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10

A Bardic Hymn

Where hymnal preludes first entered Welsh literature, it is not easy to say. There are remainders still extant which go so far back as the twelfth century. Naturally, these are tinged with Catholic sentiment; but for the most part the tinge is very slight, and scarcely hurts their delicate simplicity. The following free translation of a bardic hymn out of the Black Book of Caermarthen will show the character of these earlier compositions:

In the Name of the Lord,

Be it mine Him to praise,

Who is great in praises:

Him as Ruler I adore,

For He hath increased the fruit

Of His charity.

God hath guarded us,

God hath made us,

God will save us:

God is our Hope,

Worthy and perfect--

Fair is His destiny.

We are ownèd of Him,

Who is in the heights

King of Trinity:

God was sorely tried,

When He was entering

Into affliction.

11

God has come forth,

Though He was prisoned

In His gentleness

Sovereign most happy,

He shall make us free

For the day of doom.

He shall bring us to the feast,

In His mildness

And His lowliness:

In His Paradise,

Holy shall we dwell

From sin's penalty.

We have no health

But in His chastisement

And the five strokes:

Unsparing His grief was,

In human defence,

When He took our flesh.

Unto God we were lost,

Except for the ransom

By a blameless decree:

From the blood-stained rood

Came salvation forth

To the wide universe:

Mighty Shepherd,

Never shall the merit

Of Christ decay.

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