1826 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Williams

Walter Davies, "An Elegy on the late Bard and Naturalist Iolo Morganwg" (from the Welsh); in Waring, Recollections and Anecdotes of Edward Williams (1850) 217-22.



Oh, widowed Genius! thy wails convey
The deep lamentations of the region of Glamorgan;
Cold are the sunny banks of Elai,
A mass of ice (now seems) the Country of the Sun
The owl (utters) her night-sighs
Dismally appalling
Where the Nightingale (sang)
Lost is the chief of Bards.
And while for him I grieve, in plaintive notes
On) Iolo the Bard I call, and his sweet muse—
His bardic lore — the key and book
Of traditional knowledge.
He — a Tydain was — to us
The Father of instruction.
From his bier went down
The ruins of Ancient Bardism.
No more shall we (by him) be initiated into the mysteries of Druidism.

Dried is the fostering fountain—
The stream of knowledge has ceased to flow,
There will not be (another) with that
Peculiar Awen, or Talent, or remembrance,
With respect to the Cyvrinach,
Chief gift of the quick flashing rays of genius;
A Cyvrinach henceforth it will be.
On his Coelbren judgment severe was passed,
But bards gave credence
To letters so attractively formed—
A wonderful tribe from the Summer Country.
We shall not have — who will give us
Any further history of the Peithynen
On an argument, when sound,
His opinion — (given) without hesitation—
Was conclusive.
Silence, (with her attendant train)
Thought and Reflection, went and
Listened when IOLO spoke.
A wild flood of eloquence
(He poured forth) with energy overwhelming;
He possessed not the learning,
The bubble learning of the worldly disputant;
In controversy he was mute—
With humility he confessed,
"His talents excited astonishment"
The gold of learning is laid in the earth,
The lead — remains.
"Where the lamentation—
The bitter lamentations of foster-sons?
Everywhere — the world may witness
Their mourning."
His Ovates have been deprived
Of their Instructor,
Who had lectured, with pleasure
And animation, on subjects
Such as — the songsters, and flowerets of May.
From the peculiar information
By him possessed,
He liberally distributed.
He refused not instruction
To those who sought — to all he gave,
Even to the close of life.
An Eye to some he was
Who less than others were—
Formidable as a Lion when opposed.
To others — he was a Hand (a leader or guide)
He would give instruction from
His deep store of learning,
And energy would he give
To the unlearned.
He would give the warm affections
Of his generous heart
To men of gentle and unassuming talent.
Within his bosom two natures (dwelt)
The Lamb and Lien in the same court;
He would strike with the fist
Of an Eidiol — yes, with the
Quickness and force of a flail
Would he beat down the insolence of foolish pride.
And through the press
Break the bones of his opponent.
To the weak (and unassuming) he would give wine—
But to the dull
The ignorant, and untalented,
Who pilfered learning,
The beverage given
Would be wormwood.
From Dawon river he drank
And in its strength he sang
Smoother than Anacreon
Wine in hand, and pleasant song.
He swam over the Sea of antiquity,
And through it back he penetrated.
He meditated — searched with a zest
The abyss of nature,
But after searching — to return,
Like the proud wise ones of the world,
Without understanding
The arcana of God! is a mark of defect
But notwithstanding this
Precious the gift that from his labours emanated—
The Triads, — he safely brought
To public notice from secret places
Where they had been hidden
Entombed in the Churchyard
Of the Normans.

As long as a wave remains
On the river Neath,
And Dawon continues the same course—
While Tav and Cynon rivers
Send their waters to Cardiff,
In every glen, on every bank, in every region
Thousands will speak of IOLO.

Second to his Father,
Every good gift
And an easier life to Taliesin!