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Ystrad Meurig?

GUEST,leeneia 01 Oct 10 - 09:16 AM
Treacle Bolly 01 Oct 10 - 09:49 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Oct 10 - 10:20 AM
Matthew Edwards 01 Oct 10 - 10:32 AM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Oct 10 - 12:02 PM
Matthew Edwards 01 Oct 10 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Oct 10 - 05:14 PM
Gervase 01 Oct 10 - 05:17 PM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM
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Subject: Ystrad Meurig?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 09:16 AM

Somebody just posted a newsletter from their ISP, and the newsletter contained the following:

"Next month, broadband will arrive for the first time in Ystrad Meurig, location of Strata Florida, once the centre of Welsh culture."

I've been interested in Welsh music and culture for a while, but I've never heard of Ystrad Meurig or Strata Florida. Would somebody familiar with Welsh culture explain this?

The only Welsh strata I've heard of are its Cambrian rocks.


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: Treacle Bolly
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 09:49 AM

Strata Florida was a mediaeval abbey in the old Welsh county of Cardiganshire, between Aberystwyth and Tregaron. The church was built in the second half of the twelfth century and was bigger than the surviving St. David's Cathedral. It had a length of over 200 feet. The name sounds Latin but is supposed by an old book on my shelf to be a corruption of the Welsh "Ystrad Fflur". Several Welsh princes were buried here. Impressive ruins of the abbey remain.

Nearby a railway line ran through the village of Ystrad Meurig, but the station was called Strata Florida, possibly to signal the nearness of the abbey for tourists. Quite possibly the railway was closed in the 1960's as part of the "Beeching" cuts, still remembered with bitterness in many parts !


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 10:20 AM

Well, well! Thanks.

Armed with your info, I googled 'strata florida music' and found a googlebook called 'Music in Welsh culture before 1650.' It has a lot of mouth-waterering stuff about organs, chant, burdens and descant. So much early music, so little time!

(Not that the book actually SHOWS the music, darn it.)


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 10:32 AM

Dafydd ap Gwilym is said to be buried within Strata Florida Abbey; one of the finest poets of his time - I wonder what he'd have written about broadband? I wonder how he crept within those hallowed walls - nobody could possibly have taken him for a monkish celibate!

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:02 PM

I bet if Dafydd ap Gwilym knew that more people could read his poetry if they had broadband, then he'd be all for it.

As for celibacy - one of the patriarchs has 12 sons. (Lord knows how many girls he spermed.) If a patriarch like that can be holy, why not a frisky poet?

By the way, does any of his poetry survive?


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: Matthew Edwards
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 12:44 PM

Swansea University have created a special website dedicated to the poems of Dafydd ap Gwilym giving the poems in Welsh, and in English literal translations, but the site is a little awkward to use. There is a good article in Wikipedia: Dafydd ap Gwilym which has links to some of his best known poems in the original Welsh.

My favourite poem of his is 'Y Rhugl Groen' (The Rattle Bag), #62 on the Sawnsea University website in which the poet and a young women are interrupted in their amours by a wandering shepherd playing on his bagpipes. The poet curses the pipes and their player:-

"He had with him, notorious evil,
a nasty, shrivel-cheeked, dry-horned rattle bag.
He played this yellow-paunched prowler,
this rattle bag with its scabbed shank."

(Translated by Gwyn Williams)

I once quoted some of this poem to a friend who plays the bagpipes, but he didn't think it was all that amusing.

Another superb poem by Dafydd, 'Merched Llanbadarn' (The Girls of Llanbadarn), was partly at least the inspiration for my own song The Pride of Llanfair.

Matthew


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 05:14 PM

A rattle bag? I dunno, Matthew. Doesn't sound like a bagpipe to me. Sounds like a medieval shakey egg.

I once saw a drawing from a medieval MS that showed a peasant playing a bagpipe and a devil holding up a hand to tell him to stop. So if it was a bagpipe that offended Dafydd so, he was not alone in hating it.

I will check out your links.


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: Gervase
Date: 01 Oct 10 - 05:17 PM

I'm involved with restoring the churchyard walls at Strata Florida and with administering a conservation project covering Ystrad Meurig at large. I never thought to see it mentioned on the Mudcat!


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Subject: RE: Ystrad Meurig?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Oct 10 - 10:47 AM

Matthew, I read your song, "The Pride of Llanfair." Good work!

Gervase, it's interesting to hear about your involvement. Makes me think more and more that I ought to visit Wales. But never be surprised about what you see on the Mudcat. We cover everything from astrophysics to flatulence. (but not me on the flatulence)

Here's an English translation of a Welsh poem by Dafydd ap Gwilym:

God knew that the beginning
of May's gentle growth was most timely.
Fresh stalks grew unstintingly
on the first day of the pure gentle month of May.

Trees with unwithered tops detained me,
it was the great Lord who provided May yesterday.
The darling of poets would not disappoint me,
May brought me the good life.

A fair handsome youth who gave me gifts,
May is an obliging generous nobleman.
He sent me true coinage,
the pure green slices of May's tender hazels,
florins of the treetops which would not vex me,
the fleur-de-lis riches of the month of May.

It kept me secure from treachery
===========
It's interesting to see what remains constant from the 14th century (joy at the coming of spring) and what is different (the metaphor that flowers are money).

I also was tickled to see that 'fleur-de-lis' remains constant in French, English and Welsh after all these centuries.


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