The Book of Celtic Verse: A Treasury of Poetry, Dreams and Visions

( 2 )

Overview

The Celts have always loved words. They called their earliest bards “carpenters of song” and “people of skill,” and they established a tradition that began with the intricate magical poems of Taliesin in the sixth century AD, continued in the richly textured medieval works of Dafyff ab Gwilym and Rhys Goch and the taut nineteenth century lyrics of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and led the way into the outpouring of twentieth-century works by writers such as R.J. Stewart, Robin Williamson, and Catherine Fisher. Alongside...

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Overview

The Celts have always loved words. They called their earliest bards “carpenters of song” and “people of skill,” and they established a tradition that began with the intricate magical poems of Taliesin in the sixth century AD, continued in the richly textured medieval works of Dafyff ab Gwilym and Rhys Goch and the taut nineteenth century lyrics of Gerard Manley Hopkins, and led the way into the outpouring of twentieth-century works by writers such as R.J. Stewart, Robin Williamson, and Catherine Fisher. Alongside these are a legion of Celtic songsmiths who have carried the torch of versecraft and vision into our time.

John Matthews has chosen the finest works by these writers, and has translated many of the oldest in insightful new versions for this volume. He includes work by writers from all periods and all places in the Celtic world—Brittany, Cornwall, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland—some of which have never before been collected on a volume of this kind. His selection reflects aspects of the Celtic tradition that are unique to these people: a love of nature, courage and the rich heritage of myth, legend, magic, and the spirituality that is among the finest in the world.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781435132993
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 12/15/2010
  • Pages: 246
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

John Matthews has been a full-time writer and researcher since 1980 and has written more than eighty books on the Arthurian legends, the history of Britain and Grail studies, as well as short stories, children’s books and poetry. He has devoted much of the past forty years to the study of Arthurian traditions and myth in general. His best-known works are Pirates, which topped the New York Times bestseller list for 22 weeks in 2006, The Encyclopaedia of Celtic Wisdom, and The Winter Solstice, which won the Benjamin Franklin Award. He was the historical advisor to the Jerry Bruckheimer movie King Arthur and has appeared on the History Channel and the Discovery Channel in specials on Arthur and the Holy Grail.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 3, 2011

    Beautiful Book

    I have been carrying this book with me just about everywhere since I bought it two weeks ago. I absolutely love it. I would recommend this book to any poetry, Ireland, and folklore lovers. Well, to be honest.... I would recommend it to just about anyone. It's wonderful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 29, 2011

    Highly recommended for those who enjoy older poetry

    The Fairies

    Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen,
    We daren't go a-hunting,
    For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together,
    Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl's feather!

    Down along the rocky shore,
    Some make their home,
    They live on crispy pancakes
    Of yellow tide-foam,
    Some in the reeds
    Of the black mountain lake,
    With frogs for their watch-dogs,
    All night awake.

    High on the hilltop
    The old King sits;
    He is now so old and grey
    He's nigh lost his wits.
    With a bridge of white mist
    Columbkill he crosses,
    In his stately journeys
    From Slieveleague to Rosses;
    Or going up with music
    On cold starry nights,
    To sup with the Queen
    Of the gay Northern Lights.

    They stole little Bridget
    For seven years long;
    When she came down again
    Her friends were all gone.
    They took her lightly back,
    Between the night and morrow,
    They thought that she was fast asleep,
    But she was dead with sorrow.
    They have kept her ever since
    Deep within the lake,
    On a bed of flag-leaves,
    Watching till she wake.

    By the craggy hill-side,
    Through the mosses bare,
    They have planted thorn-trees
    For pleasure here and there.
    If any man so daring
    As dig them up in spite,
    He shall find their sharpest thorns
    In his bed at night.

    Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen,
    We daren't go a-hunting
    For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
    Tropping all together;
    Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl's feather!

    -William Allingham *1824-1889*

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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