Remembered Today:

Aurel Sercu

Message in a Welsh heart and an Irish bottle

54 posts in this topic

For the benefit of those unversed with the language of Heaven

Alas, I believe that Welsh is no longer the language of Heaven; the place was filling up with the Welsh, so St Peter opened the gates, slipped outside and shouted 'Caws bobi!'; having waited a few minutes, he nipped back in and bolted the gates before anyone realised there was no toasted cheese after all...

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Off topic! a bit.

Clive, in Cornish 'gof' means smith - is it different in Welsh?

'Melys' reminds me of the Latin for honey - 'mel'.

Kath.

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Gof in Welsh as well, I believe, Kath.

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Gof is indeed a blacksmith.

Cof (as on this inscription) means memory.

The complicated bit comes if you say "Your memory", which is "dy gof".

As Clive mentioned earlier, Welsh noun beginnings can mutate. C to G, P to B, T to D., (and many many more eg "My Memory" becomes "Fy Nghof")

So it's no good just looking at the word, you must look at the word before it , and figure out the context.

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All is forgiven.

Now write out a hundred times:

"I must go to Welsh language classes in Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch."

:thumbsup:

Nice one .... although I have actually been there, a few years ago ... but not to Welsh classes!

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"Cof (as on this inscription) means memory."

OOPS!

My failing eyesight!

Thought it was 'GOF'

:blush: Kath.

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If you can pronounce Machynlleth like a native, and it rolls easily off your tongue, then you've cracked it.

Kevin

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If you can pronounce Machynlleth like a native, and it rolls easily off your tongue, then you've cracked it.

Kevin

Indeed.

Or even Blaenau Ffestiniog! :thumbsup:

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He is near Hedd Wynn?

Have to visit next time I head there.

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SeaJane,

Yes - the "caws pob" one is reckoned to be the earliest extant joke about the Welsh! The next contender is this one - King James I is being driven through Wales in a carriage, escorted by the local gentry on horseback. They kick up so much dust that His Majesty is choking, and he resolves to get shot of them. He knows just how to do this, and loudly asks that the one with the noblest ancestry should ride on ahead to scout the way. Of course, no Welsh gent is going to be outdone on the subject of lineage, so the crowd gallops off into the distance with each one vying to be in the lead. All except one chap, who continues to plod along beside the royal coach. King James is intrigued - "Is not your ancestry as good as that of the others?" "Indeed, your majesty, it is better than anyone else's - but my horse has gone lame."

Laugh, I nearly did. But it's true that we were generally fixated with family trees: and as this is now veering off-topic I'll have to end there!

Clive

(An humble Welsh fellow who nevertheless can show 50 generations descent on his maternal granny's side, including of course such luminaries as King Vortigern and Roman Emperor Magnus Maximus...)

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ID: 36   Posted (edited)

On ‎25‎/‎01‎/‎2015 at 12:28, Kath said:

'Melys' reminds me of the Latin for honey - 'mel'.

Honey is mêl.

Gwyn

Edited by Dragon

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Thanks, Gwyn.

My Morton Nance Cornish dictionary has mēl (pron. mail).

Kath.

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Back to Welsh CWGC epitaphs: based on a list compiled by Lieven Dehandschutter, there are Welsh language epitaphs on gravestones in no fewer than 77 cemeteries in Belgium and adjoining French districts. Many only have one example in each, but the following have 5 or more examples

Bailleul Communal Cemy. Extn. (6)

Bard Cottage Cemy., Boezinge (13)

Bedford House Cemy., Ieper

Canada Farm Cemy., Elverdinghe

Dozinghem Mily. Cemy., West-Vleteren (11)

Lijssenthoek Mily. Cemy., Poperinghe (20)

Mendinghem British Cemy., Proven (9)

Merville Communal Cemy. and Extension (6)

Rue Du Bacquerot No.1 Mily. Cemy., Laventie

Tyne Cot Cemy.

At Artillery Wood there are (not counting the "Heart" at grave plot II.F.20) three such gravestones, all to members of 15th Battn. RWF - E.H.Evans (Hedd Wyn) II.F.11; E.Jones X.A.19; and W.Roberts II.C.6 . All three died in the period 25-31 July 1917.

Bard Cottage has proportionately more compared to its size: it was in the area held for a year by the 38th Welsh Division, cumulating in the Pilckem Ridge assault 31 July 1917. Whether Welsh epitaph or not, it has about 12 known Anglesey casualties buried there, the highest concentration on the Western Front.

If I'm reading him right, in the same area there are only 4 WW2 examples altogether?

Clive

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Just so happens I have a picture of Roberts grave at Artillery Wood

RsHms9.jpg

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E. Jones' inscription is interesting.

I haven't seen the gravestone, but the schedule on the CWGC site states that the inscription is:

"Daw iti foreu, têg, a hyfryd n'ol stormus, ddũ, brydnawn"

"Morning will come to you, fair, and beautiful, after a stormy, black , afternoon"

Written in quite poetic language. (Is it the first line of a hymn? I don't immediately recognise it).

Unfortunately there are 3 circumflex errors.

- the e in teg doesn't need one.

-neither does the u in ddu (Apologies for the tilde above, but there isn't as far as I can see an ASCII symbol for circumflex+y

-the o in ol should be ô.

Not sure that all the commas are needed either...

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E. Jones' inscription is interesting.

