Gareth Thomas Myfu Iolo

Awdur Gareth Thomas: Cyfieithu Myfi, Iolo i’r Gymraeg / Author Gareth Thomas: Translating I, Iolo into Welsh

In Informal/Authors: How and Why I Wrote

Mae’n ysbrydoliaeth bob amser pan mae rhywun newydd yn croesawu’r diwylliant Cymreig neu’r iaith, ac mae’r dysgwr a’r awdur Gareth Thomas wedi gwneud y ddau beth. Yn yr erthygl hon mae’n esbonio ei daith fel awdur i ni, sydd wedi ei arwain i greu’r ffuglen hanesyddol enwog, Myfi, Iolo.

It is inspiring when someone embraces Welsh culture or the language, and learner and author Gareth Thomas has done both. In this article he talks us through his journey as author, which has led to him creating the acclaimed historical fiction, I, Iolo.

Dechreuais ddysgu Cymraeg ar fy mhen blwydd yn hanner cant. Wedi amser hir yn gweithio yn Lloegr ofnais y byddwn yn colli cysylltiad â’m Cymreictod. Roedd hyn yn sbardun cryf i ddechrau ar daith hir i ddysgu a dod yn weddol rugl yn yr iaith. Yn ôl rhai ffrindiau cwrtais dwi wedi llwyddo. Bellach, dwi’n gyfforddus yn cynnal sgwrs neu ddarllen, dwi’n cymdeithasu a chyfathrebu yn y Gymraeg, dwi’n aelod brwd o Gylch Darllen Cymraeg Y Barri ac yn ‘ffan’ mawr o awduron fel Manon Steffan Ros.I started to learn Welsh on my fiftieth birthday. After a long period working in England, the fear grew of losing touch with my own Welshness. This provided the incentive to start the long journey to learn and become reasonably fluent in the language. According to some kind friends I have succeeded. I’m comfortable holding a conversation or reading. I socialise and communicate in Welsh. I’m a keen member of the Barry Welsh Readers Group and a big fan of authors like Manon Steffan Ros.
Ond pan sgwennais fy nofel gyntaf, A Welsh Dawn, Saesneg oedd iaith y llyfr. Mae iaith yn greadur cymhleth ac mae llawer mwy nag ystyr y geiriadur yn perthyn i eiriau. Heb y rheolaeth o’r pethau craff fel cywair, naws ac islais, penderfynais gadw at fy mamiaith wrth geisio sgwennu’n llenyddol.However, when I wrote my first novel, A Welsh Dawn, English was the language of the book. Language is a complex creature and there is much more to words than their dictionary meaning. Without mastery of the subtleties of register, nuance and sub-text, I decided to stick to my first language whilst trying to write.
Cefndir A Welsh Dawn oedd terfysg gwleidyddol y 1950au yng Nghymru - y frwydr rhwyg Harold Macmillan a Huw T Edwards, rhwng Aneurin Bevan a Cledwyn Hughes, stori Cyngor Cymru ac wrth gwrs, trychineb Tryweryn. Ces i gefnogaeth oddi wrth nifer o’r Cymry Cymraeg gyda’r nofel, gan gynnwys Dafydd Wigley. Roedd Dafydd yn hael gyda’i amser wrth i ni drafod cyfnod pwysig ac arwyddocaol yn hanes modern Cymru ond roedd un peth oedd yn ei boeni e. Mynnodd y dylai’r nofel wedi ymddangos yn y Gymraeg cyn y fersiwn Saesneg. Dyw llyfrau byth yn cael ei cyhoeddi yn y Gymraeg ar ôl dod allan yn Saesneg, meddai fe. Roedd Dafydd Wigley yn llygad ei le. Cafodd A Welsh Dawn gwerthiant go sylweddol ymysg y Cymry Cymraeg ac fe danseiliwyd unrhyw obaith