A short Welsh poem
BackgroundEnglyn are short Welsh poems. There are eight different kinds. One of the most simple is the englyn milwr, or soldier's englyn, which is what this article will teach you to write. The eight englyn are part of the 24 traditional Welsh poetic forms that were recorded in the 14th century by Einion Offeiriad and Dafydd Ddu Athro.
Englyn were often written to praise or to mock a famous person. These were important duties of the Welsh bards. If a lord was good, fair, and generous, the bards would write poems telling what a great man he was. But if he was mean, unjust, or stingy, their poems would tell everyone about his bad traits. This could really affect the lord's reputation!
Skills NeededTo write an englyn milwr, you need to:
- Know what a syllable is
- Be able to count the number of syllables in a word
- Make rhymes
How-ToThe englyn milwr has three lines. Each line has seven syllables, and the end of all three lines rhyme.
That's it! It's very short, so it might be a good idea to have a very specific idea or message you want to get across.
ExamplesHere are some englyn milwr that I wrote. You can count the syllables in each line – there should be seven in each, or twenty-one in the whole poem. And the ends of all three lines rhyme.
Message: I think our king is going to win the next inter-kingdom war
Hail and praise our noble king
Victory in war he'll bring
Of his triumphs we will sing
Message: Our baroness is a great patron of the arts
Fair lady in the pearled crown1
Brings to artists great renown
- A Muse2 from Heaven come down
1 - Barons and baronesses wear crowns with pearls on top, so a "lady in a pearled crown" is a fancy way of saying "baroness."
2 - The Muses were Greek and Roman goddesses thought to inspire artists. Since the baroness inspires her artists in the barony, the poem calls her a Muse.
You don't have to write your englyn milwr about other people. If you like, you can use it to express just about anything.
Gwenllian ferch Madog Llangollen (mka Katherine Bryant). Gwenllian’s Poetry Primer