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Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw

davidkiddnet 14 Jun 04 - 06:37 PM
sian, west wales 15 Jun 04 - 04:21 AM
sian, west wales 15 Jun 04 - 11:38 AM
davidkiddnet 15 Jun 04 - 03:43 PM
davidkiddnet 15 Jun 04 - 06:35 PM
Malcolm Douglas 15 Jun 04 - 06:55 PM
sian, west wales 16 Jun 04 - 04:40 AM
Chris in Wheaton 17 Jun 04 - 11:04 AM
sian, west wales 17 Jun 04 - 11:30 AM
Chris in Wheaton 17 Jun 04 - 05:11 PM
davidkiddnet 18 Jun 04 - 04:35 PM
davidkiddnet 18 Jun 04 - 04:59 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jun 04 - 05:08 PM
sian, west wales 18 Jun 04 - 06:00 PM
davidkiddnet 18 Jun 04 - 06:17 PM
davidkiddnet 18 Jun 04 - 07:06 PM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Jun 04 - 07:21 PM
sian, west wales 19 Jun 04 - 10:46 AM
davidkiddnet 21 Jun 04 - 07:00 PM
sian, west wales 22 Jun 04 - 04:31 AM
davidkiddnet 25 Jun 04 - 07:31 PM
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sian, west wales 28 Jun 04 - 05:45 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 14 Jun 04 - 06:37 PM

Does anyone know words and/or tune for 'Mentra Gwen' that are earlier than 1850?

I am studying the roots of the 1700 songs whose meters are 55335 i.e., Bold Benbow; Ye Jacobites by Name; The Loyall Subject's Joy; Jack Hall; Sound a Charge, Captain Kidd etc.

William Bonner, in 'Pirate Lauriate' (1947) commented 'Students of folk song now recogize the pattern of a well defined old Welsh ballad "Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw (Venture Gwen, or the Plaint of the Widow).'

I was delighted to find 'Mentra Gwen' in Welsh on . However david@cymraeg says it is by John Ceiriog Hughes (1832-1887), who's date is too late. It starts:

Amdanat ti mae son, Wennaf Wen, Wennaf Wen,
O Fynwy fawr i Fôn, Wennaf Wen;
I'r castell acw heno,
Rhaid iti droi a huno,
Hen deulu iawn sydd ynddo, Da ti mentra, mentra Gwen!

Can the version by John Ceiriog Hughes be considered a "plaint of the Widow"? Although my great great grandmother was born in Blaenavon in 1868 she did not leave me her language, so I cannot translate.

I found the same lyrics on where Bob Penryh also gives us a MIDI file. But Bob responded he's not a good resource for Welsh music history. To me his MIDI file tune seems too cheerful for a widow.

All we've had on Mudcat was in Oct 8 2002 re: Lyr Req: Admiral Benbow lyrics: sian west wales wrote that he was studying Mentra Gwen "today known as one specific folk song the tune was widely used in previous centuries for a variety of texts". And in Oct 2 2003 re: Lyr Req: Myrddin ap Dafydd: the same sian added "I think Myrddin wrote "Y Gwylliaid yn y Gwydd" on the measure 'Mentra Gwen'.

Can anyone give me lyrics and arrangements for these earlier Mentra Gwens?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 04:21 AM

I guess it should be me who answers, having been mentioned in dispatches, and all.

The Myrddin ap Dafydd lyrics are only about 20 years old. I'll have to look around for other lyrics, but there should be a number. Many will be in the 'bardd gwlad' category - unattributable and difficult to date, but I'll see what I can find.

In actual fact, Welsh folk songs differ from English (and presumably others) in that the 'tradition' is rather like a game: you have a body of music, and you have a body of words, and the artist then decides which verses to sing to which tunes. Of course, with the 'Mentra Gwen' measure, you can only sing it to a suitable tune.

Anyway, that's what the 'canu penillion' tradition is in Wales.

Now - the reason I contributed to earlier threads is because a friend of mine is writing a history of Welsh folk music and she asked me to dig up the dirt on the early English tunes. When she's done, that bit ought to interest you!

Strangely enough, I had it in my mind to do research very similar to yours! But ... you go right ahead but let me have a read when you're done, OK?

So: what is it you want? Words, or tunes?

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 11:38 AM

In the Journal of the Welsh Folk Song Society Vol III 1930 Part 1, there is a succession of tunes and comments on this measure. I'll give the tune/song titles and the comments. There's WAY too much to type all the words out, and likewise for ABC'ing the tunes.

I don't know if J. Lloyd Williams was still the editor of the Journal at this time. The 'form' was for the Editor to send the tune around to various stalwarts of the society (largely well-informed amateurs) and print any relevant comments which they might make following his own:

21 – YN Y GWY^DD (In the Wood)

Sung to the Editor at Aberystwyth in June, 1923, by the Rev. W. Rees, formerly Vicar of Llangaddock, Carmarthenshire. Mr Rees was well over 80 years of age, but he had a marvellous memory, and he sang for me several songs that were current in St. David's – his native district – during the early years of last century.

The song is clearly a variant of the beautiful tune of the same name (see No 22) noted by Miss Jane Williams in the Neath Valley. The words begin the same in both cases. The singer, while carrying on his work "in the wood", meditates on the uncertainties of life. This kind of semi-religious song was then very common, possibly the Methodist movement had much to do with it. – Ed.
"This sounds to me like a Scottish tune. It belongs to a characteristic verse-metre, the (probably) earliest known example of which is suggested by a title in 'The Complaynt of Scotland,' 1549.