I haven't seen the gravestone, but the schedule on the CWGC site states that the inscription is:

"Daw iti foreu, têg, a hyfryd n'ol stormus, ddũ, brydnawn"

"Morning will come to you, fair, and beautiful, after a stormy, black , afternoon"

Written in quite poetic language. (Is it the first line of a hymn? I don't immediately recognise it).

Google doesn't recognise it, either as a hymn or as a piece of poetry ... which is a shame, because it's lovely!

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Dai,

You're quite right - a measurable percentage of Welsh epitaphs have spelling or other errors which were probably due to misreadings of the original forms returned by the next of kin.

The hymn quotation, if that is what it is, has not been sourced and is classed by Dehandschutter amongst other "non-religious" epitaphs. It is interesting that while Hedd Wyn simply has "Y Prifardd Hedd Wyn" (The Chief Bard Hedd Wyn) on his own stone, his poetry is used on a number of other casualties' stones.

From his poem Nid A'n Ango (Not forgotten) come the lines "Ei aberth nid a heibio / Ei wyneb annwyl nid a'n ango" (His sacrifice will not be passed over / His dear face will not be forgotten). This appears on no fewer than 6 CWGC stones in the Belgian/adjacent French area alone. Besides this, his poem Beddargraff Milwr o Drawsfynydd (Epitaph for a Soldier from Trawsfynydd) has "Gedy ar ol, oes wen, fer, dlos, anfarwol" (He leaves behind a blessed, short, beautiful, immortal {or marvellous} life) which appears on a stone at Erquinghem-Lys. Sorry Dai, I can't put circumflexes into my text!!

On top of those, R.Williams Parry's mourning verses for Hedd Wyn (entitled, predictably, "Hedd Wyn") have a line "Mwya garw, marw ymhell" (Worst of all, he died far away) which is used on a stone at Essex Farm Cemetery. I know that other Hedd Wyn verses appear on the 14th Battalion RWF memorial seat in Dantzig Alley Cemetery on the Somme, as well as on gravestones back in Wales.

Clive

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Sorry Dai, I can't put circumflexes into my text!!

Circumflexes are easy Clive.

In almost any Windows application- Word, this forum etc., if you keep your ALT key pressed down then type in 0234 in the NUMERIC keypad on the right side of the keyboard, ê will appear when you let go of the ALT key.

Likewise-

â is ALT and 0226,

ô is ALT and 0244,

î is ALT and 0238

ï is ALT and 0239,

In Word, you can also do ŷ with ALT and 0375. But not in other applications, like here.

But you can do it from "Character Map" -Start-Programs-Accessories, and copy and paste it from there.

There are hotkeys for all sorts of accents in all sorts of languages there.

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Google doesn't recognise it, either as a hymn or as a piece of poetry ... which is a shame, because it's lovely!

It's similar to some of the imagery used in the biblical Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon), but that may be coincidental. Might be worth a search in a standard Welsh translation of the era.

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It's similar to some of the imagery used in the biblical Song of Songs (aka Song of Solomon), but that may be coincidental. Might be worth a search in a standard Welsh translation of the era.

Thanks.

But it doesn't seem to turn up on Bible searches on the classic Bishop Wiliam Morgan1588 translation.

I think it's poetry, maybe even a one off piece just for this soldier.

Welsh newspapers of the time often would report a soldier's death in action, and include a verse (rangeing from a 4 line englyn, to quite long pieces) commissioned specially for the deceased.

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Column three titled "Hwnt ac Yma" in this Welsh language paper seem to me to attribute '' foreu teg a hyfryd, 'rol stormus ddu brydnawn" to the author Eluned Morgan.

http://welshnewspapers.llgc.org.uk/en/page/view/3124432/ART72/foreu%20teg%20%20brydnawn

Eluned Morgan = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eluned_Morgan_(author)

Quite how it all fits in I don't know. I'm still surprised at getting Welsh Lit in O Levels. To this day I still think I got someone elses mark!

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Well done Hywyn.

I'll get my researcher (aka my bro) to dig out the magazine (Cymru, Jan 1910)from Bangor Uni. library to get more on this story.

Seems to be a poetic reference to reward after a hard struggle. A morality tale that the good and virtuous will eventually get their just reward. Somewhere.

Maybe.


Quite how it all fits in I don't know. I'm still surprised at getting Welsh Lit in O Levels. To this day I still think I got someone elses mark!

I thought I was the only person who had that idea in his head!

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Hi everybody,

Just to say that I am so proud seeing my Topic being "hijacked" to such an extent !

NO ! I am not being ironic ! :-)

But I am afraid that I have to disappoint some of you : this development does not tempt me to ... take Welsh classes .... :-(

Aurel

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Circumflexes are easy Clive.

I 've made a word doc of various letters with accents & copy and paste from it.

Kath.

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ID: 50   Posted (edited)

I just noticed this topic and am interested to see that you've quoted the Welsh verse on the grave of my great uncle Edward Jones. I have previously tried to find out where the verse came from, without success. The link in Hywyn's post doesn't seem to work any more. If any of you did manage to track it down, I'd love to know where it came from. Many thanks! Eirian

 

P.S. added later: I think I may have now found the source of the quote! It could possibly be adapted from a hymn by William Williams (the person who wrote the words for 'Bread of Heaven'). The words of a different hymn by Williams are quite similar:  ". . . Daeth bore teg a hyfryd 'nol stormus ddu brydnawn." (From Hymnbook Aberth Moliant pub. J Haddon & Co 1875.)

Edward's parents were quite religious, so it's likely that they could have just adapted the words slightly from something familiar to them.

 

Edited by Eirian
Additional information

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