Trouble at the Inn

(freely translated from Trafferth mewn Tafarn by Dafydd ap Gwylim, 14th Century)


We travelled to a charming town,
(My page and I) of much renown,
Noted for pleasant food and wine
(Well, Tripadvisor says it's fine).
Being a handsome, well-heeled lad;
I took the best room that they had.

Then, in the bar, a drink or three,
And then I saw her bugger me!
A gorgeous lass, with bosom fair,
And I decided, then and there,
To make her mine that very day
(And after that? Well, who can say?)

"Oh, may I buy you dinner, miss?"
(It rarely fails, a line like this
Not for a lad who cuts a dash
And ain't afraid to splash the cash).
Their finest wine, a well-roast beast
As great as any wedding feast,
All helped to get her in the mood,
So, when I whispered something rude
(I was a bold young chap for sure,
Though now of course, I'm more mature),
She blushed, but offered no objection,
This wench of flashing-eyed perfection,
When I suggested we should keep,
Once other guests were all asleep,
A late night bedroom assignation
To consummate our brief flirtation.

When all was dark, a few hours later
(And my lust could no longer wait), a-
Creeping from my room I went,
All fired up, on pleasure bent,
Humming a soft but happy song
And that's when everything went wrong.

The stupid landlord (bloody fool!)
Had left one lonely, unstowed stool
Right in the middle of the floor,
Just inside the bar-room door.
My shins were first to notice it,
And down I went, arse over tit;
I banged my head as well, worse luck,
But still (with stifled cries of 'fuck!')
I thought I had things well in hand
That is, until I tried to stand.

Still dizzy from the blow I'd caught,
I grabbed the table for support.
The table on its trestles tipped,
And from it (as in slo-mo) slipped
A bowl of brass, a plate of tin
They fell down, making such a din!

I dive to still the rolling vessel
My left foot catches on a trestle.
The whole damn table crashes down,
And wakes up half the bloody town.
The pots and pans make such a sound
The dogs all bark for miles around.

Yet somehow no one seemed to care
Enough to rise and come down stairs
Just one gruff cry of "Go to sleep!"
So I determined still to keep
Young love's appointment with my sweet;
And so I staggered to my feet
(Though, limping, stunned and rather stressed
A Welshman can't give of his best).
Indeed I couldn't quite be sure
Of which room I was heading for.

Upstairs I found a big straw bed
But not the lass it seems instead
Of my sweet Blodwyn, lithe and fair,
Three Englishmen lay stinking there,
And when I whispered, "Love, I'm here"
(In Welsh), they started up in fear.
One cried, "It's that damned Taffy git!
"I bet he's come to steal our shit!"

At this the landlord raised the staff
To help flush out the 'bloody Taff',
While I hid in a pitch-dark press,
My shins all bruised, my head a mess.
For hours I cowered there, afraid
(Oh, how devoutly there I prayed!),
And somehow, by the good Lord's grace,
I made it back to my own place.

Forgive me, Jesus, for my lust.
Now, when temptation comes, I just
Think grimly on that dreadful night
And say, 'Never again!' yeah, right!


(23/8/2018)