Two Hedd Wyn Poems

The first poem is by Hedd Wyn himself. The second is an elegy by R. Williams Parry lamenting the poet's death in World War I, before he could receive the poet's chair awarded him at the 1917 eisteddfod. It uses one of the ode styles Hedd Wyn himself used in the prize-winning poem. Hedd Wyn means "Blessed Peace"; notice how Parry works the poet's name into the last stanza of his elegy.

Original Welsh Word-for-word Translation
(trans. Wade Dowdell)
Poetic Translation
(trans. Louis Flint Ceci)
Ellis Evans (Hedd Wyn)
1887 - 1917

Rhyfel (War)
Gwae fi fy myw mewn oes mor ddreng,
   A Duw ar drai ar orwel pell;
O'i ôl mae dyn, yn deyrn a gwreng,
   Yn codi ei awdurdod hell.

Pan deimlodd fyned ymaith Dduw
   Cyfododd gledd i ladd ei frawd;
Mae sŵn yr ymladd ar ein clyw,
   A'i gysgod ar fythynnod tlawd.

Mae'r hen delynau genid gynt
   Ynghrog ar gangau'r helyg draw,
A gwaedd y bechgyn lond y gwynt,
   A'u gwaed yn gymysg efo'r glaw.
Woe is me that I live in an age so boorish*,
   And God at ebb on a distant horizon;
After him, man, (both) lord and commoner,
    Raising his ugly authority.

When he felt God's going away
   He raised a sword to kill his brother;
The sound of battle is on our ear,
   And its shadow on poor cottages.

The old harps that were played before are
   Suspended on the branches of yonder willows,
And the scream of the boys filling the wind,
   And their blood mixed with the rain.

Alas, this is an age so mean
  That everyman is made a Lord,
  For all authority's absurd
When God himself fades from the scene.

As quick as God is shown the door
  Out come the cannons and the sword:
  Hate on hate on brother poured
And scored the deepest on the poor.

The harps that once could help our pain
  Hang silent, to the willows pinned.
  The cry of battle fills the wind
And blood of lads--it falls like rain.