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362 Study Questions: Taliesin, Various Poems (Longman Anthology, translations by Joseph P. Clancey and Saunders Lewis)


Vocabulary: anaphora, caesura, patron, cywyd, englyn, etiological narrative

Character Identifications: Urien, Owen

Introduction Questions: When did Taliesin supposedly live? What is the oldest surviving manuscript and its date?
Who was Taliesin's patron?

Lecture Questions: Why was the kingdom of Gwynnedd so important in Welsh culture and history?
Historically, Taliesin praises Urien's battle prowess against the Angles in line 20 of "Urien Yrechwydd," but why is that a bit ironic given our modern hindsight concerning this struggle?

Reading Questions:

  • In the opening two line of the poem "Urien Yrechwydd," Urien excels at what virtue among Christian men? Why would a bard or court poet think this trait in particular to be especially important?
  • In the second stanza of the poem, "The Battle of Argoed Llwyfain," what arrogant demand does Fflamddwyn make of the enemy? What is Owen's response to this demand?
  • Explain why the ravens are turning red in line 21.
  • In "The War-Band's Return," we hear that a man has poured out bragget. What is bragget?
  • We hear that a swarm of singers are all wearing torques round their heads. What are torques?
  • What region did this war-band invade? What was their motivation?
  • What lines in "The War-Band's Return" present us with multiple examples of anaphora?
  • How does the hyperbole in the last lines of "The War-Band's Return" match or echo the hyberbole in the last two lines of "The Battle of Argoed Llwyfain"?
  • Explain the pun in the last stanza of "Lament for Owain Son of Urien

Passage Identifications:

A: Urien of Yrechwydd      most generous of Christian men,
much do you give      to the people of your land;
as you gather      so also you scatter,
the poets of Christendom      rejoice while you stand.

B: With a great blustering din, Fflamddwyn shouted,
"Have these the hostages come? Are they ready?"
To them, Owain, scourge of the easatlands,
"They've not come,no! they're not, nor shall they be ready." .n.

C: There was many a corpse beside Argoed Llwyfain;
From warriors ravens grew red
And with their leader a host attacked.
For a whole year I shall sing to their triumph.

D: God, consider the soul's need
   Of Owain son of Urien!
Rhegd's prince, secret in loam:
   No shallow work to praise him.

E: Sleepth the wide host of England
   With light in their eyes,
And those that had not fled
   Were braver than they were wise.

 


 

 

 

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