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Thread: 1st March: something for Welsh readers page

  1. #1
    Lewis's Avatar
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    1st March: something for Welsh readers

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    dydd gwyl dewi hapus i pawb

    The ash grove how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking
    The harp through its playing has language for me.
    Whenever the light through its branches is breaking,
    A host of kind faces is gazing on me.
    The friends from my childhood again are before me
    Each step wakes a memory as freely I roam.
    With soft whispers laden the leaves rustle oer me
    The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home.

    Down yonder green valley where streamlets meander
    When twilight is fading I pensively rove
    Or at the bright noon tide in solitude wander
    Amid the dark shades of the lonely ash grove.
    Twas there while the black bird was cheerfully singing
    I first met that dear one the joy of my heart
    Around us for gladness the blue bells were ringing
    But then little thought I how soon we should part.

    My lips smile no more, my heart loses its lightness;
    No dream of the future my spirit can cheer.
    I only can brood on the past and its brightness
    The dear ones I long for again gather here.
    From ev'ry dark nook they press forward to meet me;
    I lift up my eyes to the broad leafy dome,
    And others are there, looking downward to greet me
    The ash grove, the ash grove, again is my home.

    I found it sung online, too:

    Laura Wright - The Ash Grove - YouTube

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    Beautiful!
    Happy St. David's Day!

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    The lyrics were beautiful. What is St David's day? I am not very familiar with Welsh culture.
    You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

    Nah.. I was always aware "they" were out to get me.. even before I became Primal..... Now I can just run faster if they find me-Dino Hunter

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    The Welsh National Day :-) as St Patrick's is to Ireland and St Andrew's to Scotland and St George's to England.

    We are united kingdoms, for now at least!

    We don't have a Great Britain (UK) day! LOL!
    Seeking the natural way in a modern world ...

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    Lewis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by valmason01 View Post
    I am not very familiar with Welsh culture.
    Nor I. Perhaps one would need to know the language, since I suppose language helps shape the way we think and feel to really know it? In any event, I don't.

    I've an idea that into the mediaeval period the Welsh justice system preserved a humanity that was missing in Norman-run England. I don't think Welsh law recognized anything like trial by combat or by ordeal - which were essentially survivals of the customs of the old barbarian North. It would probably be a culture worth knowing more about.

    As the last contributor says, the day is their patron saint's day. I guess that in a way makes it quite remote - even before modern secularization - since Wales (like Scotland) was "more protestant" than England - and therefore, I suppose even more remote from the pre-Reformation mindset implied in the veneration of saints. Methodism was big in Wales

    For a view of what it might have been like to wander around the country with little fixed purpose before "modernity" started making everywhere the same George Borrow's book "Wild Wales" might be as good as anything. I don't think of Borrow as areliable witness to anything he writes about in his various books, but he's perceptive and lively.

    I'd love to hear someone knowledgeable talk about the country and its history and culture.

  6. #6
    valmason01's Avatar
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    Yes, language does shape culture and I have always understood that Welsh is a very difficult language. I also would be interested in someone sharing their knowledge of Wales. America is such a very different culture but many of us came from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. It is our history as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lewis View Post
    Nor I. Perhaps one would need to know the language, since I suppose language helps shape the way we think and feel to really know it? In any event, I don't.

    I've an idea that into the mediaeval period the Welsh justice system preserved a humanity that was missing in Norman-run England. I don't think Welsh law recognized anything like trial by combat or by ordeal - which were essentially survivals of the customs of the old barbarian North. It would probably be a culture worth knowing more about.

    As the last contributor says, the day is their patron saint's day. I guess that in a way makes it quite remote - even before modern secularization - since Wales (like Scotland) was "more protestant" than England - and therefore, I suppose even more remote from the pre-Reformation mindset implied in the veneration of saints. Methodism was big in Wales

    For a view of what it might have been like to wander around the country with little fixed purpose before "modernity" started making everywhere the same George Borrow's book "Wild Wales" might be as good as anything. I don't think of Borrow as areliable witness to anything he writes about in his various books, but he's perceptive and lively.

