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Journal of the Pembrokeshire Historical Society


Vol. 9 2000

The study of local history in Pembrokeshire

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Edmyg Dinbych or 'In Praise of Tenby'
By Brian Price
This is a free translation in modern verse form of the anonymous ninth-
century (c.875) Welsh poem 'In Praise of Tenby', the earliest transcription
of which can be found in the thirteenth-century manuscript (c. 1275) known
as The Book ofTaliesin.1
Bleiddudd, lord of Dyfed, had recently died and the poet was proclaiming
his successor, as well as mourning the departed. Tenby's Castle Hill was
possibly the site of the ninth-century Welsh fortress described in the poem,
and would have been built of a series of wooden palisades, ditches and
ramparts. Unfortunately nothing remains today of this fortress to help us
imagine the comradeship and boisterous merrymaking the site once wit-
nessed. Much of the stonework that survives and can be seen on Castle Hill
today is that of the later Norman castle.
In Praise of Tenby
I ask God's favour, for his boundless grace,
Lord of all earth, protector of our race.
There is a fortress set above the sea,
Happy on festive days is that fair hill.
Above the ceaseless chorus of the deep
Loud are the bards in mead-drenched revelry;
Safe from the grey-green ocean, stern and chill,
They leave it for their foes of old to keep.
The soaring sea-birds front the breeze pure white
As laughter echoes in the gathering night.
O'er ocean broad there stands the fortress fine,
Unyielding stronghold, sea-girt as a moat.
Inquire all, to whom shall it belong?
Yours be it henceforth, head of Erbin's line!
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