Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed (extract)
Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed a oedd yn arglwydd ar seith cantref Dyfed. A threiglweith ydd oedd yn Arberth, prif lys iddaw, a dyfod yn ei fryd ac yn ei feddwl fyned i hela. Sef cyfeir o'i gyfoeth a fynnei ei hela, Glynn Cuch. Ac ef a gychwynnwys y nos honno o Arberth, ac a ddoeth hyd ym Mhenn Llwyn Diarwya, ac yno y bu y nos honno. A thrannoeth yn ieuenctid y dydd cyfodi a orug, a dyfod i Lynn Cuch i ellwng ei gwn dan y coed. A chanu ei gorn, a dechreu dygyfor yr hela, a cherdded yn ol y cwn, ac ymgolli a'i gydymdeithon.
Ac fal y bydd yn ymwarandaw a llef yr erchwys, ef a glywei llef erchwys arall, ac nid oeddynt unllef, a hynny yn dyfod yn erbyn ei erchwys ef. Ac ef a welei lannerch yn y coed o faes gwastad; ac fal oedd ei erchwys ef yn ymgael ag ystlys y llannerch, ef a welei garw o flaen yr erchwys arall. A pharth a pherfedd y llannerch, llyma yr erchwys a oedd yn ol yn ymordiwes ag ef, ac yn ei fwrw i'r llawr.
Ac yna edrych ohonaw ef ar liw yr erchwys, heb hanbwyllaw edrych ar y carw. Ac o'r a welsei ef o helgwn y byd, ni welsei cwn unlliw ag wynt. Sef lliw oedd arnunt, claerwyn llathreidd, ac eu clusteu yn gochion. Ac fal y llathrei wynned y cwn, y llathrei coched y clusteu. Ac ar hynny at y cwn y doeth ef, a gyrru yr erchwys a laddyssei y carw i ymdeith, a llithiaw ei erchwys ei hunan ar y carw.
Pwyll prince of Dyfed was lord over the seven cantrefs* of Dyfed; and once upon a time he was at Arberth, a chief court of his, and it came into his head and heart to go a-hunting. The part of his domain which it pleased him to hunt was Glyn Cuch. And he set out out that night from Arberth, and came as far as Pen Llwyn Diarwya, and there he was that night. And on the morrow in the young of the day he arose and came to Glyn Cuch to loose his dogs into the wood. And he sounded his horn and began to muster the hunt, and followed after the dogs and lost his companions.
And whilst he was listening to the cry of the pack, he could hear the cry of another pack, but they had not the same cry, and were coming to meet his own pack. And he could see a clearing in the wood as of a level field, and as his pack reached the edge of the clearing, he could see a stag in front of the other pack. And towards the middle of the clearing, lo, the pack that was pursuing it overtaking it and bringing it to the ground.
And then he looked at the colour of the pack, without troubling to look at the stag; and of all the hounds he had seen in the world, he had sen no dogs the same colour as these. The colour that was on them was a brilliant shining white, and their ears red; and as the exceeding whiteness of the dogs glittered, so glittered the exceeding redness of their ears. And with that he came to the dogs, and drove away the pack that had killed the stag, and baited his own pack upon the stag.
*A territorial unit in Wales in the Middle Ages: as a rule a cantref is made of a hundred tref (a hundred homesteads or hamlets).
Pwyll Prince de Dyfed (Pwyll Pendefig Dyfed) is the first part of a cycle of Welsh medieval tales called the Four Branches of the Mabinogi (Pedair Cainc y Mabinogi), that is part itself of a collection improperly, but conveniently called the Mabinogion. It has come to us through two manuscripts : the White Book of Rhydderch (Llyfr Gwyn Rhydderch) and the Red Book of Hergest (Llyfr Coch Hergest).
The text reproduces the first three paragraphs of this tale in the pedagogic edition of Gareth Morgan. It makes use of a standardised orthography based on Modern Welsh, but preserving some peculiar features of Middle Welsh. Tolkien quoted a part of this extract in translation in the essay English and Welsh published in the collection The Monsters and the Critics.
The translation is by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones for Everyman's library, the same as quoted by Tolkien.
The recorded pronunciation is basically founded on the standardised orthography and the modern values of the spellings. It is a fair approximation, since the pronunciation of Welsh appears to have changed little since the Middle Ages, tremendously less than in French or English in any case. The following points can however be noted:
· "clear" y (in final syllables) was a close central vowel, like in Northern Welsh today.
· u has the same value as "clear" y "clair" in Modern Welsh, but in Middle Welsh it was pronounced with additional lip rounding, making it closer to the French u or the German ü. This peculiarity has been attempted in the recording.
· in final syllables, Middle Welsh ei et eu most often turned to ai et au in Modern Welsh : seith "seven" became saith, dechreu "to begin" became dechrau. Kenneth Jackson argues that this phonetic change began in Old Welsh and was probably well advanced in Middle Welsh, even if it was not yet recognised in the spelling. Accordingly ei and eu where they have turned to ai and au in the modern language have been pronounced with the latter value.
Jackson, Kenneth H[urlstone]. Language and History in Early Britain: a chronological survey of the Brythonic languages 1st to 12th c. A.D. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1971. 752 p. ISBN 0-85224-116-X
The Mabinogion. Translated by Gwyn Jones and Thomas Jones. New edition. London: Dent, 1974. 282 p. (Everyman's Library; 97). ISBN 0-460-00097-7
Morgan, Gareth. Reading Middle Welsh: A Course Book Based on the Welsh of the Mabinogi. URL: http://canol.home.att.net/
Quotations of John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Christopher Tolkien, Édouard Kloczko, Christopher Gilson, Patrick Wynne, Rhona Beare, Thomas Alan Shippey, Charles Kennedy, Elaine Treharne, André Crépin, Régis Boyer, François-Xavier Dillmann, Gabriel Rebourcet, Keith Bosley, Pierre-Yves Lambert, Gwyn Jones, Thomas Jones are under the copyright of their publishers.
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