March 09, 2007

The Measures of Welsh Poetry: Part 2: The Englyn

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B. The Englyn

This is a series of four parts that covers:
Cynghanedd ;
• the Englyn ;
• the Cywydd ;
• and the Awdl .
Remember that each line in all 8 forms of englyn uses Cynghanedd or ‘Harmony’.

1. Englyn penfyr (Short Head/End Englyn)
Lines: 3
Syllable count per line: 10, 7, 7
Rhyme pattern: A (internal rhyme around syllable 7 of the first line), A, A
Note: This kind of englyn includes a gair cyrch, i.e. extra words in line one to make up the three syllables after the internal rhyme at syllable 7). There is a caesura or gwant between the internal rhyme in line one and the rest of the line. The gair cyrch should also be echoed via rhyme and alliteration in the first few syllables of the second line.

2. Englyn Milwr (The Soldier’s Englyn)
Lines: 3
Syllable count per line: 7,7,7
Rhyme pattern: A,A,A
Content: Sparse atmosphere.

3. Englyn Unodl Union (Straight One-rhyme Englyn)
Lines: 4
Syllable count per line: 10,6,7,7
Rhyme: A(internal rhyme around syllable 7 of the first line), A, A, A
Stress: The second line must end with an unstressed syllable and in the final couplet, one line has a stressed syllable at the end of the line and the other is unstressed.
Content: epigrammatic, lyrical, didactic, satirical, humorous.
Note: When writing a sequence of these englyns, if a ward in the last line of one stanza is repeated in the first line of the next, it is called a cadwyn or chain. If in the sequence the same rhyme is used, then the sequence is called a gosteg. The first two lines are known as the paladr or shaft and the last two lines are known as the esgyll or wings. As in the englyn penfyr, this includes a gair cyrch, i.e. extra words in line one to make up the three syllables after the internal rhyme at syllable 7). The gair cyrch should also be echoed via rhyme and alliteration in the first few syllables of the second line. Each line also has some kind of cynghanedd.

4. Englyn Unodl Crwca (Crooked One-rhyme Englyn)
Lines: 4
Syllable count per line: 7,7,10, 6
Rhyme: A, A, A(internal rhyme around syllable 7 of the first line), A
Note: The same as above, except that here the paladr and esgyll swap places.

5. Englyn Cyrch (Internal Rhyme Englyn)
Lines: 4
Syllable Count per line:
Rhyme: A, A, B, A (plus an internal rhyme B in the middle of the last line)

6. Englyn Proest Dalgron (Compact Half-rhymed Englyn)
Lines: 4
Syllable count per line: 7,7,7,7
Rhyme: All the line use proest made out of short-vowel sounds or long-vowel sounds. Proest is a kind of half-rhyme in which the end consonant is the same, but the vowel is different though of a similar length. E.g. cap makes proest with with twp (‘stupid’).

7. Englyn Lleddfbroest (Slanted Half-rhymed Englyn)
Lines: 4
Syllable count per line: 7,7,7,7
Rhyme: All the lines use proest using the dipthongs ae, oe, wy, ei and ai.

8. Englyn Proest Gadwynog (Chained Half-rhymed Englyn)
Lines: 4
Syllable count per line: 7,7,7,7
Rhyme: Each line half-rhymes (using proest) with the next and rhymes fully with the next but one.


- 3 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. David Morley

    I don’t know if you know that I’ve just completed editing the Collected Poems of the late Geoffrey Holloway, an English poet (with Welsh roots) who must be one of the few who tried to write Welsh forms in contemporary English, including trying the Englyn. The results were collected in a Chapbook called “Percepts Without Deference”. It was he who put me on to Welsh poetry when I was 21, by lending me the Tony Conran anthology, and showing me the wonders of Welsh forms. Shall I post a few of the examples on my own blog?

    09 Mar 2007, 19:26

  2. This is very interesting to me, as I am trying to write the Welsh forms in English myself. Al;so because I know that Gwyneth Lewis likes to use Welsh forms in English and English forms in Welsh, so it is useful to get a really good idea of what she is working with. Geoffrey Holloway’s work sounds fascinating and yes, I would love to see some examples on you blog.

    12 Mar 2007, 08:57

  3. dennis

    Hi there, I find this topic quite intresesting. I first met englyns by reading Robert Graves’es White Godess. So I am a beginer in the topic, I would like to know if it is valid to use an Welsh poetry mold in a different language such as Spanish which is my native tongue. It is such an aventure trying to create a poem using a foregin poetry mold. Because the pitch, tone and speak patern in Spanish is different as in English or Welsh.
    Just wondering if you know any book that I can use as reference or maybe an Englyn anthology translated in Spanish so I can learn more about this in my language.
    Thank you. and Greetings from Mexico.

    21 Nov 2007, 01:51


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