl This reading seems to have led some scribes to believe that the line had only six syllables, and that it should therefore be emended: CM 21 ai fagal fawr di fygwl fu, Pen 86 di fwgl a fv, Pen 225 divwgwl. Dafydd Llwyd probably pronounced it as a trisyllabic word, but it is uncertain which form he used, see GPC Ar Lein d.g. difygwl.

4 ban The edition follows X1, cf. the variant form ben in X2, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. pan1. It seems that ben was influenced by ben- in benadur. Note that the form pan is found in the following line in every manuscript except Llst 118.

5 Y môr, llwyd ŵyr Emyr Llydaw The edition follows CM 21, and it is likely that the same reading was found in X1. The word ŵyr was omitted in LlGC 6499B, probably in an attempt to shorten the line, and so too, in all likelihood, in X3, where the definite article was jettisoned. It could be argued that the latter manuscript contained the most likely reading, as the lack of mutation (in môr in this case) – which was allowed at the beginning of a line (TC 196) – may have looked suspect to later scribes. However, the evidence hardly allows it here, and Dafydd Llwyd may have intended this to be an octosyllabic line from the beginning. Another possibility is that the definite article was originally apostrophized, but was reinstated fully in an early source so as to avoid any ambiguity concerning the position of r at the end of the preceding line (or likewise at the beginning of this line): Ni charai ban dreiglai draw’r / Môr, llwyd ŵyr Emyr Llydaw. The reading in X2 myrllydaw is puzzling. It may be another attempt to shorten the line, or otherwise the original reading may have been unclear.

6 Yna mudawdd The edition tentatively follows X2, contrast CM 21, LlGC 6499B yno y tynnawdd. The reading in J 140 yno y mynawdd, as well as the uncertain emendment in Pen 225 yno yxtynawdh, seem to suggest that the reading in X3 was unclear. The original reading may have been miscopied or misheard as mynawdd in X1, and then later emended to tynnawdd because the meaning was unclear.

7 Tad oedd, ei berchen tŷ da The orthography in the manuscripts is of no use in determining whether it is the pronoun ei or the preposition i that precedes berchen. The latter would suggest that the saint was ‘a father to a good householder’, namely the priest of the church in the time of Dafydd Llwyd and the likely patron, cf. a reference to an unnamed ecclesiastic patron in PedrLD l. 62n [y] tenant (explanatory). However, the use of oedd ‘was’ seems rather strange in this context. The pronoun ei is more likely, referring to [p]erchen ‘ownership, possession’, although there are no examples before the 16c./17c. in GPC Ar Lein s.v. perchen (b).

8 wedd yn The edition follows X2, contrast X1 Cryf ei weddi’n crefyddu (the line was lost on a torn page in Pen 86). It seems likely that a reading similar to weddyn in a lost source was interpreted in two ways by later scribes. Both readings are meaningful, but it seems that the reading in X2 is more likely on two accounts. Firstly, its cynghanedd is technically sound, unlike the reading in X1, where it can be argued that both weddi and crefyddu form a fault known as proest ‘partial rhyme’, if not possibly a full rhyme (gormod odlau). Nevertheless, it is uncertain whether proest i’r odl was considered a fault in the fifteenth century, cf. GG.net 97.1 Pererin piau’r awron. Second, the reference to Tydecho as a llafurwr ‘farmer’ in the first line of the couplet suggests that Dafydd Llwyd may have intended to make use of gwedd’s double meaning, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. gwedd1 ‘appearance’, gwedd2 ‘yoke’. Furthermore, the use of weddi in X1 may have been influenced by line 29 I’w porthi â gweddi’r gŵr.

9 amlwg iawn fu The edition follows X2, contrast X1 a milgwn fu. The fact that Dafydd Llwyd refers only to [m]eirch ‘horses’ (34) and [c]wrseriaid ‘coursers’ (38) in the following lines suggests that milgwn ‘hounds’ were not also given to Tydecho by Maelgwn. The original reading was, in all likelihood, either miscopied or misremembered, possibly because milgwn rhymes with Maelgwn.

