AN DIWETTHA GERYOW
DOLLI PENNTRETH
THE LAST WORDS OF
DOLLY PENTREATH
Pol Hodgetrans. Pol Hodge (from Cornish)
Kernewek yw marow,
'Long live the King's English!'

- flogh an yeth predennek
neb a rosyas an ynysow ma
kyns gwydhel, sows ha norman

- an vowes marthus teg
neb a ganas mar hweg
an ordinale ha lies gwari
dres ugens plen an gwari,

re worfennas hy bywnans
omma war dhiwweus minvlewys
a'n korf pysk-flerys ma.

Doktour Borlase,
Doktour Williams,
Doktour Payton,
Na tus a vedhygieth,
ow profya yeghes yethek,
mes bryni an marowji
neb a woel yn lowen
war an byw a davosow marow.

Ytho yth esa kevywi-mernans
rag agan Dolli goth ni
may hwrug gerennow sowsnek
dasseni a-dro hy farledh.

Ha war hy krowji sempel,
yma peswardhek kansvlydhen
a gowsoryon dre dhegvilyow
ow leva agan kenedhlekter
byghanhes dhe ...

neb plakk kawgh.

Hag arta my ow sevel,
nag yn Mousehole po Mowssel
mes an dre gernewek - Porthynys,
my a red war an legh,
hag estren yw an yeth ...

'Dolly Pentreath died 1777.
The last person to speak Cornish.'

Bramm an gath!
Cornish is dead,
'Long live the King's English!'

- the child of British language
who roamed these isles
before Gael, Saxon and Norman

- the marvellously fine maid
who sang so sweet
the Ordinalia and lots of plays
through twenty 'plen an gwari',

has finished her life
here on the moustached lips
of this fish-stinking corpse.

Doctor Borlase
Doctor Williams
Doctor Payton
Not men of medicine
proffering linguistic health
but crows of the mortuary
who feast happily
on the flesh of dead languages.

So there was a party
for our old Dolly
where mere words of English
echoed around her parlour.

And on her simple cottage,
there are fourteen centuries
of speakers by the ten thousand
voicing our nationhood
reduced to ...

some shitty plaque.

As again I stand,
not in Mousehole or Mowsell
but the Cornish village Porthynys,
I read the slate
and the language is foreign ...

'Dolly Pentreath died 1777
The last person to speak Cornish.'

Fart of the cat!

Copyright © Pol Hodge 1996 - publ. Kowethas an Yeth Kernewek Fentenwynn


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