[Spellyans] 'As white as snow, as white as milk' in Cornish

Janice Lobb janicelobb at gmail.com
Thu Jun 30 08:17:01 IST 2016


If <peddn du> is used together with <blew mellen>  the girl can't be a
brunette as well as a blonde, so <peddn du> must obviously have an extra
meaning. Couldn't she have a tanned face? Was that unfashionable at the
time?

Jan

On Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 5:19 PM, Jon Mills <j.mills at email.com> wrote:

> There is a third version in Tonkin MSS B, f.207.g, which uses 'Peddn du'
> throughout. The first verse runs,
>
>                      Pelea era Why moaz, Moaz fettow Teag,
>                      Gen Agaz Peddn du, ha agaz Blew mellen?
>                      Moaz tha'n Venton, Sarra Weage,
>                      Rag Delkiow Sevi Gŵra Muzi Teag.
> Ol an gwella,
> Jon
> *Sent:* Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 5:05 PM
> *From:* "Jon Mills" <j.mills at email.com>
> *To:* spellyans at kernowek.net
>
> *Subject:* Re: [Spellyans] 'As white as snow, as white as milk' in Cornish
> There are two versions of Delkiow Sevi. The first of these is to be found
> in the Gwavas MSS, the first verse of which runs,
>  Pelea era why moaz, moes fettow teag,
>  Gen ackas pedden dew ha ackas blew mellen?
>  Moas than ventan, sarra weage,
>  Rag Delkiow seue gwra moessa teag.
> The second of these is to be found in Pryce's (1790) Archaeologia
> Cornu-Britannica, the first verse of which runs,
> Pelea era why moaz, moz, fettow, teag,
> Gen agaz bedgeth gwin, ha agaz blew mellyn ?
> Mi a moaz tha'n venton, sarra wheag,
> Rag delkiow sevi gwra muzi teag.
> 'Pedden dew' presumably cannot mean 'dark hair' in this context, as one's
> hair cannot be simultaneously 'dark' and 'fair'. Strawberry leaves are said
> to have cosmetic properties. "Cut a strawberry in half and rub it all over
> your face immediately after washing with the leaf astringent. This will
> whiten the skin" (
> http://www.findingzest.com/4-uses-for-strawberry-leaves.html ). I assume,
> that in the first version, 'pedden dew' refers to a 'dark complexion', for
> which she requires strawberry leaves in order to make her
> complexion fairer. In the second version, she has her 'bedgeth gwin'
> because she is in the habit of using strawberry leaves and is going to get
> more.
>
> It is true that in Pryce's version, 'bedgeth gwin' is replaced in the
> final verse by 'pedn du'. Is this for the reasons that Ray suggests? Or is
> it because a copiest has confused the two versions?
> Ol an gwella,
> Jon
>
> *Sent:* Wednesday, June 29, 2016 at 1:17 PM
> *From:* "Nicholas Williams" <njawilliams at gmail.com>
> *To:* "Standard Cornish discussion list" <spellyans at kernowek.net>
> *Subject:* Re: [Spellyans] 'As white as snow, as white as milk' in Cornish
> I don’t recall your having mentioned this to me.
>
> In the song the girl has
> bedgeth gwin
> blew mellen
> pedn du.
>
> There is certainly a crux here.
> Bedgeth gwin is most likely to mean ‘pale face’.
> Blew mellen can only mean ‘fair hair’.
>
> Pedn du would naturally mean ‘dark hair’, in the same way that cloigeann
> dubh in Irish means ‘dark hair’.
>
> I am not convinced by your suggestion, Ray.
>
> Nicholas
>
>
> On 29 Jun 2016, at 11:55, Ray Chubb <ray at spyrys.org> wrote:
>
> I have put this point to Nicholas in the past but he didn't agree. It
> would be interesting to see what the rest of you think.
>
> In the song 'Delkiow Sevi' the maid in question has a 'bedgeth gwin' until
> the end of the song where she succumbs to the man's advances when she has a
> 'pedn du'. Surely 'bejeth gwynn' in this instance means a virtuous face and
> when she has a 'penn du' at the end of the song she has a dark i.e. immoral
> head.
>
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