10 hwy The edition follows the majority reading, contrast X4 hwyl (possibly an unsuccessful attempt to rectify the faulty cynghanedd in this line).

11 Maelgwn The manuscripts all give the form Maelgwyn. As in line 28, where the same form is found in every manuscript except X4, the cynghanedd in this line is of no use in determining the correct form. However, the internal rhyme in the two cynganeddion sain in lines 45 and 51 show clearly that Maelgwn is the correct form in those instances. For the sake of convenience, the edition uses the same forms both in this line and in line 28.

12 y llech The edition follows X1. As for X2, the same reading is found in BL 14866, but contrast Llst 118 i lech and Pen 86 elech. The reading in Pen 86 is appealing (see GPC Ar Lein s.v. elech ‘stone’), but the reading in Llst 118 suggests that the text in X2 contained something similar to yllech or ylech (possibly because of uncertainty concerning the mutation of feminine nouns beginning with ll- after the definite article).

13 I ar y Contrast the synonymous yet technically faulty reading in X1 Oddi ar garreg.

14 Dodi ychen i Dydecho The edition follows X2. It seems that the scribes who copied the texts that derive from X1 counted this as an octosyllabic line – not realizing that dodi ychen could be contracted into three syllables – and therefore attempted to shorten the line. The preposition i was omitted in X3, whilst more obvious revamping is found in CM 21 and LlGC 6499B Ei ychen i Dydecho, where the verb danfoned in the preceding line was interpreted as the third singular imperative form, instead of the past impersonal form, see GMW 126.

15 Siwrnai’i was Most of the manuscripts read siwrne, which may be a dialectal form (cf. l. 93n wrthie (textual)) or a variant form not included in GPC Ar Lein. However, it seems more likely that the original reading was siwrnei, and that -i was assimilated by the following pronoun. A scribal error, in all likelihood, led to the omission of was in X4.

16 Nid rhydd ddim The edition follows X2, contrast X1 nid rhydd ym (incorrect dividing).

17 O daw dyn â da i’w dir The edition follows X2, contrast X1 Od â dyn â da o’i dir. Both readings are meaningful in terms of medieval law, but it seems that the reading in X1, which refers to the theft of cattle from Tydecho’s land, was influenced by the preceding couplet in terms of content and phrasing (o’i dir). The lectio difficilior is found in X2, whose reading refers to the rights of Tydecho’s church in cases of trespassing, see ll. 61–2n (explanatory).

18 Y nosau golau heb gilwg The readings in both Llst 118 and Pen 86 suggest that this was an octosyllabic line in X2 and, furthermore, that David Johns attempted to shorten the line in BL 14866 by omitting heb. It seems that a similar attempt was found in X1, where the definite article was omitted.

19 Cynon The edition follows the majority reading, contrast J 140 einion, LlGC 6499B cynan.

20 Iddo Arthbeibio bybyr The edition follows X2, contrast X1 Iddo Arthbeibio’n bybyr.

21 ebedyw Note X2 (and possibly X1) ybedyw, cf. the variant form obedyw in BL 14866 and LlGC 6499B, as well as X3 abedyw, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. ebediw.

22 Na gobr merch, nid gwiw bwrw mwy The edition follows X2. The adjective gwiw was absent in X1, and it seems likely that a later scribe emended its reading in order to rectify the cynghanedd. The original reading was copied in X3 (possibly before the line was emended), and the emended reading was copied in both CM 21 and LlGC 6499B Neu wobr merch, nid bwrw mwy.

23 A rhydid mawr, gwaredol This line in X4 was either impossible to read or lost to a tear at the bottom or top of the page. An empty space was left in the text in both BL 14866 and Llst 118.

24 Pan fu ar ei dir luoedd The edition follows X1. The fact that the reading in both Llst 118 and Pen 86, Pan ddoeth ar ei dir luoedd, is defective in terms of cynghanedd strongly suggests that this was the reading in X2. It is likely that David Johns restored the correct reading in BL 14866 (where fu completes the cynghanedd lusg) through his own understanding of the rules of cynghanedd, rather than after seeing the text in another manuscript.

