Stafell Gynddylan

 

 

Siân Echard, University of British Columbia

 

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Stafell Gynddylan (The Hall of Cynddylan) is one of the poems in the cycle of englynion (three-line stanzas) traditionally called Canu Heledd (The Song of Heledd). The englynion variously titled Canu Llywarch Hen, Canu Urien, and Canu Heledd have come to be called saga englynion, because they are understood to be part of saga cycles concerning the figures whose fate they relate. Heledd is the sister of Cynddylan; the poem below laments the destruction of Cynddylan and his band at the hands of the English (that is, the Saxons). The “ruined hall” motif appears as well in Old English elegiac poetry, as we have seen.

The Welsh text is drawn from Ifor Williams, ed., Canu Llywarch Hen (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1935), largely because this was an important edition and I happened to have it to hand. The translation is my own, made with the aid of Williams’ notes and the excellent notes and translation in the important new edition by Jenny Rowland, Early Welsh Saga Poetry: A Study and Edition of the Englynion. (Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 1990). My translations are really just working texts: consult Rowland for the state of the art. Question marks indicate words or lines where there is some discussion as to correct translation.

 
Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll heno,
Heb dan, heb wely.
Wylaf wers; tawaf wedy.

Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll heno,
Heb dan, heb gannwyll.
Namyn Duw, pwy a’m dyry pwyll?

Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll heno,
Heb dan, heb oleuat.
Etlit a’m daw amdanat.

Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll y nenn,
Gwedy gwen gyweithyd.
Gwae ny wna da a’e dyuyd.

Stauell Gyndylan, neut athwyt heb wed,
Mae ym bed dy yscwyt.
Hyt tra uu, ny bu dollglwyt.

Stauell Gyndylan ys digarat heno,
Gwedy yr neb pieuat.
Wi a angheu, byr y’m gat?

Stauell Gyndylan, nyt esmwyth heno,
Ar benn carrec hytwyth,
Heb ner, heb niuer, heb amwyth.

Stauell Gyndylan, ys tywyll heno,
Heb dan, heb gerdeu.
Dygystud deurud dagreu.

Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll heno,
Heb dan, heb deulu.
Hidyl vyn neigyr men yt gynnu.

Stauell Gyndylan a’m gwan y gwelet,
Heb doet, heb dan.
Marw vy glyw; buw mu hunan.

Stauell Gyndylan ys peithawc heno,
Gwedy ketwyr bodawc,
Eluan, Kyndylan, Kaeawc.

Stauell Gyndylan ys oergrei heno,
Gwedy yr parch a’m buei,
Heb wyr, heb wraged a’e katwei.

Stauell Gyndylan ys araf heno,
Gwedy colli y hynaf.
Y mawr drugarawc Duw, pa wnaf?

Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll y nenn,
Gwedy dyua o Loegyrwys
Kyndylan ac Eluan Powys.

Stauell Gyndylan ys tywyll heno
O blant Kyndrwyn yn
Kynon a Gwiawn a Gwyn.

Stauell Gyndylan a’m erwan pob awr,
Gwedy mawr ymgyuyrdan
A weleis ar dy benntan.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without a bed.
I will weep for a while; then I will be silent.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without candle.
Save God, who will give me sanity?

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without light.
Grief for you comes over me.

The hall of Cynddylan, its roof is dark,
After the blest assembly.
Woe the good that does not come to it. [?]

The hall of Cynddylan, you have become shapeless,
Your protector [lit. shield] is in the grave.
While he was alive, there were no breached gates.

The hall of Cynddylan is forlorn tonight,
After the one who owned it.
Alas death, why does it spare me?

The hall of Cynddylan is not comfortable tonight,
On the top of the enduring rock,
Without lord, without host, without protection.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without songs.
My cheeks are worn away by tears. [?]

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
Without fire, without a warband.
Abundant my tears where it falls. [?]

The hall of Cynddylan, it wounds me to see it,
Without roof, without fire.
My lord is dead, but I am alive.

The hall of Cynddylan lies waste tonight,
After steadfast warriors,
Elfan, and gold-wearing Cynddylan. [R does not read Kaeawc as a name]

The hall of Cynddylan is desolate tonight,
After the respect which was mine,
Without men, without women who cared for it.

The hall of Cynddylan is quiet tonight,
After losing its lord.
Great merciful God, what shall I do?

The hall of Cynddylan, its roof is dark,
After the English destroyed
Cynddylan and Elfan of Powys.

The hall of Cynddylan is dark tonight,
After the race of the Cyndrwyn,
Cynon and Gwion and Gwyn.

The hall of Cynddylan, it is a wound to me each hour,
After the great company
That I saw on your hearth.

 

Jesus College Oxford, MS 111, fol. 260r. By permission of the Master and Fellows of Jesus College Oxford.

Click the thumbnail to the left to see the poem as it appears in the Red Book of Hergest, now Jesus College Oxford MS 111. The poem begins at the bottom of the first column of folio 260r. The thumbnail to the left begins:

 

Stauell gyndylan ystywyll heno . heb dan heb

gannwyll .

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