Tuesday, March 1, 2011

St. David's Day

In honor of St. David's Day, the national day of Wales, here's a video of Ioan Gruffudd performing bardic poetry in Welsh:

Thanks to authors Liz Fielding and Susanna Kearsley for the link to the video.

It's an anonymous Welsh poem from the Book of Taliesin, or Llyfr Taliesin from the sixth century. Some also say it's from the mythological collection Mabinogion from the thirteenth century.

Here's some of English translation:

I am Taliesin. I sing perfect metre,
Which will last to the end of the world.
My patron is Elphin.
I know why there is an echo in a hollow;
Why silver gleams; why breath is black; why liver is bloody;
Why a cow has horns; why a woman is affectionate;
Why milk is white; why holly is green;
Why a kid is bearded; why the cow-parsnip is hollow;
Why brine is salt; why ale is bitter;
Why the linnet is green and berries red;
Why a cuckoo complains; why it sings;
I know where the cuckoos of summer are in winter.