o gyfieithiad i’w dilyn.The background of A Welsh Dawn was the turbulence of Welsh Politics in the 1950s: the battle between Huw T Edwards, between Aneurin Bevan and Cledwyn Hughes, the story of the Council for Wales and of course the disaster of Tryweryn. I had the help of many Welsh speakers including Dafydd Wigley. Dafydd was generous with his time whilst we discussed an import and significant period in modern Welsh politics. But one thing worried him. He felt that the book should first have appeared in Welsh. He insisted that books that appear first in English never reappear in Welsh. He was right. A Welsh Dawn achieved good sales amongst Welsh speaking readers which undermined any chance of a translation to follow.
Pedair blynedd yn ddiweddarach ac mae llyfr newydd gen i sef Myfi, Iolo nofel hanesyddol yn dilyn ôl traed Iolo Morganwg - wedi ei sgwennu yn Saesneg fel o’r blaen. Ac fel o’r blaen yn trafod testun sydd yn haeddu cael ymddangosiad yn y Gymraeg. Y tro ma’ gofynnais i hen hen ffrind tasai hi’n fodlon gweithio ar gyfieithiad. Cymraes Cymraeg ei hiaith yw Shân Mererid ac mae ganddi hi Gymraeg naturiol a bywiog dwi wastad wedi edmygu a mwynhau. I fy mawr syndod - derbyniodd y gwahoddiad. Ond tybed faint o weithiau iddi ddifaru ei phenderfyniad? Os nad yw fy Nghymraeg yn ddigon da i gyflawni cyfieithiad ar fy mhen fy hun roedd mwy ‘na digon i fi amharu ar ei gwaith hi drwy’r proses. Byddwn wedi cael fy haeddiant tasai hi wedi dweud wrtha ble i roi fy llyfr! Four years later and I have a new book, that is I, Iolo, a historical novel following in the footsteps of Iolo Morganwg – written in English as before. As before it dealt with a subject which deserved a Welsh language edition. This time I asked a very old friend if she would be willing to work on a translation. Shân Mererid is a first-language Welsh speaker whose natural and lively Welsh I have always enjoyed. To my great surprise she accepted the invitation. I wonder how many times she regretted the decision. Even if my Welsh was not good enough for me to complete the translation myself, it was more than enough for me to interfere with her work throughout the process. It would have served me right had she had told me where to shove my book!
Ond ro’n i’n wir fwynhau ymyrryd. Ro’n i’n falch o gael cipolwg ar y cymhlethdod cyfieithu o Saesneg i’r Gymraeg. Ces i hwyl fawr drio dehongli beth oedd y geiriau oedd yn mynegi ystyr a naws y gwreiddiol. Ces i fy synnu sut oedd rhai tudalennau yn gweithio yn well yn y Gymraeg a rhai eraill ddim. Cefais fy swyno sut oedd y darnau ‘breuddwydiol’ dan ddylanwad lodnwm yn fwy telynegol yn y Gymraeg ac, ar y llaw arall, sut roedd rhai o’r trosiadau hir ond yn addas yn y Saesneg. Wedi i Lefi Gruffudd dderbyn y llyfr am gyhoeddiad, ces i’r fraint o weithio ar y testun gydag Alun Jones, prif olygydd Cymraeg Y Lolfa - golygydd chwedlonol ymysg golygyddion. Gwyliais a dilynais Alun tra oedd e’n gwneud y pethau arferol i sicrhau safon yr iaith, ac wedyn - llawer llawer mwy i baratoi’r llyfr i’r