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[The Death of Hoel]

[The Death of Hoel]


From Aneurin, Monarch of the Bards,
extracted from the Gododin

1 Had I but the torrent's might,
2 With headlong rage and wild affright
3 Upon Deira's squadrons hurled,
4 To rush and sweep them from the world!

5 Too, too secure in youthful pride,
6 By them my friend, my Hoel, died,
7 Great Cian's son: of Madoc old
8 He asked no heaps of hoarded gold;
9 Alone in nature's wealth arrayed,
10 He asked and had the lovely maid.

11 To Cattraeth's vale in glittering row
12 Twice two hundred warriors go;
13 Every warrior's manly neck
14 Chains of regal honour deck,
15 Wreathed in many a golden link:
16 From the golden cup they drink
17 Nectar, that the bees produce,
18 Or the grape's ecstatic juice.
19 Flushed with mirth and hope they burn:
20 But none from Cattraeth's vale return,
21 Save Aeron brave and Conan strong,
22 (Bursting through the bloody throng)
23 And I, the meanest of them all,
24 That live to weep and sing their fall.

Expanding the poem lines (+) shows the results of a computationally facilitated analysis of the text. These results should be considered as a basis for deeper interpretative enquiry such as can be found in the notes and queries.

0 [The Death of Hoel]

Metrical notation:  +-|+-|+-|+/
Metrical foot type:  trochaic (+-)
Metrical foot number:  tetrameter (4 feet) (catalectic)
Rhyme scheme:  aa
Rhyme (stanza position):  pair (aabb)
Syllable pattern:  7
Stanza:  couplet (2 lines)

Notation symbols: | (foot boundary), || (caesura), / (metrical line boundary), + (metrically prominent), - (metrically non-prominent)


From Aneurin, Monarch of the Bards,
extracted from the Gododin

1 Had I but the torrent's might,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  might   |   Rhyme sound:  /aɪt/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): I/might /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): but/torrent's/might /t/

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2 With headlong rage and wild affright    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  affright   |   Rhyme sound:  /aɪt/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): wild/affright /aɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): With/wild /w/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): headlong/wild /l/

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3 Upon Deira's squadrons hurled,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  hurled   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɜːld/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Upon/squadrons /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Deïra's/squadrons /d/

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4 To rush and sweep them from the world!    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  world   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɜːld/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  consonance (phonological): them/from /m/

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5 Too, too secure in youthful pride,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  pride   |   Rhyme sound:  /aɪd/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Too/too/youthful /uː/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): secure/in /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Too/too /t/
Figure:  epizeuxis (morphological): Too/too
Figure:  diacope (morphological): Too/too

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6 By them my friend, my Hoel, died,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  died   |   Rhyme sound:  /aɪd/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): my/my /m/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): By/my/my/died /aɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): them/friend /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): them/my/my /m/
Figure:  diacope (morphological): my/my

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7 Great Cian's son: of Madoc old    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  old   |   Rhyme sound:  /əʊld/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Cian's/son /n/

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8 He asked no heaps of hoarded gold;    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  gold   |   Rhyme sound:  /əʊld/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): He/heaps/hoarded /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): He/heaps /iː/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): no/gold /əʊ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): He/heaps/hoarded /h/

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9 Alone in nature's wealth arrayed,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  arrayed   |   Rhyme sound:  /eɪd/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Alone/arrayed /ə/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): nature's/arrayed /eɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Alone/wealth /l/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Alone/in/nature's /n/

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10 He asked and had the lovely maid.    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  maid   |   Rhyme sound:  /eɪd/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): He/had /h/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): and/had /æ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): He/had /h/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): had/maid /d/

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11 To Cattraeth's vale in glittering row    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  row   |   Rhyme sound:  /əʊ/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): in/glittering /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Cattraeth's/glittering /t/

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12 Twice two hundred warriors go;    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  go   |   Rhyme sound:  /əʊ/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Twice/two /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Twice/two /t/

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13 Every warrior's manly neck    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  neck   |   Rhyme sound:  /ek/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Every/neck /e/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): manly/neck /n/

