The Whole Welsh Works of Winston

The Whole Welsh Works of Winston

Welsh Rarebits

It was sup­pos­ed­ly Blaise Pas­cal (not Win­ston Churchill) who said he was going to give a long speech because he hadn’t the time to pre­pare a short one. I have an idea for a short speech that will take no time at all: The Whole Welsh Works of Winston.

I was actu­al­ly going to use this as an intro to a longer talk at Hills­dale Col­lege lat­er this month. We decid­ed it was too obscure to mat­ter to most lis­ten­ers. It might even bore them, except for any Welsh in the audi­ence. (Who would cer­tain­ly deplore my pronunciation.)

For the record though, I offer here­with the com­plete Welsh Works of Sir Win­ston Churchill—at least those known to me.

Chapter 1

Trechu’r Gores­g­yn­ny­dd is the Welsh ver­sion of Beat­ing the Invad­er, Cohen B76. Bib­li­og­ra­ph­er Ronald Cohen advis­es that it is Churchill’s only Welsh print­ed work. The Min­istry of Infor­ma­tion pub­lished it in May 1941. Mr. Cohen knows of only a sin­gle copy. The press run, how­ev­er, was 160,400. This ver­sion is not in the Cohen Col­lec­tion at Hills­dale Col­lege.

Chapter 2

Emrys Hugh­es (1894-1969).

Churchill had a promi­nent Welsh chal­lenger, the social­ist MP Emrys Hugh­es, who wrote a spu­ri­ous biog­ra­phy of him. In it Hugh­es took the lib­er­ty of bad­ly mis­quot­ing him to sug­gest he hat­ed Ger­mans. Nev­er­the­less, Churchill and Hugh­es nursed a secret mutu­al affec­tion, which they tried to keep well hid­den as they sparred in Parliament.

In Novem­ber 1951, just re-elect­ed Prime Min­is­ter, Churchill appoint­ed the Welsh­man David Llewellyn as Under­sec­re­tary for Welsh Affairs in the Home Office. “His name,” Churchill told the House of Com­mons, “is quite well known through­out the principality.”

Emrys Hugh­es leaped from his seat to demand: “Pro­nounce it.”

“I will,” said Churchill—“Llewellyn.” Then he stunned the House of Com­mons by adding “Môr o gân yw Cym­ru i gyd.” [All Wales is a sea of song.] It was a phrase Churchill learned while attend­ing an Eisteddfod, a Welsh fes­ti­val, thir­ty years before with his friend, David Lloyd George. (His pho­to­graph­ic mem­o­ry nev­er slipped.)

WelshChapter 3

A few days lat­er, Churchill spoke on the forth­com­ing bud­get pro­posed by the new Government.

Mr. Hugh­es rose. “Owing to the pop­u­lar­i­ty the Gov­ern­ment has gained by the reduc­tion of their salaries, is not the Prime Min­is­ter pre­pared to apply the prin­ci­ple to the big item of more than £500,000 spent on the Civ­il List?” (The Civ­il List is an item­iza­tion of funds paid to indi­vid­u­als by the government.)

Churchill did not hes­i­tate. “Dim o gwbl,” he replied. It means “At any time.” Which was a nice Welsh way of say­ing “I’m real­ly not going to tell you anything.”

Thus endeth Sir Win­ston Churchill’s com­plete works in Welsh. Any addi­tion­al dis­cov­er­ies are most wel­come. Which is to say: Mae croe­so mawr i unrhyw ddar­gan­fy­d­di­adau ychwanegol.

One thought on “The Whole Welsh Works of Winston

  1. I only know a lit­tle Welsh (I do know Scot­tish Gael­ic and can read Irish Gael­ic) but I do know that Welsh song is very beau­ti­ful and I have numer­ous record­ings of Welsh. Mairi Macinnes the great High­land singer has record­ed “This Feel­ing Inside” in Eng­lish, Gael­ic and Welsh three of the native lan­guages of the Isles. I always remem­ber my grand­fa­ther, who was from the North ( a High­lander) that the Welsh were the true Britons and that King Arthur was not Eng­lish but a Briton (and his ene­my was the English!!!).

    I heard recent­ly a record­ing of Anthem from Chess in Welsh. “Môr o gân yw Cym­ru i gyd” is a quote, I recall that Andrew Roberts has in his most recent biog­ra­phy; Cym­ru I know is Wales or Cam­bria. Mor is Sea like the Span­ish “Mar” or Gael­ic “Muir” “Gan” (song) reminds me of Gairm (call or shout). But Gael­ic is Q-Celtic (a West­ern dialect) and Welsh is P-Celtic which was an East­ern dialect like Gaul­ish or Gala­t­ian. So despite hav­ing a com­mon ances­tor, Welsh is quite removed from Scot­tish or Irish Gael­ic which curi­ous­ly are clos­er to Latin, Span­ish or Pun­jabi that they are to Eng­lish! Welsh is pho­net­ic along its own lines:
    (This is Eng­lish spelling in the Welsh style)
    so “Yw” is pro­nounced like “you”. yw Cym­ru (is Wales) It’s gram­mar is very for­mi­da­ble and unlike Gael­ic or Span­ish (which have a lot of Latin cog­nates) Welsh uses native terms the way Ger­man does. So I think it is the most dif­fi­cult of the Celtic lan­guages. Here is a lit­tle fun quote I found: 

    Ai hop ddat yw can ryd ddys and ddat yt meiks sens tw yw. Iff yw can ryd ddys, dden yw sawnd ryt and ar redi tw gow hyc­ing in wals widd gof­forawalc dot cwm. Gwd lwc and Haf ffyn.

    Should have sound­ed thus:

    I hope that you can read this, and that it makes sense to you. If you can read this, then you sound right and are ready to go hik­ing in Wales with Good luck and have fun. Won­der­ful Churchill sto­ries thanks!

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