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Tinker

Welsh Meter Groups I Englynion, II Cywydd, III Awdl

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Tinker

Explore the Craft of Writing Poetry
Official Welsh Meters
Features of the Welsh Meters

The codified Official Welsh Meters are classified in three divisions which for the most part appear to be divided along the lines of the status of the ancient poets themselves, chief bard, house poet, and minstrel-jongleur.  Of course, creative poets found ways to bend the "rules" and other patterns naturally developed. Those that I have found are included as " IV. The Non-Codified" at the end of this page.

I.  Englynion or Englyn, are short poems often used in praise or satire of an important person. In ancient times these verse forms were most often written by the minstrel-jongleur poets and sometimes lesser house poets. The verse forms are stanzaic, written in any number of stanzas. These are the simplest of the meters.

         1.   Englyn penfyr
         2.   Englyb milwr
         3.   Englyn unodl union'
         4.  
Englyn unodl crwca
         5.   Englyn cyrch
         6.   Englyn proest dalgron
         7.   Englyn Heddfbroest
         8.   Englyn  proest gadwynog

II.  Cywydd Meters, ców-idd - there is no accurate translation into English, but the cywydd meters have been the most popular of the Welsh meters. The defining feature of the Cywydd is the elaboration and regularization of cynghanedd (harmony of sound) which consists of controlled variations of multiple alliterations with occasional internal rhyme. Although the form may not specify the use of alliteration, the cywydd meters usually include some alliteration with the lines. Feminine rhyme is not uncommon in cywydd meters and Welsh poets often rhyme stressed syllables with unstressed syllables, specifically within the cywydd meters. The meters are stanzaic and any number of stanzas may be written.

The cywydd meters were originally only used by the lesser poets, minstrels, and some lesser house poets. But by the 14th century, more house poets and some chief poets wee utilizing the patterns. Dafydd ap Gwilym (1320 - 1383), a Welsh nobleman, not a professional bard, is considered by some to be the greatest of the Welsh poets. He helped popularize and wrote almost exclusively in the cywydd meters, especially #10, the cywydd deuair hirion. His poems were mostly about the delights of love and one of his poems speaks of going to church strictly to ogle women. (I would say, humor was also a part of Welsh poetry.) A whole group of 14th-century poets became known as the cywyddwr or cywydd-men.

          9Awdl gywydd owdl gów-wid (rhymed cywcdd) 
        10
Cywydd deuair hirionców-idd dyé-ire héer-yon (long-lined couplet) 
        11
Cywydd deuair fyrion, ców-idd dyé-ire féer-yon (short-lined couplet) 
        12
Cywydd llosgyrnog, ców-idd llos-gr-nog

III   Awdl Meters (meaning "ode" or "lay"), are the most challenging and complicated classification of the Welsh meters. In ancient times the Awdls were the territory of the chief or master bard. Awdls often combine englyn and cywydd meters and there are more awdls than the other two classifications combined. Several were extremely rare, even in ancient times. Though a description of any of the awdls may not specify the use of alliteration, assonance or consonance, the elaboration of cynghanedd (harmony in sound), encourages their use throughout. The meters are, like the Englyns and Cwydedds, stanzaic and any number of stanzas may be written.

          13.    Rhupunt, rhée-pint
          14.   Cyhydedd fercuh-hée-dedd ver (short equivalence rhyme)
          15.   Byr a thoddaid, bir a thód-deyed (short toddaid)
          16.   Clogyrnach clog-ír-nach
          17.   Cyhydedd Naw Ban, cuh-hée-dedd naw ban
          18.   Cyhydedd Hir, cuh-hée-dedd heer (long cyhydedd)
          19.   Toddaid, todd-eyed 
          20.   Gwawdodyn, gwow-dód-in-heer (gwad = poem) 
          21.   Gwawdodyn hir, gwow-dód-in heer (long poem ) 
          22.   Hir a thoddaid, heer-ah-thódd-eyed (long stanza with toddaid) 
          23.   Cyrch a chwta, kirch-a-chóo-tah (two rhyme a chwta) 
          24.   Tawddgyrch cadwynog, tówdd-girch ca-dóy-nog (two rhyme chain)


IV. The Non-Codified Verse Forms that I have found are:
                  Dyfalu
                  Englyn byr cwca
                  Cyhydedd fer Sonnet


~~ © ~~ Poems by Judi Van Gorder ~~

For permission to use this work you can write to Tinker1111@icloud.com

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