    I'd love to hear someone knowledgeable talk about the country and its history and culture.
    You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

    Nah.. I was always aware "they" were out to get me.. even before I became Primal..... Now I can just run faster if they find me-Dino Hunter

    Age 46
    height 5'3
    SW 215 lbs
    CW 180 lbs (whole foods/primal eating)
    LW 172 lbs
    GW 125ish lbs

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    There is a strong oral/aural tradition in Wales (in Welsh) with nation-wide Eisteddfod (poetry read aloud) competitions. Also many choral groups, Miner's choirs etc. Quite a bit from/via the Methodist tradition mentioned above.

    The spoken/written forms in poetry/song play an important role in keeping minority languages alive, especially when under persecution. It's the same in Scotland (where I live) with Gaelic which shares linguistic roots with Welsh.

    In recent years there has been legislation in the UK which has brought both languages official status and the learning/teaching of them is becoming more wide-spread.

    It's not all romantic though, from my perspective at least, with divisions/difference being highlighted and used for nationalist purposes rather than celebrated as diversity within a greater UK.

    I find it ironic that with the EU moving to a more and more amorphous mass many of its constituent parts really want to break away and be smaller and smaller. Interesting to consider with a Primal/Ancestral aspect in mind. Humans really do seem to do best in smaller bands and tribes where a sense of identity is clearer. I sometimes wonder if that's what drives our American cousins to seek their roots further back to smaller more identifiable cultures.

    Sorry, bit of topic drift there!
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    I don';t want to hijack this thread because I am fascinated with other cultures and want to learn more about Wales..

    That said..I very much agree that humanity craves smaller tribes where we actually know each other and depend on each other, take care of each other. I was born and raised in the rural south of the U.S. Small southern towns have a history of bigotry and being insular. There is certainly truth to that and I am sure it is not just this area of the world that is like that. I would like to believe that we can develop smaller bands and tribes without the problems that has come with it in the past. I think it is the only answer out of our various problems.

    Now back to the regular programming...hope to learn more!!

    I find it ironic that with the EU moving to a more and more amorphous mass many of its constituent parts really want to break away and be smaller and smaller. Interesting to consider with a Primal/Ancestral aspect in mind. Humans really do seem to do best in smaller bands and tribes where a sense of identity is clearer. I sometimes wonder if that's what drives our American cousins to seek their roots further back to smaller more identifiable cultures.
    You know all those things you have always wanted to do? You should go do them.

    Nah.. I was always aware "they" were out to get me.. even before I became Primal..... Now I can just run faster if they find me-Dino Hunter

    Age 46
    height 5'3
    SW 215 lbs
    CW 180 lbs (whole foods/primal eating)
    LW 172 lbs
    GW 125ish lbs

  9. #9
    Lewis's Avatar
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    PrimalCon New York
    All very true. It's interesting that the UK spends more on promoting Welsh than the French do on Breton, although far more people do (or did) speak that. And Occitan, the language of Southern France, and neighbouring parts had even more speakers in the past. French people's identity seems to have been highly regional, with France, as a national idea, asserted over against that.

    BTW, on Occitan -- I read that at one time the mere possession of a songbook of the Troubadours would have been enough to land you in the hands of the Inquisition in France. One of America's greatest literary men -- Ezra Pound -- learnt Occitan and translated some of those lyrics into English. They locked Pound into a cage after WWII for political reasons. If you google "ezra pound cage" there's a picture of it. Yeah, he was politically nave, but that's still appalling.

    On Methodism -- I was interested to learn that Weston Price had been a Methodist Sunday School teacher (although later a sceptic). It fits: Price = ap Rhys = the son of Rhys. It's a Welsh patronymic;

    Welsh map or ap = Irish/Scots mac. P for Q (or K) owing to sound shifts.

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