Hey people! 🙂
Today, let’s listen to a song from Gwilym Bowen Rhys’ first album in his Detholiad o hen Faledi (Selection of Old Ballads) series. This song was written by Robert Williams, also known as Robin Fawr o Fynytho around 1870. It’s written from the perspective of a farm-hand, who has been hired by a farmer from a place called Braich y Saint in Criciedd who initially makes a very good impression on his new employee, but eventually, as he starts working there, he turns out to be a very nasty and difficult boss. The translation below comes from Gwilym’s website.
Old Cadwaladr came on his grey mare
From Cricieth to Pwllheli to hire four farm-hands
He came to me quite pleasantly, on his face, a big smile
And I signed up, thinking I’d get the kindest master in the world.
Early on Friday I started on my way
To serve in Eifionydd, leaving Llŷn behind
To a lovely little place called Braich-Y-Saint,
I was there a few days, It won’t pay to say how long.
The slopes where steep an the scythe was blunt
And old Cadwaladr was a very difficult man indeed,
He’d rise in the morning with his cheeks full of wind
Shouting ‘wake up boys! It’s a quarter past five!’
After the boys had risen and taken the horses to water
And had returned, they’d eat flour and water pottage,
He’d order all to work, running around like a mad man
But that’s how Caswaladr was, a hard man t’wards his servants
I was raised at home, I never proved any suffering
But this year at Braich-Y-Saint I’m living on dry bread,
a herring on the forge, with a very bad taste
But you know what Cadwaladr was like, a hard man t’wards his servants
In dismal Braich-y-Saint there’s a bed like a carriage
Where I tried to sleep with my belly half empty
And the old Sow’s meat was hard and tasteless
But you know what Cadwaladr was like, a hard man t’wadrs his servants
Farewell to pulling swedes, farewell to the pick’n’shovel,
Farewell to the thin mare lying in the dirt,
Farewell to the white headed bull and the grey mare,
Farewell to old Cadwaladr, a hard man t’wards his servants.