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14 Chains of regal honour deck,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  deck   |   Rhyme sound:  /ek/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): of/honour /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Chains/honour /n/

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15 Wreathed in many a golden link:    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  link   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɪŋk/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): in/link /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): in/many /n/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): golden/link /l/

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16 From the golden cup they drink    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  drink   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɪŋk/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7

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17 Nectar, that the bees produce,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  produce   |   Rhyme sound:  /uːs/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7

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18 Or the grape's ecstatic juice.    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  juice   |   Rhyme sound:  /uːs/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  consonance (phonological): ecstatic/juice /s/

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19 Flushed with mirth and hope they burn:    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  burn   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɜːn/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): mirth/burn /ɜː/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): with/they /ð/

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20 But none from Cattraeth's vale return,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  return   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɜːn/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  assonance (phonological): But/none /ʌ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): But/Cattraeth's/return /t/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): none/return /n/

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21 Save Aeron brave and Conan strong,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  strong   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɒŋ/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Save/strong /s/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Save/brave /eɪ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): Conan/strong /ɒ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Save/brave /v/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Save/strong /s/

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22 (Bursting through the bloody throng)    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  throng   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɒŋ/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): Bursting/bloody /b/
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): through/throng /θ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): Bursting/bloody /b/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): through/throng /θ/

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23 And I, the meanest of them all,    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  all   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɔːl/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  consonance (phonological): meanest/them /m/

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24 That live to weep and sing their fall.    
Rhyme:  aa   |   Rhyme word(s):  fall   |   Rhyme sound:  /ɔːl/   |   Rhyme (line position):  end
Metre:  +-|+-|+-|+/   |   Syllables:  7
Figure:  alliteration (phonological): That/their /ð/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): That/and /æ/
Figure:  assonance (phonological): live/sing /ɪ/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): That/their /ð/
Figure:  consonance (phonological): live/fall /l/

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Expanding the poem lines (+) shows notes and queries taken from various critical editions of Gray's works, as well as those contributed by users of the Archive. There are 1 textual and 7 explanatory notes/queries.

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0 [The Death of Hoel] 1 Explanatory, 1 Textual

Title/Paratext] "This and the "Imitations from [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"This and the "Imitations from the Welsh" were probably written about the same time, 1764, as the "Triumphs of Owen," and inspired, like it, by Evans' "Specimens of the Welsh Poetry."
    Gray's heading to this in the Pembroke MSS. is "From Aneurin, Monarch of the Bards, extracted from the Gododin.""

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 260-261.

Title/Paratext] "The original Welsh is by [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"The original Welsh is by Aneurin, who flourished about the time of Taliessin, A.D. 570. Gray's version is from the Latin translation in Evans' "Specimens."
    "Aneurin with the flowing Muse, King of Bards, brother to Gildas Albanius the historian, lived under Mynyddawg of Edinburgh, a prince of the North, whose Eurdorchogion, or warriors wearing the golden torques, 363 in number, were all slain, except Aneurin and two others, in a battle with the Saxons at Cattraeth, on the eastern coast of Yorkshire. His 'Gododin,' a heroic poem written on that event, is perhaps the oldest and noblest production of that age."—Jones, Relics."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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From Aneurin, Monarch of the Bards,
extracted from the Gododin

1 Had I but the torrent's might,
2 With headlong rage and wild affright
3 Upon Deira's squadrons hurled, 1 Explanatory

3.2 Deira's] ""The kingdom of Deïra included [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

""The kingdom of Deïra included the counties of Yorkshire, Durham, Lancashire, Westmoreland, and Cumberland."—Jones, Relics."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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4 To rush and sweep them from the world!

5 Too, too secure in youthful pride,
6 By them my friend, my Hoel, died,
7 Great Cian's son: of Madoc old
8 He asked no heaps of hoarded gold;
9 Alone in nature's wealth arrayed,
10 He asked and had the lovely maid.

