A Gentle Maid In Secret Sighed
or Gwenllian's Repose

(Erddigan Hun Gwenlliam)
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Lesley Nelson-Burns


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The maid referred to was Gwenllian, the daughter of Rhys ap Gruffydd, Prince of South Wales. She was the first wife of Ednyfed Vychan who was the chief counselor of Llewelyn ab Iorwerth (Llewelyn the Great), Prince of Gwynedd from about 1197 to 1240 and who came to rule most of Wales. Gwenllian was renown for her beauty and intelligence. She died in 1236. A gentle maid in secret sigh'd,
"Come back, my only love to me
Come back, my only love,
My only love, to me!"
Proud suitors sought her for their bride
With vows of truth and constancy,
But still the maid for ever sigh'd
"My love, I live or die for thee,
My love I live or die for thee!"

In all bright days of summer time,
"Come back my only love to me,
Come back my only love,
Come back my love, to me."
In darkest days of frost and rime,
My love I live or die for thee,
Live or die for thee."
From matin bell to vesper chime,
The maiden's sigh would ever be,
"My love, I live or die,
I live or die for thee!"

She lingered pining long, long years,
"Come back, my only love to me.
Come back my only love,
Come back my love, to me."
None knew her many bitter tears
She shed for one loved faithfully.
At rest now from her hopes and fears
She sleeps beneath the willow tree.
"My love, I live or die,
I live or die for thee!"
Related Links
From The Songs of Wales
The Royal Edition
See Bibliography for full information.