Urgent poetry translation help please!

My sister has asked me to recite a poem in Welsh at her wedding next month, so I’ll be reading Priodas by Dic Jones. I found the Welsh version on a blog, but does anyone have a translation? She wants it printed bilingually in the Order of Service, so I need to get it to her asap. I can work out parts of it, but am not too sure of other parts. I’m also concerned that my literal translation is going to lose a lot of the nuance, because poetry translation is an art in itself really. Anyway, any help/guidance would be greatly appreciated. Diolch yn fawr iawn!

Priodas – Dic Jones

Boed i chwi egni newydd
Liw dydd yng ngwres yr haul,
A thyner wawl y lleuad
Liw nos i fwrw’r draul,
A golched cynnes gawod law
I ffwrdd eich gofid a phob braw.

Chwythed awelon ysgafn
I adnewyddu’ch nerth,
Ac na foed i chwi lithro
Lle byddo’r llwybrau’n serth.
Boed i chwi ysgafn droedio’r byd
Gan roi i’r ddaear barch o hyd.

Corwynt na thywydd garw
Eich taro mwy ni all
Tra bo’ch yng nghwmni’ch gilydd
Yn gysgod naill i’r llall,
A phan fo llwydrew’n cwmpo’r mes
Mi fydd y nailll i’r llall yn wres.

Dwy galon, un dyhead,
Dwy dafod ond un iaith,
Dwy raff yn cydio’n ddolen,
Dau enaid ond un taith.
Mi fydd cwmniiaeth yn parhau,
Nid oes unigrwydd lle bo dau.

Rhagoch i’ch papell bellach
I gadw tân ynghynn,
Y drws i bawb yn agor
A’r holl linynau’n dynn.
Doed eich breuddwydion oll yn wir,
Boed fyr eich llid a’ch cof yn hir.

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The best approach in my opinion - and in the opinion of many others - is to have an accurate line-by-line translation into English prose, not into verse. The beauty of Dic Jones’ work will be preserved in the sound of the original Welsh when you read it, while the meaning will be conveyed properly by the printed translation. A translation into English verse will force too many compromises and dilute the poet’s message. Start with a literal translation, and then keep polishing the English prose over and over again until it flows well.

Rachel Bromwich’s translations of poetry by Dafydd ap Gwilym (ISBN 0850888158) are a perfect example of the technique.

Pob lwc!


@mikefarnworth 's suggestion sounds eminently sensible to me.

So now the question has been seriously answered, I can feel free to post my amused but superficial response to the title of this thread “Urgent poetry translation help please”, which was along the lines of:

…surely it could only be in a Welsh cultural forum that someone might have the urgent need of some poetry translation. :slight_smile:

“Let me through…I’m a bard!”. :slight_smile:


Oh, agreed!!! You made me laugh out loud, which I very rarely do!!!:: :smiley:

How bard? :wink:

I also agree with @mikefarnworth 's advice. I had the pleasure of reading an extract from Y Serch Lladrad by Dafydd ap Gwilym at my brother’s wedding (in Dulyn of all places). We took care to provide a good prose translation for the wedding programme. The wedding party (which included the Furies, BTW) all loved it.

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I agree also. This is what we did at our wedding (have my FiL read the Welsh poem, then have a literal translation in the order of service). We also had vows in both languages (one each!).

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Sorry but I couldn t get papell into any sort of meaning

Marriage - Dic Jones

May you have new energy
The days’ colour in the heat of the sun,
The gentle radiance of the moon
The nights’ colour to mark the path
May warm rain showers
Wash away your every care and fear

May light breezes blow
To renew your strength,
And may you notslip
Where the paths are steep.
May you walk the world lightly
Giving respect to the earth
Hurricane or severe weather
Cannot strike more
While you are together
One sheltering the other
And when frost fells the acorns
one will warm the other

two hearts, one desire
Two tongues but one language,
Two ropes linked
Two souls but one journey.
Companionship will last,
There is no loneliness where there are two.

Before you your papell now
To keep the fire alight
The door open to everyone
And all fastenings tight.
May all your dreams come true,
May your anger be short and your memory long

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I think this is brilliant and if I was getting married I’d love to have that version for English speaking guests!!!
Da iawn!!

Diolch! Diolch! Diolch! That’s fantastic. You’ve sorted out a few lines for me there that I just couldn’t work out how to phrase.

I can’t find papell anywhere either. I’m wondering if it’s a typo in the source. Although the only similar word I can think of is pabell, which would then imply that you’re setting fire to your tent to keep warm, so I don’t think that’s right - for literal and symbolic reasons! :wink:

Diolch eto, and diolch yn fawr to everyone else who provided useful advice. :sunny:

Stumbled on these on Yahoo:

There’s a description of this poem as, “Addasiad o anerchiad priodas llwyth yr Apache” (Adapted from the Apache tribe wedding speech), which might go some way to explain the tent imagery.

Diolch yn fawr iawn! Now you mention it, I remember reading somewhere about the Apache connection, so yes, that would explain the tent. Pabell it is then! Diolch eto. :sunny:

I d change ‘severe weather’ to ‘bitter weather’ seems fit more smoothly. Good luck

Maybe translate ‘papell’ as ‘wedding licence’ Just a thought.