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Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
England: Vols. I–IV. 1876–79.

Wales: Dwrdwy

The Praise of Owain Glyndwr

By Gruffudd Llwyd (fl. c.1380–1410)

Translated by Robert Williams

CAMBRIA’S princely eagle, hail!

Of Gruffudd Vychan’s noble blood!

Thy high renown shall never fail,

Owain Glyndwr, great and good!

Lord of Dwrdwy’s fertile vale,

Warlike, high-born Owain, hail!

Dwrdwy, whose wide-spreading streams,

Reflecting Cynthia’s midnight beams,

Whilom led me to thy bower;

Alas! in an unguarded hour.

For high in blood, with British beverage hot,

My awful distance I forgot;

But soon my generous chief forgave

The rude presumption of his slave.

But leave me not, illustrious lord!

Thy peaceful bower and hospitable board

Are ill exchanged for scenes of war,

Though Henry calls thee from afar.

My prayers, my tears, were vain;

He flew like lightning to the hostile plain.

While with remorse, regret, and woe,

I saw the godlike hero go;

I saw, with aching heart,

The golden beam depart.

His glorious image in my mind

Was all that Owain left behind.

Wild with despair, and woe-begone,

Thy faithful bard is left alone,

To sigh, to weep, to groan!

Thy sweet remembrance, ever dear,

Thy name, still ushered by a tear,

My inward anguish speak;

How couldst thou, cruel Owain, go,

And leave the bitter streams to flow

Down Gruffudd’s furrowed cheek?

I heard, (who has not heard thy fame?)

With ecstasy I heard thy name,

Loud echoed by the trump of war,

Which spoke thee brave, and void of fear;

Yet of a gentle heart possessed,

That bled within thy generous breast,

Wide o’er the sanguine plain to see

The havoc of hostility.

Still with good omens may’st thou fight,

And do thy injured country right!

Like great Pendragon shalt thou soar,

Who bade the din of battle roar,

What time his vengeful steel he drew

His brother’s grandeur to renew,

And vindicate his wrongs;

His gallant actions still are told

By youthful bards, by Druids old,

And grateful Cambria’s songs.

On sea, on land, thou still didst brave

The dangerous cliff and rapid wave;

Like Urien, who subdued the knight,

And the fell dragon put to flight,

Yon moss-grown fount beside;

The grim, black warrior of the flood,

The dragon, gorged with human blood,

The waters’ scaly pride,

Before his sword the mighty fled:

But now he ’s numbered with the dead.

O, may his great example fire

My noble patron to aspire

To deeds like his! impetuous fly,

And bid the Saxon squadrons die:

So shall thy laurelled bard rehearse

Thy praise in never-dying verse;

Shall sing the prowess of thy sword,

Beloved and victorious lord.

In future times thy honored name

Shall emulate brave Urien’s fame!

Surrounded by the numerous foe,

Well didst thou deal the unequal blow,

How terrible thy ashen spear,

Which shook the bravest heart with fear.

Yon hostile towers beneath!

More horrid than the lightning’s glance,

Flashed the red meteors from thy lance,

The harbinger of death.

Dire and more dire the conflict grew;

Thousands before thy presence flew;

While borne in thy triumphal car,

Majestic as the god of war,

Midst charging hosts unmoved you stood,

Or waded through a sea of blood.

Immortal fame shall be thy meed

Due to every glorious deed;

Which latest annals shall record,

Beloved and victorious lord!

Grace, wisdom, valor, all are thine,

Owain Glyndwrdwy divine!

Meet emblem of a two-edged sword,

Dreaded in war, in peace adored!

Steer thy swift ships to Albion’s coast

Pregnant with thy martial host.

Thy robes are white as driven snow,

And virtue smiles upon thy brow;

But terrible in war thou art,

And swift and certain is the dart

Thou hurlest at a Saxon’s heart.

Loud fame has told thy gallant deeds;

In every word a Saxon bleeds.

Terror and flight together came,

Obedient to thy mighty name;

Death, in the van, with ample stride,

Hewed thee a passage deep and wide.

Stubborn as steel, thy nervous chest

With more than mortal strength possessed;

And every excellence belongs

To the bright subject of our songs.

Strike then your harps, ye Cambrian bards;

The song of triumph best rewards

An hero’s toils. Let Henry weep

His warriors rapt in everlasting sleep:

Success and victory are thine,

Owain Glyndwrdwy divine!

Dominion, honor, pleasure, praise,

Attend upon thy vigorous days!

And, when thy evening sun is set,

May grateful Cambria ne’er forget

Thy noontide blaze; but on thy tomb

Never-fading laurels bloom!