Iolo Goch

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Iolo Goch (c. 1320 – c. 1398) was a Welsh poet, best remembered as a master of the cywydd, a praiser of his friend Owain Glyndŵr, and the author of "Y Llafurwr" (The Labourer).


  • Gorau Cymro tro trylew
    Biau'r wlad, lin Bywer Lew,
    Gŵr meingryf, gorau mangre,
    A phiau'r llys; hoff yw'r lle.
    • The best of Welshmen, valiant man,
      Lord of the land, of Pywer Llew's line,
      A slim strong man, to him the court belongs,
      That best of places, worthy to be praised.
    • "Llys Owain Glyndŵr yn Sycharth" (Owain Glyndŵr's Court at Sycharth), line 91; translation from Carl Lofmark Bards and Heroes (Felinfach: Llanerch, 1989) p. 100.

Y Llafurwr (The Labourer)[edit]

Translations are taken from Gwyn Williams (trans.) Welsh Poems: Sixth Century to 1600 (London: Faber & Faber, 1973).

  • Ni rydd farn eithr ar arnawdd,
    Ni châr yn ei gyfar gawdd.
    Ni ddeily rhyfel, ni ddilyn,
    Ni threisia am ei dda ddyn.
    Ni bydd ry gadarn arnam,
    Ni yrr hawl gymedrawl gam.
    • He'll speak his mind only on ploughs;
      He hates dissension where he works.
      He'll make and follow no war,
      He'll oppress no one for his goods,
      He's never brutal with us
      Nor will he pursue false claims.
    • Line 17.

  • Gwn mai digrifach ganwaith
    Gantho, modd digyffro maith,
    Gaffel, ni'm dawr heb fawr fai,
    Yr aradr crwm a'r irai,
    No phed fai, pan dorrai dwr.
    • He finds it many times pleasanter,
      And I think no worse of him,
      To grip in his placid way
      The crooked plough and the goad
      Than if he were wrecking a tower.
    • Line 25.

  • Ni cheffir eithr o'i weithred
    Aberth Crist I borthi cred.
    Bywyd ni chaiff, ni beiwn,
    Pab nac ymherawdr heb hwn,
    Na brenin naelwin hoywlyw,
    Dien ei bwyll, na dyn byw.
    • Without his work there's no
      Christ's sacrifice to feed our faith,
      And without him no pope
      Or emperor can keep alive,
      No wine-giving, sprightly king
      Of notable prudence, no living man.
    • Line 31.

  • Cnwd a gyrch mewn cnodig âr,
    Cnyw diwael yn cnoi daear.
    E fynn ei gyllell a'i fwyd
    A'i fwrdd dan fôn ei forddwd.
    Gŵr a'i anfodd ar grynfaen,
    Gwas a fling a'i goes o’i flaen.
    • It fetches crops from the rich earth,
      It's a good beast biting the ground.
      It must have its knife and its board
      And its food right under its thigh.
      It goes unwillingly through stones,
      It skins the field with leg outstretched.
    • Line 49.

  • Aredig, dysgedig yw.
    • Ploughing is a scholarship.
    • Line 77.

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