wasg. Fe oedd yn gyfrifol am dafodiaith ddeheuol y llyfr a modd roedd hwn yn amrywio o gymeriad i gymeriad. Awgrymodd ychwanegu darnau, fel llythyron Peggy, byddai’n gwneud y fersiwn Cymraeg yn wahanol a byddai’n defnyddio manteision yr iaith.But I loved interfering. I was glad to have a glimpse of the complexities of translation from English to Welsh. I was fascinated by the choices of words that would best express both the meaning and the feel of the original. I was surprised how certain passages worked better in Welsh and some didn’t. I was delighted how the ‘dream’ sequences under the influence of Laudanum gained a lyrical quality in Welsh and, on the other hand, how some of the extended metaphors only worked in the English version. After Lefi Gruffudd accepted the book for publication, I had the privilege of working with Alun Jones, the principal Welsh language editor of Y lolfa and a legend amongst editors. I watched and followed Alun whilst he did the usual things an editor might do to ensure the quality of the language, and then - much, much more to prepare the book for publication. He was responsible for giving the text its south Wales dialect and of the subtle variations in the speech of individual characters. He suggested introducing new material, such as the Peggy letters which exploited the potential of the Welsh and differentiated the two versions.
Dw i’n cydnabod pa mor anarferol yw hi i gael cymaint o gyd-weithio ar un gyfrol ond roedd hynny yn hollol addas yn yr achos yma.Profiad y darllenwr yw’r blaenoriaeth felly ro’n i wrth fy modd i glywed adolygiad Carl Davies ar raglen Radio Cymru, Sillf Llyfrau cyn y Nadolig:
‘Mae’r sgwennu’n wych. Oni bai ‘mod i’n gwybod o flaen llaw ‘sŵn i byth erioed wedi dychmygu mai yn Saesneg cafodd y nofel ei ‘sgwennu i ddechrau - byth, byth.’
I acknowledge how unusual it is to have this degree of co-working in one volume but it was wholly appropriate in this case. The reader’s experience is the priority. Thus I was delighted to hear the Carl Davies review on the Radio Cymru programme, Bookshelf, before Christmas:
‘The writing is great. If it wasn’t that I knew before hand, I would never ever have imagined that the book was first written in English – never, never.’
Diolch i egni Shân ac i sgiliau a phrofiad Alun mae Iolo Morganwg wedi cael ei haeddiant.Thanks to Shân’s energy and Alun’s skill and experience Iolo Morganwg has been well served.
I mi roedd y profiad o ail-greu fel gweld adeilad ro’n i wedi cynllunio ac adeiladu yn cael ei ail greu ond gan ddefnyddio briciau iaith gwahanol - ac wrth gwrs, dyw briciau iaith ddim yr un siâp na lliw mewn iaith arall. Felly beth sydd wedi ymddangos yw llyfr gwahanol ac unigryw - ond yr un peth! To me the experience of re-creating was like seeing a building I had already designed and constructed being rebuilt but using bricks of a different language, and of course, language bricks are different shapes and colours in another language. So what has resulted is a different, unique book – but just the same!