'My lufe is Iyand seik, send him joy, send him joy.'

This may have suggested Hector Macneill's:

'My luves in Germanie, Send him hame, send him hame.'

There were also songs, of probably earlier date than the above, on Captain Kidd, Admiral Benbow, and the notorious crminal Sam (or Jack) Hall; and in the nineteenth centruy a revival hymn in 'Richard Weaver's Tune Book' 1861, was modelled upon the same stanza. All these tunes, together with the Welsh air, appear to be variants of the same original. 'Captain Kidd' and 'Sam Hall' are the dying confessions of villains, and the revival hymn is obviously suggested by one of them. It begins:

'come ye that fear the Lord
Unto me, unto me, etc.'

A verse of 'Captain Kidd,' with a somewhat modernized American form of the tune, may be quoted from an American collection, 'Our Familiar Songs, and Those Who made Them' 1889 (see below). Captain Kidd was hanged in Execution Dock on the Thames, in 1701, and the ballad is probably contemporary."
- Miss A.G. Gilchrist

CAPTAIN KIDD

To Miss Gilchrist's very interesting note we may add that there are among Welsh traditional tunes some dozens in this metre – some minor, others major or modal – and they are generically described as of the "Mentra Gwern" type. Some of them (e.g. Twrgwyn) have even been utilized as hymn-tunes.

For additional references to these tunes see pp 47, 48, 49.

It may be pointed out further that some of the middle phrases of Nos 21 and 22 are very similar to the corresponding ones in "Captain Kidd." – Ed.

"Of all these carol-tunes, No 21 strikes one most, with its lovely sweeping Seventh." - Sir Walford Davies

"Compare the tunes of Nos. 21 and 22 with 'Admiral Benbow' and 'Brave Boys', Chappell's Popular Music of the Older Times." - Miss L.E. Broadwood

22 – YN Y GWY^DD. FORM 2 OF No. 21

From Miss Maria Jane Williams of Aberpergwm's excellent collection of 'Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morgannwg, 1844'. The tunes were noted before 1838, for they were sent to the Abergavenny Eisteddfod in that year, where they won the first prize for the best collection of unpublished Welsh traditional songs. Of the words, we have only this verse and the imperfect one under 21.

The word "gwy^dd" in Welsh sometimes means "weaver", and Moffatt, following Miss Williams' note on the tune, in setting it in his 'Minstrelsy of Wales' has entitled the song 'The Old Weaver'. " - Ed.

23 – Y MO^R. FORM 3 OF No 21 (The Sea)

As the words to this tune are modern, I had always thought the tune contemporaneous with them until I happened to notice its resemblance to the "Gwy^dd" tunes. Here,then, we have three forms of the same tune from districts as widely separated as St David's in Pembrokeshire, the Neath Valley in Glamorganshire, and Snowdonia in North Wales; and furthermore, they seem to be linked up with the English songs quoted by Miss Gilchrist and Miss Broadwood. The exceedingly humours ballad describing the many curious things to be found in the sea, and ending with a reference to Jonah's having 'resided for three days within an angry whale' was at one time exceedingly popular with Welsh students in Oxford, and it was regularly sung at the meetings of Cymdeithas Dafydd ap Gwilym. The author of the ballad was Mr Rowland E Roberts, Dorlan Goch, Clwt y Bont, and afterwards of Llanberis. As we have had many enquireis for the words, we here print the remaining verses. – Ed

(8 verses follow)

"I am curiously fascinated by No 23 with its extraordinary arrangement of seven bars followed by eleven bars. In spite of this irregularity (as it would seem to me) I think it is a fine modal tune." – Mr A. Martin Freeman

"'Y Mo^r' is most like the 'My luve's in Germanie' form of the tune. See Alfred Moffatt's Minstrelsy of Scotland, etc" - Miss A.G. Gilchrist

24 FFARWEL I DREF MANCEINION. (FORM 4 OF No. 21) (Farewell to Manchster Town)

The above tune and words were sent to the 'Brython' for Feb 9th, 1928, by Mr Maurice Roberts, Ashton-in-Makerfield. He had learnt it from an old uncle "50 to 60 years ago."

In a later number of 'Y Brython', Ieuan ap Ioan gives the whole of the ballad, as copied from a note book written about 1845 by James Anwyl, Keeper of Harlech Castle. – Ed.

"I consider No 23 far better than 21, but neither is as good as the Aberpergwm version (No 22) which is more highly organised and expressive." - Mr E.T Davies

siân


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 03:43 PM

Thanks a million. I'll say it again: This web forum is better than any University.

For anybody who wishes I'd remembered to put the web adddresses in my first message, here they are:

Mentra Gwen MIDI file
MIDI

Mentra Gwen Lyrics on here Bob Penry also at Llyfrgell Owen


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 06:35 PM

What do I want? words, or tunes? Well it all started with a joke: they called me Captain Kidd - so for my joke I thought I'd do a webpage on him. But so hated the lyrics of that lying song that I would write my own. So had to start studying poetry. And then I thought which tune is best? So that's how it all started, with the tune.

I've always loved Early Music, but now I've had to taken up serious study of music theory. But when I wandered off into kiddlyrics I found that I have now had to take-up the study of History too!

"Let me have a read when you're done" well you can see so far at kiddmusic but much of what's there is WRONG and needs revision. It's hopelessly out of date because my wife complains when I spend all weekend typing, so I have to get up whilst she's asleep to do type it.

