Hello Beith! you're spot on with most of these - no surprises there!
Gwel: I guess "gweled" is to do with "seeing" or describes poetic techniques or "seeing" various things? and "gwel/wel" is cognate with Old Irish "fil" (Btw - do you use the root "wel"/"Gwel" in the same way as the Irish used the root "fil" in Filí, Filid, Fileda for seer-poets?)
Absolutely right - not used in a word for seer-poet though as far as I know. There's words like 'gweledigaeth' 'vision' though. Words for seer-poet in welsh are 'sywedydd' 'seer, soothsayer', daroganwr, 'prophet', and bardd brud 'brud-poet', of which more below.
Canu = sing (which tense?) but in the sense of to "sing poetry" ie. incant/chant etc? just as "canaid" = sings and chant/teach/incant in various compouds in Old Ir?
Verbal noun. Absolutely right on the irish cognate and uses. There are various compound nouns referring to types of poetry in W. with this element.
(ii) Past tense: does Welsh have things like s and t preterites in the past tense or had those fallen away in late mediaeval times? (eg. I was wondering if welais was a past tense of "see" eg. I saw/ he saw etc?)
Yes, it is just that. the medieval welsh verbal system is is much reduced in complexity in comparison to the OIr but the same categories are there. The vast majority of preterites are historically -s preterites, with a 3rd sing ending -as, -es, or very commonly -wys, or -ws, being edged out in the MW period by -awd, ModW -odd. Some verbs have a t-preterite, which often manifests as a -th ('aeth' 'he went', doeth 'he came', gwnaeth 'he did/made'; or as a -t when the stem ended in an -n-: 'gwant ef' 'he pierced', or 'Aneirin a'e cant', 'aneirin sang it' from gwanu and canu.) One verb, clywed, has a reduplicated preterite like irish ro-chechain - that's 'kigleu' he heard', < ki-klou-. MW also has tiny tiny traces of an absolute/conjunct distinction.
ii) prepositions: is "A" used for 'as' or 'for' or 'when' in the line "A gweled brain ar goludd" and is "ar" meaning "on" or "at" or "before"? Also <really> is i lawr same as i lár (in the middle of/centre of/ 'in' a place) eg. "in Caer Ludd?"
'a' is the conjunction 'and', ar is 'upon'. 'i lawr' is a prepositional phrase being used as a directional adverb, 'to the ground', so 'down'. But spot on, lar and llawr are exact cognates - in OIr lar is more 'floor' that 'centre', and the W preserves the older sense.
(iv) mutations: in the last words - is the word Gaer simply a lenited Caer? and is so because of effect of hyd preceding it?
Yes, quite. c--> g is welsh lenition, the mutation systems of the languages eing similar but not by any means the same.
Swrn a welais yn treisiaw,
Siwrnai drom, yn Sir Fôn draw.
Gweled yr wyf ar Galan
Gweryl yr ych, a’r gŵr i’r lan.
Cawn weled canu eilwaith,
Ceiliog yn cyfog y caith,
A gweled brain ar goludd,
A gwŷr i lawr hyd Gaer Ludd.
I saw a multitude oppressing,
a heavy journey, in yonder Anglesey.
I am seeing upon New Year's day
a something [personal name?!] of the ox, and the man [going] to the church/enclosure.
I was getting poetic vision once again,
[lit: 'I was getting a seeing of a singing a second time']
of a cockerel vomiting [?!] the [something]
and a vision of ravens feasting upon innards,
and men cast down as far as London.
Sorry Beith, I can't remember either 'caith' or 'Gweryl'! Gwilym, help!! I'm sure I've made a clust mochyn
out of that.
Also, could you translate "brudwyr" and "beirdd brud" for me? I would guess that beirdd is "bard" and maybe that brudwyr describes a "caste" or grade or community of poets?eg. seer-poets?
brudwyr - men of the 'brud', the body of legend deriving from Geoffrey of Monmouth (largely) that described the Britons' Trojan Ancestry, their loss of the entirety of Britain to the Saxons, and their eventual regaining of their lost sovereignty - hence 'brud' = 'prophecy'. Beidd brud 'poets of prophecy'.
Hope that helps! Gwilym, scream if I've messed it up...