Seeing Stars

Trawsfynydd (© Keith O'Brien)

alt=Ty Cipar Llyn Conwy (© Keith O'Brien)

Cultural Heritage

Since time immemorial, the stars and the planets around us have inspired poets, writers, artists, musicians and crafts people. In Welsh, the dark sky inspired a number of anonymous poets to write short verses called Hen Benillion.

Although they were recorded in the eighteenth century, they are probably much older than that. They were sung to the accompaniment of the harp.

Here are some that we have come across. Do you know of others?

Pan fo seren yn rhagori,
Fe fydd pawb â’i olwg arni;
Pan ddêl unwaith gwmwl drosti,
Ni fydd mwy o sôn amdani.

When a star exceeds,
Everyone will look at her;
Once a cloud comes over her,
There will be no more talking about her.

Ofer ydyw saethu seren,
Ofer golchi traed hwyaden;
Ofer ydyw, cofia’r ddameg,
Iro tor yr hwch â bloneg.

It’s pointless to shoot a star,
It’s pointless to wash ducks’ feet;
It is pointless, remember the parable,
To lubricate the belly fat of the sow.

Trwm yw’r plwm, a thrwm yw’r cerrig,
Trom yw calon pob dyn unig;
Trymaf peth tan haul a lleuad
Canu’n iach lle byddo cariad

Heavy the lead and heavy the stone,
Heavy is the heart of every lonely man;
The heaviest thing under sun and moon
Is bidding farewell where there's love

Fe gwn yr haul, fe gwn y lleuad,
Fe gwn y môr yn donnau irad,
Fe gwn y gwynt yn uchel ddigon;
Ni chwn yr hiraeth byth o’m calon.

The sun emerges, the moon emerges,
The sea lifts fresh waves,
The wind increases high enough;
The hiraeth (longing) will never raise from my heart.

Hardd yw gwên yr haul yn codi
Gyda choflaid o oleuni,
Hardd y nos yw gwenau’r lleuad,
Harddach ydyw gwên fy nghariad.

Beautiful is the rising sun’s smile
Embracing the light,
Beautiful at night is the moon’s smiles,
More beautiful is my girlfriend’s smile.

Bendith nef i’th ddau lygedyn,
Gwn mai arian byw sydd ynddyn’;
Yn dy ben y maent yn chwarae,
Fel y sêr ar noswaith olau.

Heavens’ blessing to both your eyes,
I know that mercury is in them;
In your head they play,
Like the stars on a bright evening.

Mae ‘nghariad i’n Fenws, mae ‘nghariad i’n fain,
Mae ‘nghariad i’n dlysach na blodau y drain,
Fy nghariad yw’r lana’ a’r wynna’n y sir,
Nid wyf yn ei chanmol ond dwedyd y gwir.

My lover is Venus, my lover is slim,
My lover is prettier than the flowers of the thorn
My lover is the cleanest and the whitest in the county,
I’m not praising her, I’m telling the truth.

Tri pheth sy’n anodd imi,
Cyfri’r sêr pan fo hi’n rhewi,
Rhoi fy llaw ar gwr y lleuad
A gwybod meddwl f’annwyl gariad.

Three things are difficult for me,
Counting the stars when it’s freezing,
Putting my hand on the edge of the moon
And know the mind of my lovely girlfriend.

Edrych ar y dorth, os gelli,
Sut y mae yn cael ei thorri;
Os yw hi fel dau gorn lleuad
Paid â chymryd hon yn gariad.

Look at the loaf, if you can,
How it is being cut;
If it’s like two horns of the moon
Do not take her as your girlfriend.

Maent yn dwedyd yn Llanrhaead’
Mai rhyw deiliwr wnaeth y lleuad;
A’r rheswm am fod golau drwyddo
Ei fod heb orffen cael ei bwytho.

They say in Llanrhaeadr
That a tailor made the moon;
And the reason for light going through it
Is that it hasn’t finished being stitched.