Thank you for all the notes you sent. I'm elated to read that Ms. A.G. Gilchrist said "This sounds to me like a Scottish tune" for, as I mention on my site, I'm jumping to the conclusion that these songs all have a Celtic root, because of the meter and rhyme being like Lymericks. No this isn't a silly joke, I'm serious this time. Lymericks were originally a fireside game our Celtic ancestors played and I believe these songs have sprung from that game.

And thank God you mentioned Miss Gilchrist, for 'The Journal of the Welsh Folk Song Society' must be where Professor William Bonner got a lot of his info from for his book 'Pirate Lauriate' (1947 Rutgers University Press). Bonner mentions "Anne Gilchrist, a scholar of English folk song" in connection with 'My luves in Germanie' but his footnotes were inadequate for me to locate her work.

Gilchrist thinking that 'My lufe is Lyand seik' may have suggested Hector Macneill's 1895 'My luves in Germanie' has proved to be unfounded because Macneill only adapted an earlier "Germanie Thomas" written by Thomas Traill about 1630. See my disourse and ABC in Mudcat thread 0.7742 RE: 'My love's in Germanie'.Some criticize my unwarranted assumptions. But I'm just an Artist - and that's what Artists are for - isn't it? Indeed I pray for an Assumption by my belief: I believe Thomas Traill 's song is a rewrite of an even older song - just like 'Mantra Gwen'! And long ago there was One First Song. And Oh what was that Ancient Song? And shall we not all sing it as we sail for Tir Nan Og ?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 15 Jun 04 - 06:55 PM

As I warned you in the other thread, the MacNeill/Traill ascriptions are anecdotal only. You can't draw firm conclusions from Traill's reputed but unproven authorship of Germany Thomas; only tentative and qualified ones. Take it one step at a time and you will get better results; particularly if you try not to jump to premature conclusions.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 16 Jun 04 - 04:40 AM

And there's more ...

I trawled through the 25 Welsh Folk Song Soc Journals which I have to hand and found the following (for which you can thank Technology, specifically OCR). The Society won't mind if I place it here as we're looking at setting up a website to get our articles out into the public domain ...

The author is the friend I mentioned who's doing the current research.

If you PM me an email address, I'll scan one of the tunes for you (the John Thomas one). I'm not aware of any Welsh words that are related to Captain Kidd.

On the metrical side, did we mention the hymn "What Wondrous Love is This" in the previous threads? I think we did.

The Tunes of Welsh Christmas Carols (1)
Phyllis Kinney

(Canu Gwerin 11/1988, pub. The Welsh Folk Song Society)

Although 'Mentra Gwen' is undoubtedly the name of a metre rather than a tune, the 24 examples collected here seem to comprise three different groups of metres in which the first sections are metrically similar but the second sections differ. Twelve of the examples were collected in North Wales (seven in the major and five minor), three came from South Wales (two in dorian/re mode and one minor) and one came from Patagonia in South America (major). The remaining eight (five major, two minor, one modified dorian) were notated without details as to provenance.

Metrical Group A: The most popular form seems to be an adaptation of the
metre used in England to sing the Captain Kidd ballads, which may go back as far as the 16th century in Scotland. As used in Wales, it may be written: 7.3.3.7.3.||7.7.7.3.3.7.3., with the 7 feminine and the 3 masculine. There are 14 examples of this metre, comprising five different tunes:

Tune l(a) (five examples): Probably the most familiar of the carol tunes on the above metre, this is a major key version which has appeared several times in print in the present century. Like all the 'Mentra Gwen' tunes, it is in duple time.

Tune l(b) (four examples): Also popular and probably older is a related version with two examples in the dorian/re mode, another in the minor, and a major key example which was printed in Caniadau Bethlehem, 1857. However, in the latter two instances there is a strong possibility that the tunes were originally in the dorian and were "corrected".

Tune 2 (one example): This can be heard on the Welsh Folk Museum plygain carol record." It is in the major and, although not closely related to the examples of Tune 1, some of the phrases are similar.

Tune 3 (one example): This is also in the major, has occasional affinities with the first two, and is called 'Mentra Gwen newydd' (new Mentra Gwen). It was probably collected early in the 19th century.

Tune 4 (three examples): All are in the major and all come from North Wales, though from widely separated areas. The earliest example was collected in the early years of the last century; the other two come from manuscripts compiled probably about the middle of the century. One collector called his version, 'Mentra Gwen mewn modd arall' (Mentra Gwen another way).

Tune 5 (one example): This is in the minor and is related melodically (but not metrically) to the well-known song, 'Y Gwydd', included in Ancient National Airs of Gwent and Morganwg (1844).

Metrical Group B: The only song in this category is metrically identical to Group A songs except for an extra three syllables at the end. Although the collector suggests the words of "Ar gyfer heddiw'r bore" or "Clywch clywch, newyddion bore", neither of these will fit without repeating the final three syllables of the verse. The melody is in the minor and is not related to the tunes in Group A.