Cylfwyno’r darn o’r llyfr / Introducing an extract from the book

Dyma ddarn o ddechrau’r nofel. Dw i wedi dewis y darn hwn am sawl rheswm. Dyma’r tro gyntaf i ni gwrdd â Peggy a ddaeth yn wraig iddo fe ac mae stori eu perthynas yn rhedeg trwy’r llyfr – yn gryf, tymhestlog, stormus ond llawn cariad.Here is an excerpt from early on in the novel. I’ve chosen this for a number of reasons. This is the first time we meet Peggy, his future wife. The story of their relationship runs through the book – strong, tempestuous, stormy and loving.Iolo Morgannwg portrait

Portrait of Iolo Morgannwg
Yn ail, rydym yn dysgu am ei gefndir llenyddol yn Gymraeg a Saesneg. Dylanwad ei fam oedd ei wybodaeth gyfun o Shakespeare. Ymysg defnydd darllen yr aelwyd oedd Dafydd ap Gwilym, Milton, Pope, a, hyd yn oed, ambell gopi o’r Tatler a‘r Spectator.Secondly, we learn of his literary background in Welsh and English. His mother was responsible for his comprehensive knowledge of Shakespeare. Amongst the reading material of the home were Dafydd ap Gwilym, Milton, Pope, and even occasional copies of Tatler and The Spectator.
Yn drydydd, mae Peggy yn gofyn cwestiwn fydd un rhywun sydd â diddordeb yn Iolo wedi ei ystyried - Pwy oedd ef mewn gwirionedd? Roedd sawl Iolo: saer maen, ysgolhaig hunan-ddysgiedig, bardd, emynydd, gwleidydd, gwladgarwr, chwyldroadwr, derwydd, dyn busnes aflwyddiannus, ymgyrchydd dros hawliau dynol, caethwas cyffuriau, arloeswr a chyflawnwr y ffugiad llenyddol fwyaf hanes Ewrop. Newidiodd ei enw drosodd a throsodd – a’i ddelwedd o’i hun dangosodd i’r byd. Mae Peggy yn cynnig cipolwg i ni o beth sydd i ddod pan mae'n dweud:Thirdly, I cause Peggy to ask a question that troubles anyone with an interest in Iolo - Who was he in truth? There were many Iolos: stone mason, self-educated scholar, bard, hymnist, politician, patriot, revolutionary, druid, unsuccessful business man, campaigner for human rights and the perpetrator of the biggest literary forgery in the history of Europe. He changed his name repeatedly – and the image of himself he presented to the world. Peggy gives us a glimpse of what is to come when she says:
‘Do’s neb yn siŵr ai ti wyt ti, neu dy fod ti’n rhywun arall hanner yr amser. Pwy wyt ti nawr? Wyt ti’n gw’bod dy hunan?’‘That’s typical. No one ever knows if you are being you or someone else and even then, who it is that you’re pretending to be this time. Do you know who you are?’
‘Efalle ddim!’‘Probably not!’

Darn o’r llyfr: “Un da am drin geiriau” / Extract from the book: “Good with words”