25 Amcan tyn The edition follows X2. It seems that these words were divided incorrectly in X1 Amcant hyn – probably through oral transmission – and that confusion concerning the meaning of amcant led to the omission of -t- in X3, which muddled the cynghanedd.

26 wrthie The edition follows the dialectal form found in CM 21, J 140 and Pen 86, cf. Pen 225 wrthia, LlGC 6499B and X4 wrthiau.

27 delis The edition follows the older form found in X2, cf. X1 daliodd.

1 Mawddwy A commote in Meirionnydd where there are churches dedicated to Tydecho in both Llanymawddwy and Mallwyd, see WATU 154. Note how the plural pronoun in the second line of the couplet refers to the inhabitants of Mawddwy: eu hollwlad hwy ‘their entire country’.

2 Llandudoch This is probably Llandudoch (English St Dogmaels) in Pembrokeshire, see l. 9n Dogwel; contrast Llandudech in a text edited by ‘Glasynys’ (Jones 1863: 454), who notes that this was the original name of Llanymawddwy, by which the older inhabitants still referred to it. Is seems that ‘Glasynys’ lifted his text of the poem from a manuscript that contained many poems by Dafydd Llwyd and was in the possession of one Ifan Jones of ‘Ty’n y braich’ near Dinas Mawddwy (ibid. 453). This manuscript cannot be traced, and it is therefore unclear how closely ‘Glasynys’ kept to his source. The form Llandudech is not found in the extant manuscripts, and there seems to be no further evidence to support it.

3 Dogwel Patron saint of a number of churches in Pembrokeshire, including St Dogmaels, see Dogwel; l. 8n Llandudoch.

4 Tegwan Sant Patron saint of Llandegfan on Anglesey, see Tegfan. A chapel dedicated to Tydecho was associated with the church of Llandegfan in the Middle Ages, see LBS iv, 285; Coflein s.v. Capel Tydecho.

5 Ll. 13–14 Câr o waed … / Arthur According to Geoffrey of Monmouth’s ‘Historia Regum Britanniae’, Arthur was the brother-in-law of Budicus, who was alternatively referred to as Emyr Llydaw (Tydecho’s grandfather, see l. 16n) in the Welsh version, see BD 146, 268; GMon 193–4. For another translation of this couplet, see TWS 210 ‘Kinsman of true blood he was to Arthur, ruler, a noble was he.’

6 Ll. 15–16. The verb [c]arai probably refers to Tydecho, grandson of Emyr Llydaw by his father, Annun Ddu (TYP3 348; WCD 249–50), and the adjective llwyd refers to the ‘holy’ saint, rather than the ‘grey’ sea, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. llwyd (a), (d); cf. l. 1 gŵr llwyd ‘holy man’. However, the verb could also refer to the môr llwyd ‘grey sea’, meaning that the sea had treated the saint unkindly, cf. Lewis Morris’s assertion that Tydecho had gone travelling ‘having suffered by an inundation of the sea’ (Jones 1802: 45). Did Tydecho and others leave Llandudoch because their church on the bank of the river Teifi had been overwhelmed by the sea? Cf. Illtud’s protection of both his land and his church against the sea, as well as numerous examples of saints relocating their churches, IlltudLM ll. 47–54n (explanatory); Henken 1991: 107–9.

7 Teml a wnaeth yntau yma The teml is Tydecho’s church in Llanymawddwy, see WATU 143. It is clear that Dafydd Llwyd performed his poem somewhere in Mawddwy, cf. l. 59 nid rhwydd yma.

8 cryf ei wedd As noted in the textual note on his line, gwedd may have a double meaning, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. gwedd1 ‘appearance’, gwedd2 ‘yoke’. The latter seems to be a more obvious choice in the context of this couplet.