Metrical Group C: The five examples in this group present a more significant change in metre. The first section is the same as in Groups A and B, but the final section is 7.7.7.7.3.3. In one example the collector calls it 'Dull eto o Mentra Gwen' (Another form of Mentra Gwen) and a second collector entitles his version
'Mentra Gwen yn yr hen ffordd' (Mentra Gwen in the old way). Certainly this group contains the earliest notation of the tune, from the John Thomas 1752 manuscript. Although John Thomas never gives a key signature or accidentals for the tunes he has noted orally, the chances are that it was in the minor key, as are two other closely related manuscript examples in the same group and also the earliest printed version, which appeared in British Harmony (1781).12

The remaining three examples of 'Mentra Gwen' are variations on the metres of Groups A, B and C. In two of the examples it is difficult to know whether the metrical variations were intentional or simply the result of inaccurate notation, as no words are included.

'Mentra Gwen' was popular as a carol tune and as a vehicle for secular words but apart from a mention by Richard Moms in 1717 there are few, if any, references to it before the middle of the 18th century and its greatest popularity comes later.

It is not mentioned in the 1759 Blodeu-gerdd nor was it used in the anterliwtiau, but as the numerous examples in print and in manuscript show, 'Mentra Gwen' steadily increased in popularity. From the late 18th century onward it appeared regularly in print and is still in use.

siân


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Wedd
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 11:04 AM

I have a 1950's US Gymanfa book that has Mentra Gwen with lyrics that differ from Ceiriog's - the first verse is

Mae'r gaua'n cilio draw
Fwynaf Wen, fwynaf Wen
A'r gwanwyn gwyrdd gerllaw
Fwynaf Wen
Tra byddo'r nef yn gwenu
A'r daear yn blaendarddu
Tryd, gad i ni ymglymu
Da di, mentra, mentra Gwen

There is no information on the source.
Sian, any idea where this comes from?

Beth bynnag, maen Haf hyfred yn Chicago and mae fy dandylions yn blaendarddu.

Hwyl, Chris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 11:30 AM

I'm not familiar with those particular words, but they sound like mid-Victorian. They were pumping them out 15 to the dozen back then. I love that, "Tyrd, gad i ni ymglymu" which (I'm hoping) had a completely different 'ring' to it in past times. (Come, let's get stuck together?)

Was the book for a Chicago Gymanfa, then? There used to be a huge Welsh contingent in that area who held events until fairly recently ...

Mae'n haf hyfryd yng Nghymru hefyd! Be' diawl sy'n bod???!!!

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Wedd
From: Chris in Wheaton
Date: 17 Jun 04 - 05:11 PM

The verses are from the US National Gymanfa Assoc songbook. The book is not dated, but my father used it for the 1951 Gymanfa in Milwaukee. The Chicago Gymanfa was delayed this year, as a result of poor planning - and the old-line Welsh groups have been allowed to wither. But the Chicago Tafia and others are hoping to reinvigorate the scene - we are planning a reception for Bryn Terfel, a Welsh choir and other events for the Fall.

The translation in the book for the first verse is "bind us, unite us together..."
The next two verses end --
... Tyrd, gad i ni ymuno ....
and - to salvage respectibility -
..... Tryd, gad i ni briodi .....
Sian, you might also be interested in looking at David Llewellyn
David has written two new verses to Bugeilio'r Gwenyth Gwyn for his new cd that better fit the story, but he doesn't seem to have posted them yet.
Hwyl, Chris yn Chicago


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 04:35 PM

I re-read the footnotes in Prof Bonner's 'Pirate Laureate'1947, where he mentioned "Venture Gwen, or the Plaint of the Widow" (Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw, and found Bonner did in fact refer to the exact source Sian came up with: "Journal of Welsh Folklore Society (1930), III, 45."
However Bonner adds
"See also Journal of Welsh Folklore Society II (1914-25), 122."
So perhaps there's something in volume II that would benefit this resarch too.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 04:59 PM

I'm sorry Malcolm, You're quite right about MacNeill/Traill ascriptions of Germany Thomas being only anecdotal. I just get a bit silly sometimes. The internet is already overflowing with crazy stuff that you can't trust by silly people.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 05:08 PM

Journal of the Welsh Folk Song Society, vol. II, 1919, Part II, page 122: Venture Gwen or The Plaint of the Widow


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 06:00 PM

Ah, yes. The 'cronfa' site. Nice resource, but the fact that the National Library is putting these scans on-line is discouraging the Society from doing reprints of the old Journals. I'm enough of a Luddite to still want a copy on the shelf and they're difficult to come by, second hand.

(Remember to refer to the preceding and following scanned pages for the whole commentary on Mentra Gwen)

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 06:17 PM

I'd love the Society to reprint the old Journals because I can't read the Cronfa scans without relying too much on my imagination.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 07:06 PM

Asked for an email address to mail me a scan of a tune:
A little known fact is that you can e-mail anybody who has a website by putting <@> before the site name, so my address can be david@myaddress.In fact you can put anything you like before the <@> like twit@myaddress and I'd still get your message.
Well perhaps not anything.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Jun 04 - 07:21 PM

If you save the images to your hard drive, you should be able to read them easily enough if you have reasonable image-editing software.

The online reproductions don't seem to be very well organised; I find no index or table of contents, and it's very tedious trawling through all those thumbnails when only 5 are displayed on each page. Designed, I assume, as a visually-attractive virtual exhibition, but with very little thought as to usability. I hadn't realised that it was not a "sanctioned" enterprise. Has the Society no control over the exploitation of its resources by others? The copyright situation is likely to be quite complex if the case of the Journals of the English Folk Dance and Song Society is anything to go by


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 19 Jun 04 - 10:46 AM

Oops. Sorry. It is sanctioned ... in a way. Internal politics which one hestitates to discuss in open forum ... !