Rwy’n cusanu Peggy Roberts ar yr hewl fach wrth yr eglwys. Mae hi’n cusanu’n llawn teimlad ac yn wir yn llawer gwell na Gwen Rees. Er bod Gwen hefyd yn gadael i fi ei chusanu, eto i gyd mae hi’n dala’i chorff yn stiff fel polyn. Ond mae ’na angerdd yng nghusanau Peggy wrth iddi ymateb yn eiddgar. Rwy’n gwasgu ei bron a’i thynnu yn fy erbyn ac mae hithe’n rhoi ei breichiau am fy ngwddwg. Ond er ’mod i’n gwbod ei bod hi’n mwynhau, caf fy ngwthio bant:
I am kissing Peggy Roberts in the lane by the church. She kisses passionately, better than Gwen Rees. Gwen lets me kiss her but she remains stiff and unresponsive whereas there’s a sensuality to Peggy. She responds with fervour. I squeeze her breast and pull her tighter against me. She wraps her arms round my neck. I can feel her body wanting more but instead she looks to her right and pushes me away protesting:
‘Paid Ned, efalle bydd pobol yn ein gweld ni.’'Stop Ned, what if someone was to see us?’
Ceisiaf fy ngore i’w pherswadio hi drwy ddweud ein bod yng nghysgod yr ywen ac na fydd neb yn ein gweld, ond heb ddim lwc.I tell her that, hidden behind this yew tree, we are well away from the crowd, but she is not convinced.
‘Mae Mam a Dat draw fan ’na yn siarad â’r ficer. Beth os bydden nhw’n dod lawr y rhiw ffordd hyn?’‘My Mam and Tada are just round the corner talking to the rector outside the church. If they were to come down this lane…’
‘Pam dylien nhw ddod?’‘Why would they?’
‘I chwilio amdana i, dyna pam!'‘Looking for me, that’s what!’
Gafaelaf ynddi’n dynn unwaith eto a hithau’n esgus tynnu’n ôl. Rydyn ni’n cusanu hyd yn oed yn fwy awchus cyn iddi ryddhau ei hunan unwaith eto gan chwerthin yn bleserus.I pull her to me and kiss her again holding her firmly in my arms whilst she pretends to struggle. We kiss more passionately than the last time before she pulls away again, laughing and smiling and giggling with pleasure.
‘Ned, gwranda. Mae Mam yn bendant dy fod ti’n un gwyllt fel ma hi.’‘Ned, I mean it. My Mam already thinks that you’re a wild one.’
‘Pam? Beth ma hi’n weud amdana i?’‘Why? What does she say?’
Edrych arna i gan esgus bod yn ddiniwed mae Peggy.Peggy pauses looking up at me, playing the personification of maidenly virtue.
‘Dy fod ti’n rhy llawn o eiriau ac yn rhy barod i dwyllo merched â’r fath gyfaredd; dy fod yn fath o berson fydde’n cymryd mantes ar ferch ddiniwed fel fi. Addo’r byd ond wedyn diengyd yn hytrach na derbyn unrhyw gyfrifoldeb.’‘That you’re too full of words and too ready with the charm as can turn a young girl’s head – here today, gone tomorrow. The sort who will take advantage of a poor girl’s innocence. Promise the world but off like a hare when you’re asked to live up to your promises.’
‘Wyt ti’n credu’r fath beth?’‘Do you believe that?’
Cawn saib a hithau’n esgus meddwl.She pretends to think hard.
‘Dwi ddim yn siŵr hyd yn hyn,’ meddai’n ddiniwed ac yn bryfoclyd yr un pryd. ‘Not sure.’ This answer is coy and coquettish at the same time.
‘Dyw Mam ddim yn rhy hoff o’r farddoniaeth rwyt ti’n ’i sgrifennu i fi.’‘She doesn’t like the poems you write me.’
‘Dwyt ti ddim wedi’u dangos nhw i dy Fam!’‘You showed them to your Mum!’
‘Wrth gwrs, ’mod i. Rwy’n gweud popeth wrth Mam fel y dyle pob merch dda. Wel, bron popeth,’ meddai a’i llygaid yn fflachio yn llawn drygioni.‘Of course! I tell my Mam everything, like a good girl should. Well nearly everything.’ Her eyes flame with naughtiness, teasing with every word and every look.
‘Beth o’dd o’i le ar fy marddonieth i, yn ôl dy fam?’‘And what did she find wrong with my poem?’
Wel, fe geson ni broblem fach wrth chwilio pwy oedd Aphrodite.’ ‘Well, we all had problems finding out who Aphrodite was.’
‘Duwies prydferthwch Groeg.’‘Greek goddess of beauty.’