11 To Cattraeth's vale in glittering row 1 Explanatory

11.2 Cattraeth's] "Catterick, in the valley of [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"Catterick, in the valley of the Swale, near Richmond, in Yorkshire."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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12 Twice two hundred warriors go; 1 Explanatory

12.1-3 Twice ... hundred] "Gray gives the number in [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"Gray gives the number in round numbers to suit his verse; in the Latin it is "tricenti et sexaginta tres," 363."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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13 Every warrior's manly neck
14 Chains of regal honour deck, 1 Explanatory

14.1-4 Chains ... honour] "Collars of gold were badges [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"Collars of gold were badges of distinction amongst Keltic nations."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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15 Wreathed in many a golden link:
16 From the golden cup they drink 1 Explanatory

16.1 - 18.5 From ... juice.] "These three lines are a [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"These three lines are a rather unnecessary expansion, in so short a piece, of three words in the Latin,—"nimio potu madidi," which might have been translated by "flushed with wine," as line 19 also is not in the original."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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17 Nectar, that the bees produce, 1 Explanatory

16.1 - 18.5 From ... juice.] "These three lines are a [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"These three lines are a rather unnecessary expansion, in so short a piece, of three words in the Latin,—"nimio potu madidi," which might have been translated by "flushed with wine," as line 19 also is not in the original."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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18 Or the grape's ecstatic juice. 1 Explanatory

16.1 - 18.5 From ... juice.] "These three lines are a [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"These three lines are a rather unnecessary expansion, in so short a piece, of three words in the Latin,—"nimio potu madidi," which might have been translated by "flushed with wine," as line 19 also is not in the original."

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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19 Flushed with mirth and hope they burn:
20 But none from Cattraeth's vale return,
21 Save Aeron brave and Conan strong,
22 (Bursting through the bloody throng)
23 And I, the meanest of them all, 1 Explanatory

23.1-2 And I,] "It should be me, "save [...]" J. Bradshaw, 1891.

"It should be me, "save me"; but I sounds more emphatic here; the Latin is:—"Non evasere nisi tres, Acron et Conanus, et egomet ipse." Cf. a similar license in "Paradise Lost," vi. 900:—

"Of those too high aspiring, who rebelled
With Satan,—he, who envies now thy state.""

The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891, 261.

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24 That live to weep and sing their fall.

Works cited

  • The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray: English and Latin. Edited with an introduction, life, notes and a bibliography by John Bradshaw. The Aldine edition of the British poets series. London: George Bell and sons, 1891.

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Spelling has been modernized throughout, except in case of conscious archaisms. Contractions, italics and initial capitalization have been largely eliminated, except where of real import. Obvious errors have been silently corrected, punctuation has been supplied. The editor would like to express his gratitude to the library staff of the Göttingen State and University Library (SUB Göttingen) for their invaluable assistance.

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Editions in the Digital Library

  • 1773: Poems by Mr. Gray. Edinburgh, 1773.
  • 1775: The Poems of Mr. Gray. To which are prefixed Memoirs of his Life and Writings by W[illiam]. Mason. York, 1775.
  • 1775: Poems by Mr. Gray. A new edition Edinburgh, 1775.
  • 1775: Poems by Mr. Gray. Dublin, 1775.
  • 1776: Poems by Mr. Gray. A new edition London, 1776.
  • 1777: Letter to W. Mason, A.M. by John Murray. London, 1777.
  • 1782: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray. Edinburg, 1782.
  • 1798: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray. London, 1798.
  • 1799: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray. London, [1799].
  • 1799: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray, LL.B. London, 1799.
  • 1800: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray, LL.B. London, 1800.
  • 1800: The Poems of Gray. A new edition. London, 1800.
  • 1805: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray. London, 1805.
  • 1814: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray. London, 1814.
  • 1814: The Works of Thomas Gray, Vol. I. Ed. Thomas James Mathias. London, 1814.
  • 1816: The Works of Thomas Gray, Vol. I. Ed. John Mitford. London, 1816.
  • 1826: The Poetical Works of Thomas Gray. London, 1826.
  • 1836: The Works of Thomas Gray, Volume I. Ed. John Mitford. London, 1836.