Copyright is, indeed, complex, as a former Chair of the Society (we're talking 5 decades ago) was instrumental in publishing huge numbers of songs ... but his publishing company then 'had' the copyright. Still a - well, shall we call it a topic of debate and be kind?

sian


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Subject: Tune Add: MENTRA GWEN, NEA CWNFAU Y WRAIG WEDDW
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 21 Jun 04 - 07:00 PM

[Despite my hard drive and image software I still can't be sure of the Cronfa scans. Is this what it says on Cronfa page 123? The asterisks are the worst bits, where I can't even guess what it says]
"
From J.Parry (Bardd* Alwe)'s Welsh Harper Vol.II No.115, but identical with the one noted in the Jenkins Cer*i MSS under the name "Mentra Gwen, *bel vi *cenle* yn *y *Gogleble" [i.e. Venture Gwen, as sung in N. Welsh). In the same volume of the Welsh Harper, No. 175, "Cwyn y Yorwyn" is Jenkins "Mentra Gwen Dek*oularth" i.e. the South Wales form of the same tune. It is very similar to the well-known "Gyda'r Wawr" arranged by John Thomas (Penc*rdd Gw***), the famous harpist, for Cramer's Songs of Wales. In the Welsh Harper the S. Wales form has two of the lines lengthened, probably by Parry, who was rather given to too much "editing" of the traditional tunes.
"
[The correct names of the personages and their books is what I need for my ABC. And are these

lyrics correct? "Failing to walk the earth" is a cool spooky line, if that's what he says.]
Click Here for MIDI

X:GWEN8
T:Mentra Gwen, nea Cwnfau Y Wraig Weddw
T:Venture Gwen, or The Plaint of the Widow
W:The gentle beloved maid, Venture Gwen, Venture Gwen,
W:Where I have placed my love, Venture Gwen,
W:'Cause I'm a man in sorrow,
W:Failing to walk the earth,
W:For the love of thee, sweet maiden, Venture Gwen, Venture Gwen.
M:4/4
L:1/8
A:Wales
H:J.Parry
B:Welsh Harper Vol.II No.115
B:The Journal of Welsh Folksong Vol.II, 1919, part II, page 123.
S: 18th June 2004
S:
Z:transcribed by David Kidd, davidkidd.net, June 2004
Q:130
K:Gm
D|:G>A BG|c2 BA|B2 AG|^F3 D/^F/|
G>A BG|c2 Bc|d2 zB/c/|dc de|
fd zB|cB A|cA zA|GB AG|
G^F zd|gd dB|ce dc|B2 A>G|[1 G3 D:|[2 G4||


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 22 Jun 04 - 04:31 AM

"From J.Parry (Bardd Alaw)'s Welsh Harper Vol.II No.115, but identical with the one noted in the Jenkins Ceri MSS under the name "Mentra Gwen, "Fel y cenir yn y Gogledd" [i.e. Venture Gwen, as sung in N. Wales). In the same volume of the Welsh Harper, No. 175, "Cwyn y Forwyn" is Jenkins "Mentra Gwen Deheubarth" i.e. the South Wales form of the same tune. It is very similar to the well-known "Gyda'r Wawr" arranged by John Thomas (Pencerdd Gwalia), the famous harpist, for Cramer's Songs of Wales. In the Welsh Harper the S. Wales form has two of the lines lengthened, probably by Parry, who was rather given to too much "editing" of the traditional tunes."

I think that fills in the blanks. Cwyn y Forwyn means The Maiden's Complaint. Gyda'r Wawr = With the Dawn.

BTW, the title of this thread should read Cwynfan y Wraig Weddw.

Did you get an email from me with scans of two tunes?

siân


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 25 Jun 04 - 07:31 PM

I'll see my e-mail when I get home. I'm looking forward to working on the other tunes you mentioned


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 03:18 PM

Oh well I goofed again. So THAT's why I haven't had much real e-mail amongst the ever increasing spam! This internet/e-mail thing is OK until you get left behind by 'progress'. Through extensive tests I have discovered am now NOT able to recieve mail at my domain name. That'll teach me to test everything. So please can you resend your scans of the two tunes again to this REAL e-mail address: artfirst, putting 'david' in the message title. Thank you so much for the trouble you have taken for me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 28 Jun 04 - 05:45 PM

Ha! Smartie! Sending again ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Jul 04 - 03:34 PM

Got it good.
What a couple of treasures.
Thank you very much; It's more than a Smartie-pants deserves.
But now that I'm starting to learn Welsh I'm sure my temprament will improve; as my Great Great Gran Sal Jones of Blaenavon awakes within me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Jul 04 - 04:02 PM

Sian, Thank you for the info, I have got two tunes in ABC format and I'll put them up here as soon as I have every detail right. That is: can you trawl through the 25 Journals again and give me the Date, Issue Number, and if possible Page Number of the Journal of Welsh Folklore Society that contain:
1. the John Thomas tune you mentioned on 16 Jun 04. Did not you say it was in an article by Phyllis Kinney on Plygian carol tunes? Was that in the Journal?
2. the other tune, from British Harmony, that was in a Cass Meurig article on fiddle playing in the C18th. Was that a 2001 Journal?
Or have I got them the wrong was round?
Sorry to be tedious but the scholars want this very much as it's the only way they can tell if these tunes are real. So many of the ABCs around have neither provenance nor reference. So how can we ever look them up to find out anything more about them?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 12 Jul 04 - 05:37 PM

I'll check up tomorrow.

