Dafydd ap Gwilym (fl.c.1330–50)

Gwefan Dafydd ap Gwilym Website

O holl lenorion y fro hon, Dafydd ap Gwilym yw’r enwocaf o ddigon a’r disgleiriaf, un a gydnabyddir drwy’r byd fel un o feirdd canoloesol mwyaf Ewrop. Er i Ddafydd Llwyd fab Gwilym Gam gael ei eni ym Mrogynin ger Penrhyn-coch, yr oedd gwreiddiau’r teulu yng nghantref Cemais yng ngogledd Penfro. Efallai iddo etifeddu peth o ddawn ei hynafiaid Gwynfardd Dyfed a Chuhelyn Fardd yn yr 11/12 ganrif, dawn a feithrinwyd gan ei ewythr diwylliedig Llywelyn ap Gwilym, Cwnstabl Castell-newydd Emlyn, a fu â rhan ym magwraeth ac yn addysg Dafydd. Mae’n bosibl fod Dafydd, fel aelod o’r dosbarth uchelwrol, wedi derbyn hyfforddiant ar gyfer un o fân urddau’r eglwys, ond prin yw’r dystiolaeth ddogfennol am ei yrfa a’i gynhaliaeth. Mae ansicrwydd hefyd am fan ei gladdu, naill ai yn Ystrad-fflur neu yn Nhalyllychau. Awgryma ei gerddi ei fod yn derbyn nawdd am ganu mawl i uchelwyr â Ifor Hael o Fasaleg yn Ngwent, yn enwedig, a ddarlunnir fel cyfaill annwyl. Cyfarchodd yr eglwyswr llengar Hywel ap Goronwy, Deon Bangor, a chanu marwnadau i Ieuan Llwyd ab Ieuan Fwyaf o Enau’r Glyn, ac i aelodau teulu Ieuan Llwyd o Lyn Aeron. Yng nghartref Ieuan cedwid y flodeugerdd enwog Llawysgrif Hendregadredd, ac fe awgrymodd Daniel Huws fod ysgrifen Dafydd i’w gweld ynddi.
Mae’n amlwg fod Dafydd yn gyfarwydd â theithio ledled Cymru a’i fod mewn cysylltiad â rhai o’i gyfoeswyr barddol: er enghraifft, bu Gruffudd Gryg ac yntau’n cyfnewid cywyddau ymryson deifiol. Yn ei gerddi serch y deuwn orau i adnabod y bardd, drwy rannu ei orfoledd yn ogystal â’i siom yn ystod ei berthynas hir â Morfudd, y ferch nwydus a ddaeth yn wraig i Cynfrig Cynin (neu’r Bwa Bach, fel y’i gelwid). Clywn hefyd am Dyddgu ucheldras o blas Tywyn ger Aberteifi, ac am ferched eraill dienw a phleserau’r llwyn a’r deildy. Gwneud hwyl am ei ben ei hun a wna’n aml wrth iddo gael ei rwystro ar ei anturiaethau serch – ‘Trafferth mewn Tafarn’ yw’r enghraifft enwocaf – ond trewir nodyn dwysach gan nifer o’i gywyddau wrth iddo fyfyrio ar henaint a byrhoedledd oes dyn. Ni wyddys a fu Dafydd farw o’r Pla Du, a ymosodd gyntaf ar Geredigion yn 1349.
Nodweddir gwaith Dafydd ap Gwilym gan gyfoeth geirfaol eithriadol: at y gwaddol o eiriau a etifeddodd gan ei ragflaenwyr barddol ychwanegodd lu o eiriau cyfoes a thechnegol o bob math, llawer ohonynt yn eiriau benthyg o Ffrangeg a Saesneg. Defnyddiwyd y geiriau newydd hyn â sbin a’u troi’n drosiadau llachar, yn enwedig mewn disgrifiadau o fyd natur. Ef hefyd a ddatblygodd ffurf y cywydd â chynghanedd a’i ystwytho â sangiadau.Tynnai ar rai o ddulliau’r traddodiad poblogaidd brodorol ac ar genres estron fel y pastourelle a’r serenade. Mae’n amlwg fod ei farddoniaeth ffres a soffistigedig at ddant uchelwyr diwylliedig ac amlieithog yr oes; mae’n amlwg hefyd fod beirdd eraill ei gyfnod, a beirdd diweddarach hefyd yn cydnabod ei ragoriaeth.
Mae ei holl gerddi (tua 167 ohonynt), ynghyd â throsiadau i Gymraeg Modern a llawer iawn o ddeunydd cefndirol, i’w gweld ar: Wefan Dafydd ap Gwilym
O ddiddordeb arbennig i ddarllenwyr yr ardal hon y mae rhifau 7 (Marwnad Ieuan Llwyd ab Ieuan Fwyaf o Enau’r Glyn), 51 (‘Y Don ar Afon Dyfi’), 92 (‘Morfudd a Dyddgu’), 96 (‘Taith i Garu’, cywydd sy’n cynnwys llawer o enwau’r fro), 115 (‘Llychwino Pryd y Ferch’), 116 (‘I Ddymuno Lladd y Gŵr Eiddig’), 120 (‘Dewis Un o Bedair’ sy’n disgrifio Morfudd ‘seren cylch Nantyseri’, Dyddgu, Elen gwraig Robin Nordd o dref Aberystwyth, a merch ddienw), 137 (‘Merched Llanbadarn’), a 143 (‘Merch Gyndyn’).

