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The oldest Welsh Lullaby: Dinogad's Smock (Pais Dinogad)




Category: Music
Duration: 00:04:35
Description:
Performed by: Ffynnon, Lynne Denman

History:

Amongst the oldest surviving Welsh poetry is an account of battles in the Old North, a text known after the protagonists as Y Gododdin. In the same manuscripts are a couple of odd bits of verse which clearly do not belong, and one of these is a nursery rhyme in which a mother tells her son - the Dinogad of the title - about his father's hunting prowess.

The seventh century text, with a bit of orthographic licence, is something like:

Peis dinogat e vreith vreith.
o grwyn balaot ban wreith.
chwit chwit chwidogeith.
gochanwn gochenyn wythgeith.
pan elei dy dat ty e helya;
llath ar y ysgwyd llory eny law.
ef gelwi gwn gogyhwc.
giff gaff. dhaly dhaly dhwg dhwg.
ef lledi bysc yng corwc.
mal ban llad. llew llywywg.
pan elei dy dat ty e vynyd.
dydygai ef penn ywrch penn gwythwch pen hyd.
penn grugyar vreith o venyd.
penn pysc o rayadyr derwennyd.
or sawl yt gyrhaedei dy dat ty ae gicwein
o wythwch a llewyn a llwyuein.
nyt anghei oll ny uei oradein.

It can be seen how similar the language is to Modern Welsh in which it might be loosely rendered:

Pais Dinogad sydd fraith, fraith,
O groen y bela y mae'i waith.
`Chwí! Chwí!' Chwibanwaith.
Gwaeddwn ni, gwaeddant hwy - yr wyth gaeth.
Pan elai dy dad di i hela -
Gwaywffon ar ei ysgwydd, pastwn yn ei law -
Galwai ar gw+n tra chyflym,
`Giff! Gaff! Dal, dal! Dwg, dwg!'
Fe laddai bysgod o'i gwrwgl
Fel y llada llew fân-filod!
Pan elai dy dad di i'r mynydd
Deuai ef ag un iwrch, un twrch coed, un hydd,
Un rugiar fraith o fynydd,
A physgodyn o readr Derwennydd.
Beth bynnag a gyrhaeddai dy dad â'i bicell -
Boed yn dwrch, yn gath goed, yn lwynog -
Ni ddihangai'r un oni bai'n nerthol ei adenydd.

If you do not yet read Welsh, you might prefer the following loose translation:

Dinogad's shift is speckled, speckled,
It was made from the pelts of martens.
`Wee! Wee!' Whistling.
We call, they call, the eight in chains.
When your father went out to hunt -
A spear on his shoulder, a club in his hand -
He called on his lively dogs,
`Giff! Gaff! Take, take! Fetch, fetch!'
He killed fish from his coracle
Like the lion killing small animals.
When your father went to the mountains
He would bring back a roebuck, a boar, a stag,
A speckled grouse from the mountain,
And a fish from the Derwennydd falls.
At whatever your father aimed his spear -
Be it a boar, a wild cat, or a fox -
None would escape but that had strong wings.

(the text and comments were copied from http://www.cs.ox.ac.uk/people/geraint.jones/rhydychen.org/about.welsh/pais-dinogad.html )

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