9 Ll. 23–4. Un a’i wely … / Ar gwr y glyn ar graig las According to Jones (1863: 454), the stone on which Tydecho would sleep or meditate was about two and a half miles above Llanymawddwy in a place called Rhiw’r March, on the overlook between Pennant and Llaethnant. Furthermore, he notes that the saint’s bed remained unscathed by the hands of evildoers and was decorated with signs of the cross carved by God-fearing pilgrims. It may be the same stone on which Maelgwn sat and found himself unable to move, as related in lines 45–50, see TWS 214.

10 Maelgwn Maelgwn Gwynedd, sixth-century king of Gwynedd, see TYP3 428–32; ODNB s.v. Maelgwn Gwynedd. He died around 547/9. In the saints’ lives, he is often portrayed as an evil tyrant and oppressor of the godly saints, probably because he had been the subject of a biting character assassination by Gildas in his influential ‘De Excidio Britanniae’ c.479–84/c.515–30.

11 Yn dewion gryfion o’r grug This refers to the horses mentioned in the following couplet, which were both stout and strong despite the wintery mountain weather described in the preceding line.

12 Yr ydoedd geirw’n aredig According to Jones (1863: 455), this happened on a piece of church land called Dôl y Ceirw on the bank of the river Dyfi.

13 Ll. 45–6. Doeth Maelgwn … / I’r graig hwn ar garreg hon According to Jones (1863: 455), the location of Maelgwn’s uncomfortable sitting could still be seen in his day, but he gives no details about its precise location.

14 Meilir Jones (1863: 455) states that Meilir was the son of ‘Gwyddnaw ab Emyr Llydaw’, and therefore related to the saint, but it is more likely that Meilir was simply Tydecho’s servant. On measuring land on a one-day journey, cf. the medieval Welsh law regarding the right of anyone who had found shelter on ecclesiastical land to graze his livestock as far away from that land so long as they could return within one day, Jenkins 1986: 82; Pryce 1993: 193, 199–200.

15 da Certainly ‘cattle’ of ‘livestock’, rather than ‘wealth’, see GPC Ar Lein s.v. da as a noun (a); cf. GGLl 17.49 A’i dda ar fynyddoedd ŷnt ‘And his cattle are on the mountains’.

16 Ll. 61–2. O daw dyn â da i’w dir, / Â chebyst yr achubir Cf. the medieval Welsh law regarding the right of corn farmers to take possession of any animal that trespassed on their crops, see Jenkins 1986: 202–9.

17 Tegfedd Tydecho’s sister, according to this poem, who was considered a saint (LBS iv, 216–17).

18 Cynon According to LBS iv, 217 (cf. WCD 603), this Cynon was an unknown ‘local chieftain’, but Cynon may be a form of Cynan, namely Cynan Garwyn, king of Powys in the second half of the 6c., see ODNB; cf. Lewis Morris’s description of him as ‘Prince of Powys’ in Jones 1802: 46. The depiction of Cynon in this poem is certainly similar to the portrayal of Cynan Garwyn both in the Latin life of Cadog, where he is persuaded by the saint not to plunder Morgannwg, and in the Welsh life of Beuno, where he gives land to the saint in Gwyddelwern, see VSB2 114–17; Sims-Williams 2018, 53–4, 145.

19 Garthbeibio bybyr A parish in the commote of Caereinion in Powys where there is a church dedicated to Tydecho, see WATU 73; cf. a poem by Lewys Môn to reconcile with the men of Caereinion, in which he says that he received a pardwn from Tydecho, GLM LXXXI.55–8. On the soft mutation of an adjective following a place-name, see TC 119–20.

20 ebedyw See GPC Ar Lein s.v. ebediw ‘heriot’; OED Online s.v. heriot 2 (a) ‘A feudal service, originally consisting of weapons, horses, and other military equipments, restored to a lord on the death of his tenant; afterwards a render of the best live beast or dead chattel of a deceased tenant due by legal custom to the lord of whom he held’. Further, see ll. 81–90n.