What d'ya mean "they can tell if these tunes are real"! Our academics are as good as your academics any day of the week!

Hmmpphh. The very cheek ... !

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 03:27 PM

OK, slave driver.

The John Thomas tune is mentioned in both the article by Cass Meurig and the one by Phyllis Kinney, although the scan I sent you which is headed "Atodiad 1 Mentra Gwen" is from the Cass one: Canu i Gyfeiliant Ffidil yng Nghymru'r Ddeunawfed Ganrif (Singing to Fiddle Accompaniement in Wales of the 18th Century), pp 20-41, in Canu Gwerin (Folk Song), 24 - 2001, Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, ISSN 0967-0559.

The scan which starts with "6. Mentra Gwen" is in the Phyllis Kinney article, "The Tunes of the Welsh Christmas Carols (1)", pp 28 - 27in Canu Gwerin (Folk Song) 11/1988, Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, ISBN 0 9510307 5 2. Part 2 was in the following year, but isn't relevant to your topic.

Shall our scholars challenge your scholars to a duel? Semi-quavers at dawn?

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jul 04 - 08:06 PM

Nay Lad, I didn't mean "to tell if YOUR tunes are real
I meant "for them to tell if the things on MY website are real. For some of my assumptions on my website may be dubious as to certainty.
Oh Lord, your stuff is Perfect!
As for "Our academics versus your academics":
If you mean British Academics as opposed to American Academics. Well I'm still a British citizen altho' I dwell sadly in exile, and have little respect for this very recent country's idea of culture.
However if you mean Welsh Academics as opposed to English Academics - well there's nothing much I can come up with to answer that, exept I have these very good high blood pressure pills...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 04:26 AM

ummmm ... 'Lass', actually. But still perfect (at least in some ways!)

Still - I was rather looking forward to semi-quavers at dawn ...


siân (f)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 03:06 PM

O Sian, I wish that I had written a more Perfected Note, but don't Fret, I shall keep more in Accord with the Tone of your Composition, Conducting myself towards something more Instrumental to Progression. And in the Interval I shall try to be not too Sharp of Voice. For this Key may, Barring nothing, open the Root of something Dynamic. But Still we can give Disharmony a Major Rest. For I don't want you to feel Diminished by my Tone, or annoyed by its Frequency.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Jul 04 - 05:51 PM

oh. yeh. fine.

I think ... ?

siân
cowed


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Subject: Tune Add: MENTRA GWEN, NEA CWYNFAN Y WRAIG WEDDW
From: GUEST,davidkiddnet
Date: 27 Jul 04 - 05:56 PM

X:48GwFt
T:Mentra Gwen (Fiddler's Tunebook 1752)
T:48 "Autodiad 1 Mentra Gwen" upper staff
O:Wales
B:John Thomas' Fiddler's Tunebook 1752. No. 68
S:Cass Meurig's article "Singing to Fiddle playing
S:in the 18th Century" in
S:Canu Gwerin (Folk Song) No.24 2001 pp 20-41,
S:Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, ISSN 0967-0559.
F:mudcat.org/thred.cfm?threadid=70693
Z:transcribed by davidkidd.net July 2004
M:4/4
L:1/4
Q:130
K:C
E|AABB|{B}c2d(c/B/)|c>e d/c/ B/A/|G3E|
AABB|{B}c2dd/f/|e3||{e}f|ede{e}f|
eg2f/e/|dcB{B}c|Bd2c/B/|Ae d/c/ B/A/|GE2e|
aee d/c/|dfed|c>e d/c/ B/A/|A3||
W:Y fwyn garedig ferch, mentra Gwen, mentra Gwen,
W:Lle rhoddais i fy serch, mentra Gwen;
W:Gwaith dyn wyf fi mewn galar,
W:yn ffaelu cerdded daear,
W:o'th garied di'r fun hawddgar;
W:Rwy'n deisyf cael dy ffafar, mentra Gwen, mentra Gwen.

X:49GwPc
T:Mentra Gwen (Plygian Carol)
T:49 "6.Mentra Gwen"
O:Wales
A:Bangor
C:collected by E. Ylltyr Williams
S:Article by Phylis Kinney on
S:Plygian Carol tunes. No.6 MS 2254
S:Welsh Folksong Society Journal
B:Canu Gwerin (Folk Song) No.11 1988 pp 27-28.
B:Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, ISBN 0 9510307 5.
N:mudcat.org/thred.cfm?threadid=70693
Z:transcribed by davidkidd.net July 2004
M:4/4
L:1/4
Q:130
K:Em
E2|BBAB|G/F/ EEF|G2AA|B2(G>A)|BBAB|G/F/ EGF|E2||
(B>c)|dd/>c/ Be|d/>c/ B(B>c)|dd/>c/Be|d/>c/B (G>A)|
BBAB|G/>F/ EEF|G2AA|B2(G>A)|BBAB|G/F/ E GF|E2|]

X:50GwBh
T:Mentra Gwen (British Harmony No.32)
T:50 "Autodiad 1 Mentra Gwen" lower staff
O:Wales
B:British Harmony, No.32.
S:Cass Meurig's article "Singing to Fiddle
S:playing in the 18th Century" in
S:Canu Gwerin (Folk Song) No.24 2001 pp 20-41,
S:Cymdeithas Alawon Gwerin Cymru, ISSN 0967-0559.
F:mudcat.org/thred.cfm?threadid=70693
Z:transcribed by davidkidd.net July 2004
M:4/4
L:1/4
Q:130
K:C
E|ABcA|d2cB|c2 BA|^G3E|
ABcA|d2cd|e3||c/d/|edef|gezc|
dcBc|dBzB|AcBA|A^Gze|
aeec|dfed|c2cB|A3|]
%see 43GwPw

