Wednesday, July 01, 2009

A fitting end to life

Your forehead is like a lily, slender you stand as if under a web of gold! I have loved you a long time, and with all my strength. O Blessed Mary! How shall I be delivered?

I have no sight of you, fearing your people and their vengeance, only my despair is left me and bitter sighing in my desire of you. If in my madness I am destroyed by the bright jewel of your beauty, then you are guilty of my death -
O sacred powers save her from this murder!
But I shall be laid in a grave in the shade of the soft leaves and the fresh trees, tomorrow the young birch-trees will hold my funeral under the branches of the ash. I shall have a shroud around me, a gay garment of summer clover, and the coffin fit for me to seek God's grace shall be all of young leaves. The flowers of the wood shall be my winding-sheet, my bier eight branches, a thousand sea-gulls will come to carry my bier. A host of fine trees, laymen I tell you of pleasant temper, will escort me, and they will be my church, forming a summer cloister with their high places. The two statues will be for worship, namely the two nightingales that you chose: and by the wheat fields there shall be raised altars on the dappled ground.
And a choir shall sing that does not know Jealousy, that does not angrily shut the door; and brothers that do not know the brotherhood of age, shall speak the Latin tongue in true metre from books of leaves and fine-bound grammars of the trees. And from the hayfield a splendid organ shall sound, and the music of bells ringing.

And there in the pleasant country of Gwynedd my grave is ready for me, a fresh green place ...Llan Eos, grove of inspiration, a fitting end to life. And the cuckoo shall sing a chant for my soul, sounding like an organ in the green wood; and prayers and supplications and psalms and other voices shall arise for me, and sacrifices and sweet messages, and in the summer months Love will visit me in my grave. And may God keep tryst with his poet in Paradise.


  1. Very moving. A deeply poignant way to describe one's own end to life.

    And the tender green leaves of the mythical Rowan tree add to the mystic beauty of the poet's evocative words.

    I guess this will be our last meeting with Dafydd ap Gwilym.

    Thank you for your presentation.

  2. Claudia,
    surprise!! :)
    This will (hopefully) be not your last meeting with Dafyss ap Gwilym.

    As for the very rowan: A nice place to once being buried, indeed.
    Not according to German law, though. :)