21 cam na gorddwy Considering that both ebedyw (see l. 81n) and gobr merch (l. 84n) are legal payments, it seems that both [c]am and gorddwy should be similarly understood. For gorddwy, the edition follows GPC Ar Lein (b) ‘fine, amercement’, but no similar suitable meaning is given to [c]am, except ‘wrong, misdeed, sin, vice, injustice …’, see ibid. s.v. cam2. The edition therefore suggests that it is a shortened form of camlwrw, see ibid. s.v. 1 ‘fine, amercement, forfeit’; Jenkins 1986: 279, 322. Further, see ll. 81–90n.

22 gobr merch See the combination in GPC Ar Lein s.v. gobr ‘maiden-fee, fee payable to his lord by the father (orig. by the daughter) on his daughter’s marriage, merchet’; cf. ibid. s.v. amobr. Religious communities viewed this rather profitable custom with suspicion, as it resulted in fewer girls leading the chaste lifestyle favoured by the church, see Cartwright 1999: 169–70. Further, see ll. 81–90n.

23 Ll. 87–8. Hywel … / ap Cadell Hywel ruled most of Wales at his death (c.949/50), but he is known primarily as the king of Deheubarth and as the lawmaker Hywel Dda ‘the Good’, see ODNB s.v. Hywel Dda.

24 Ll. 81–90. These lines, along with a previous section of the poem that refers to the punishment of criminals on Tydecho’s land (ll. 59–66), emphasize the separate nature of the saint’s church or churches in the eyes of the law. Dafydd Llwyd seems to be celebrating the fact that Tydecho’s church held jurisdiction over payments that were obligatory in secular law and, furthermore, that these payments had been repealed on Tydecho’s land. Some versions of Welsh law associated with Gwynedd refer to the rights of the king in connection with legal payments on church land, see LlI 54 Ny dele un tyr bot en dyurenhyn: o byd abbattyr ef, o bydant lleygyon, dyrue a chamluru ac amober ac ebedyv a lledrat a lluyd ef a’e dele. O byd escoptyr ew a dyly llvyd a lledrat; Jenkins 1986: 101 ‘It is not right for any land to be kingless. If it is abbey land, if there are any laymen he [the King] is entitled to dirwy and camlwrw and amobr and ebediw and theft and hosting. If it is bishop’s land he is entitled to hosting and theft’ (for a discussion, see Pryce 1993: 211–15). The similarity between the references to payments in the passage above – [dd]yrue a chamluru ac amober ac ebedyv – and the four payments named in the poem – ebediw, [c]am, gorddwy and gobr merch (see ll. 81n, 83n and 84n) – suggest that Dafydd Llwyd was familiar with some form of this law, namely that payments on Tydecho’s land were governed by the church. The exceptional nature of Tydecho’s church is further illustrated in two Latin versions of the law that state that the right of the bishop of St Davids to legal representation had been extended to the communities of three northern saints, namely Beuno, Trillo and Tydecho, see ibid. 136. Dafydd Llwyd does not refer to this particular legal right (it is furthermore unclear whether it was in force by the 15c.), but it does reinforce the independent nature of Tydecho’s church in legal matters. In Dafydd’s poem, exclusion of payments on the saint’s land is referred to as an anrheg ‘gift’ in line 82 (cf. l. 88 rhybell fu’r rhodd), a privilege that enriched the [b]ywyd gwych ‘fine existence’ of the Welsh barons and was authorized by both the pope and Hywel Dda (see ll. 87–8n). Some versions of the introduction to Hywel’s law found in manuscripts associated with north Wales (the earliest of which is dated c.1400) state that Hywel, along with an entourage of high-ranking ecclesiastics, travelled to Rome to receive the pope’s blessing, see Owen 2000: 226–9, 246–9; cf. James 1994: 75–81. This story is not verifiable, but it is known that Hywel visited Rome (probably on a pilgrimage) in 929.

25 heb ladd The second line of the couplet suggests that this refers to the fact that Tydecho succeeded in defeating the army before anyone was killed or injured by its soldiers, but it could also refer to the saint’s peaceful vanquishing of his foes.