X:43GwPw
T:Mentra Gwen, nea Cwynfan y Wraig Weddw
T:43 "Venture Gwen, or The Plaint of the Widow" as sung in North Wales
O:North Wales "Fel y cenir yn y Gogledd"
B:J. Parry (Bardd Alaw)'s Welsh Harper Vol.II No.115
B:The Journal of Welsh Folksong Vol.II, 1919, part II, page 122. NO.74
F:cronfa.com/index.php?action=item&lang=en&itemid=CAG00211
F:mudcat.org/thred.cfm?threadid=70693
Z:transcribed by davidkidd.net June 2004
M:2/4
L:1/8
Q:130
K:Gm
D|G>A BG|c2 BA|B2 AG|^F3 D/^F/|
G>A BG|c2 Bc|d2 zB/c/|dc de|fdz B|
cB AB|cA zA|GB AG|G^Fz d|
gd dB|ce dc|B2 A>G|G3|]
W:Y fwyn garedig ferch, mentra Gwen, mentra Gwen,
W:Lie rhoddias i fy serch, mentra Gwen;
W:Gwaith dyn wyf fi mewn galar,
W:Yn ffacia cerdded daear,
W:O'th gariad di'r fun hawddgar;
W:Rwy'n deisyf cael dy ffafar, mentra Gwen, mentra Gwen.
W:
W:The gentle beloved maid, Venture Gwen, Venture Gwen,
W:Where I have placed my love, Venture Gwen,
W:'Cause I'm a man in sorrow,
W:Failing to walk the earth,
W:For the love of thee, sweet maiden, Venture Gwen, Venture Gwen.

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

My midi files are a bit cranky with abruptly cut-off notes due to a software glitch. I ordered new better software over a week ago but I can't wait for ever. Perhaps by the time you try these links I'll have the tunes fixed-up better - But oh for a real fiddler!

Please check my lyrics and correct my spelling. I'm sure to have some words wrong.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 28 Jul 04 - 05:40 AM

I'll take a look at that, David. I'm completely flummoxed by ABC so I can't check that for you, but there are one or two small points with the text, some of them to do with Victorian orthography, but I'll PM you, OK?

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 06:15 PM

Sorry about the weeks of delay. My spouse made me go on a holiday up a mountain where there aren't any computers. And now I can't get my PM open so I haven't read your 'Victorian Orthography' yet. That sounds fascinating !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Aug 04 - 06:31 PM

Well I said I'd start learning Welsh, so, as a novice using the Lexicon on oldweb.cs.cf.ac.uk/fun/welsh/ I tried to translate the C19th version of Mentra Gwen by John Ceiriog Hughes that is on ligtel.com/~wales/MusicLyrics.htm (It's down near the bottom of Bob Penry's page. My draft translation below will no doubt cause you great hilarity.
:::::::::::::::::::::
1.
About thee I talk about
smiling blessed
Oh greater Monmouth to Anglesey
New fortress yonder tonight
must in order to overturn and unite an
ancient family righteously exist therein.
A good risk for thee, daring blessed.
2.
Before me a great mountain.
Better to break the journey
Well, in at my arm moreover .
Because of the unresolve and indecision      
be within, at the castle, lodging.
A good risk for thee, daring blessed.
3.
I own, possess this Castle.
you can live as my wife,
the wife in the Hanging fortress.
Respect the possessor
Accept on the point of bargain.
A good risk for thee, daring blessed.
::::::::::::::::
Isn't this a very novel structure for a song? Not getting the response he wants the singer changes his attitude and becomes more forceful with each verse, finally letting on that in fact He's The Big Man around here. The English version that Hughes wrote, you can read on ligtel.com, has a differentlight-hearted tone. It seems the Welsh words are more menacing and oppressive. Isn't verse 3 really a bit of a threat by a powerful dominator? It is if Castle "Grogen" really mean the Castle of the Gallows or the Castle of the Gibbet.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 21 Aug 04 - 03:18 PM

Well I think you did well, all considered.

Amdanat ti mae son, Wennaf Wen, Wennaf Wen,
O Fynwy fawr i Fôn, Wennaf Wen;
I'r castell acw heno,
Rhaid iti droi a huno,
Hen deulu iawn sydd ynddo, Da ti mentra, mentra Gwen!

Of thee I speak, Fairest Gwen, Fairest Gwen,
From great Monmouth to Anglesey, Fairest Gwen.
To that castle over there tonight
You must turn and sleep,
The family living there is a good one, venture forth, venture forth, Gwen.

2. O'th flaen mae mynydd maith,
Wennaf Wen, Wennaf, Wen,
Gwell iti dorri'th daith
Wenaf Wen,
Wel yn fy mraich gan hynny,
Yr awn gan benderfynu,
Fod yn y castell lety;
Da ti mentra, mentra Gwen!