Dafydd ap Gwilym is without a doubt the most famous and most accomplished author connected with our area, and it is no suprise that he is acknowledged internationally as one of the finest poets in medieval Europe. Dafydd Llwyd son of Gwilym Gam was almost certainly born in Brogynin near Penrhyn-coch, but the family’s roots were in the cantref of Cemaes in north Pembrokeshire. He may have inherited part of his gift from his poet forebears, Gwynfardd Dyfed and Cuhelyn Fardd (11-12 cent.). Dafydd’s cultured uncle, Llywelyn ap Gwilym, the Constable of Castell-newydd Emlyn, had a hand in his upbringing and education, and it is possible that at some stage Dafydd, like many other of the lesser nobility, received education preparing him for one of the minor ecclesiastical orders. Unfortunately, documentary evidence for his career and means of support is sparse; there is also uncertainty whether he was buried in Strata Florida or in the abbey of Talyllychau. His poems suggest that he received patronage for singing the praises of noblemen: Ifor Hael of Basaleg in Gwent was a key patron, portrayed as an intimate friend. He addressed the literary churchman, Hywel ap Goronwy, Dean of Bangor, and composed elegies for Ieuan Llwyd ab Ieuan Fwyaf of Genau?r Glyn, and members of the family of another Ieuan Llwyd, in the Aeron Valley. There, in Ieuan?s house, was kept the famous anthology known as Llawysgrif Hendregadredd (now in the National Library of Wales), and Daniel Huws has suggested that Dafydd’s own hand is to be seen in that manuscript.
It is clear that Dafydd travelled throughout Wales, and that he was in contact with some of his poetic contemporaries: for example, he exchanged a series of lively debate poems with Gruffudd Gryg. It is perhaps in his love poetry that we feel we come to know him best, as we share the highs and lows of his long relationship with Morfudd, the passionate ‘glowing ember’ who became the wife of Cynfrig Cynin, known also as Y Bwa Bach ‘the Little Bowed Man’ (or, according to David Jenkins, the nickname may have referred to his involvement with the production of bows). We also hear of the dark-haired aristocratic Dyddgu from Tywyn near Cardigan, and many other unnamed girls with whom he desires to share the pleasures of love in the outdoor antiworld, the ‘house of leaves’. He is at his most entertaining when he portrays himself as the bungler who is always thwarted on his missions of love – whether by geese, by a jealous husband, or by the alarm raised by the English hucksters in his most famous poem, ‘Trafferth mewn Tafarn’ (‘Trouble in the Tavern’). But an underlying unease is evident in many of his poems, as he reflects on old age, and the transience of life and its pleasures. It is not known for certain whether Dafydd survived the Black Death which ravaged Ceredigion for the first time in 1349.
Dafydd ap Gwilym’s poems are prized for their lexical richness. In addition to the poetic vocabulary inherited from his predecessors who sang in the royal courts, he exploited a huge range of modern words, often technical, which were recent borrowings from French and English. These new words facilitated the correspondences required by the cynghanedd system, and they were often given a spin and used in vivid metaphors, especially in descriptions of the natural world. It was Dafydd who was the main pioneer of the cywydd form (rhyming couplets of seven syllables), developing too the device of the sangiad (or ‘aside’) which enabled him to weave together a multiplicity of takes on his subject. He also took up some of the sub-literary or popular themes and forms of his day including imported genres such as the pastourelle and the serenade. There is no doubt that his fresh and sophisticated works had a great appeal for the cultured, multilingual nobility; it is also clear that poets contemporary with him, and those of the following centuries, acknowledged him as a groundbreaking figure.
Dafydd ap Gwilym’s poems are prized for their lexical richness. In addition to the poetic vocabulary inherited from his predecessors who sang in the royal courts, he exploited a huge range of modern words, often technical, which were recent borrowings from French and English. These new words facilitated the correspondences required by the cynghanedd system, and they were often given a spin and used in vivid metaphors, especially in descriptions of the natural world. It was Dafydd who was the main pioneer of the cywydd form (rhyming couplets of seven syllables), developing too the device of the sangiad (or ‘aside’) which enabled him to weave together a multiplicity of takes on his subject. He also took up some of the sub-literary or popular themes and forms of his day including imported genres such as the pastourelle and the serenade. There is no doubt that his fresh and sophisticated works had a great appeal for the cultured, multilingual nobility; it is also clear that poets contemporary with him, and those of the following centuries, acknowledged him as a groundbreaking figure.



Gwrandewch ar rai o’i gerddi enwog / Listen to some of his most famous works:


CERDDI DAFYDD AP GWILYM MEWN ISELDIREG / DAFYDD AP GWILYM’S POETRY IN DUTCH