‘Rwy’n gw’bod ’ny nawr. Fe ddywedodd Felicity wrtha i. Wedyn roedd y llinell ‘Agorid y wawr ar ei grudd.’ Beth yn y byd mae’n ’i feddwl? Ydi e’n awgrymu bod ’y moche i’n goch fel boche morwyn ffarm gryf?’‘I know that now. Felicity told me. Then there was the line ‘Agorid y wawr ar ei grudd’. What does that mean? That I’m red and blotchy like a rough farm girl?’
Ceisiaf ei chusanu unwaith yn rhagor, ond bant â hi gan frasgamu lawr y rhiw a finnau fel rhyw gi ar wres yn brasgamu ar ei hôl hi.I try to kiss her again but she ducks away and starts to walk down the lane. I follow as if on a lead.
‘Yn ôl Mam, nid poeni am gynnwys y gân o’dd hi, ond yn hytrach nad yw’n bosibl ymddiried mewn bachgen sy’n ysgrifennu barddonieth fel ’na i ferched. Dyna pam ma hi’n rhybuddio merched rhag bechgyn haerllug yn meddwl am ddim byd ond am serch a rhyw.’‘My Mam’s biggest complaint wasn’t what was in the poem. She thinks that writing poetry to a girl is a sure sign that the boy’s not to be trusted. Of a young man with sin on his mind.’
‘Nes i ddim ’i sgrifennu fe i dy fam!’‘I didn’t write that poem to your mother!’
‘Naddo, gobeitho!’ ‘I should hope not.’
Meddyliodd am eiliad cyn holi’n bryfoclyd, She thinks for a moment and with a mischievous grin adds,
‘I bwy sgrifennest ti’r gân yn wreiddiol ’te?’‘But who did you write it for – originally?’
Caf ofon am funud wrth feddwl ei bod hi’n bwysig cofio bod merched yn clebran â’i gilydd. Mae fy ateb yn llawn dicter ffug.I panic slightly. It’s important to remember that girls do talk to each other. I act outraged.
‘Peggy, paid â bod mor greulon.’Peggy, how could you? That’s cruel.’
‘Beth am Gwen Rees? Bydde hi’n arfer cario un o dy ganeuon di am oes Adda a bydde’n rhaid i ni wrando arni hi’n ’i darllen i ni dro ar ôl tro’n dragwyddol.’‘What about Gwen Rees? She carried a love poem of yours around for ages. We all had to listen to it over and over.’
‘O dim ond rhigwm bach o’dd hwnnw, dim byd tebyg i’r un a sgrifennes i ti.’‘A piece of doggerel. Nothing like the poem I wrote to you.’
Mae’n aros, rhoi ei breichiau am fy ysgwyddau gan edrych yn syth i mewn i’m llygaid. She stops, slips her arms round my neck and looks me in the eyes.
‘Wel, dw i ddim yn gwbod a ydw i’n neud camgymeriad mawr wrth ddala i wrando ar dy eirie mowr di, Edward Williams.’‘Well I don’t know if I’m making a big mistake having anything to do with you, Edward Williams.’
Rwy’n sibrwd yn ei chlust:I whisper to her:
‘Pam lai? Rwy’n un gwerth ’i fachu. Cofia ’mod i’n grefftwr da a…’
Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love’.
‘Why ever not? I’m a good catch I’d say - a skilled tradesman – and…
Doubt thou the stars are fire;
Doubt that the sun doth move;
Doubt truth to be a liar;
But never doubt I love’.
Mae’n amlwg bod hynny wedi gwneud argraff arni hi.She looks impressed.
‘Ti sgrifennodd hwnna?’ ‘Did you write that?’
Na, Shakespeare naeth- Hamlet.’‘No, that’s Shakespeare- Hamlet. ‘
Mae’n ysgwyd ei phen mewn anghrediniaeth.She shakes her head in disbelief.
‘Do’s neb yn siŵr ai ti wyt ti, neu dy fod ti’n rhywun arall hanner yr amser. Pwy wyt ti nawr? Wyt ti’n gw’bod dy hunan?’‘That’s typical. No one ever knows if you are being you or someone else and even then, who it is that you’re pretending to be this time. Do you know who you are?’
‘Efalle ddim!’‘Probably not!'

I mi roedd y profiad o ail-greu fel gweld adeilad ro’n i wedi cynllunio ac adeiladu yn cael ei ail greu ond gan ddefnyddio briciau iaith gwahanol.

Mae'r llyfr Myfi, Iolo (fersiwn Cymraeg) ar gael o Y Lolfa:

Gareth Thomas Myfi, Iolo

I, Iolo (English version) is available from Y Lolfa:

Gareth Thomas I Iolo

Available as a Kindle ebook

Mae mwy o fewnwelediad ar flog Y Lolfa / There is more insight on Y Lolfa’s blog: ylolfa.wordpress.com

Lawrlwythwch yr erthygl fel PDF / Download the article as PDF


Mwy o erthyglau gan Gareth ar parallel.cymru: / More articles by Gareth on parallel.cymru:

Cipolwg ar Iolo Morgannwg

Gareth Thomas- Iolo a'r Eisteddfod