Before you the welcoming mountain, Fairest Gwen, Fairest Gwen
You had best break your journey, Fairest Gwen,
Wel, with this I shall take you on my arm
And we will go on having decided
That there are lodging to be had in the castle, venture forth, venture Gwen

3. Fi piau'r castell hwn,
Wennaf Wen, Wennaf Wen,
Ti elli fyw mi wn,
Wennaf Wen,
Y wraig yng Nghastell Crogen,
I'w barchu af a'i berchen;
A chymer fi'n y fargen,
Da ti mentra, mentra Gwen!

It is I who owns this castle, Fairest Gwen, Fairest GWen,
I know that you will be able to live, Fairest Gwen,
As wife of Castle Crogen,
To be respected by the owner
And taking me into the bargain,
Venture forth, Gwen, Venture Gwen.

(Oh lord! That's the Victorians for you!)

I have a feeling I never did PM you! There weren't many corrections to make. Here:

Y fwyn garedig ferch, mentra Gwen, mentra Gwen,
Lle rhoddais i fy serch, mentra Gwen;
Gwaith dyn wyf fi mewn galar,
yn ffaelu cerdded daear,
o'th gariad di'r fun hawddgar;
Rwy'n deisyf cael dy ffafar, mentra Gwen, mentra Gwen.

You seemed to have survived your mountain sojourn!

BTW, nice site (above). I commend to you particularly pretty tune: Maid of Llanwellyn. I've always been quite partial to it!

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Aug 04 - 07:55 PM

re being "completely flummoxed by ABC so I can't check that for you" I didn't know anything about ABC six months ago either, but you don't to KNOW about ABC to see the tune and hear it, you just copy the abc code and paste it into a translator. I recommend "The ABC Home Site" gre.ac.uk/%7Ec.walshaw/abc/index which gives a list of software to suit any user whatever. Some of these are quite small simple programs. No learning required. You just paste it in and it shows you the score and plays the tune. Because I use a Mac at home I picked "Bar Fly", that you can download free from barfly.dial.pipex.com Whilst at work I'm on a PC so I tried a few programs but didn't download any because I came across a website where they translate it for you for free:concertina.net/tunes_convert.html
Just paste, look, and listen !


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 30 Aug 04 - 08:03 PM

Yes; I recommend that site here regularly. Most abc-reading programs are either obsolete or problematic, as the abc group hasn't been able to agree on new standards, so everybody seems to have implemented different ones. The concertina.net facility is pretty reliable. I test all mine there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Wedd
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 23 Nov 05 - 08:48 PM

In November 2005 I have put two versions of the lyrics I have found to "Mentra Gwen" on my webpage
http://www.davidkidd.net/18songs.html and also the four different tunes I have found in "abc" format and MIDI format on my other page http://www.davidkidd.net/13Kabc.html


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Wedd
From: davidkiddnet
Date: 07 Aug 08 - 11:19 PM

In 2008 modern technology made me have to subtley change my web addresses. They now end in .htm instead of .html. So the lyrics are now at http://www.davidkidd.net/18songs.htm and the tunes are now at http://www.davidkidd.net/13Kabc.htm


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Bryn Pugh
Date: 08 Aug 08 - 09:30 AM

Diolch yn fawr iawn, Sian ; fel hyn, yr wyf fi'n gofio |"Da di mentra, mentra, Gewn".

Not that I'd dare argue with you ! I'm out of practice, any way - you don't get many Cymraeg speakers in Northants.

Hwyl fawr, Bryn


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: sian, west wales
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 02:46 AM

Yep, I know 'da di mentra' as well. I suppose the above is all stuff from books but that doesn't mean that the way we hear/remember verses 'in the wild' are any less valid!

Last day of the Eisteddfod today. If you're braving the rain to be there, leave a message for me at stand 1717 and we can meet up!

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Chris in Portland
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 10:22 AM

Sam Hall was one of Carl Sandburg's favorite songs. When I was a freshman in high school in '62, Carl came for an assembly. The Folks in Charge probably thought he would give an academic talk on poetry, but he brought his guitar and sang Sam Hall and cowboy songs. Who knows, if he had been around longer, maybe he'd have been on Hootenanny.
Glad to know the history of the song.

Ac Sian - Aroswch yn sych!

Thanks, Chris in Portland


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: Nigel Parsons
Date: 09 Aug 08 - 08:14 PM

As a first attempt!

It is of thee I speak, fairest Gwen, fairest Gwen
From the Usk to Snowdon's peak, fairest Gwen
(Failed translation, but retains idea of from South to North)
And to yonder castle's keep (Stately heap)
You must turn to find your sleep
Where the fam'ly will you keep
(So) venture forth, fairest Gwen

See ahead a welcome peak, Fairest Gwen, Fairest Gwen
Where your journey you can break (sight rhyme only), fairest Gwen.
And with you then by my side,
To go on we will decide
And the castle rest inside,
(Now) Venture forth, fairest Gwen

Now, that castle is mine own, fairest Gwen, fairest Gwen.
Once your willingness you've shown, fairest Gwen.
As the wife of Castle Crohn (massive assumption, but avoiding nasty rhymes & misplaced accents)
You'll be welcomed as our own,
And belong to me alone. Fairest Gwen.


I don't know the tune, but what I've written (based on my reading of the meter of the Welsh version) seems almost to scan to "Let us haste to Kelvin Grove"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Mentra Gwen, neu Cwynfau y Wraig Weddw
From: GUEST,Geoff Thomas
Date: 16 Jun 17 - 04:19 AM

Hi thre.

I saw this old post from 2008.

R U till looking for info on the Welsh tune/song Mentra Gwen ?


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