Dictionary of Welsh Biography


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DAVIES , JOHN GRIFFITH ( 1836 - 1861 ), poet and translator ;

second of the four children of John Davies ( Siôn Gymro ), Yetwen , Glandŵr, Pembs. ( 1804 - 1884 ) (q.v.) , and his wife Phoebe , daughter of J. D. Griffiths and grand-daughter of John Griffiths , Glandŵr ( 1731 - 1811 ) (q.v.) . All four children d. when comparatively young: Mary Ann in 1860 when she was 26, Elizabeth in 1859 at 19, David in 1848 aged 5, and John Griffith , who was lost overboard , near Liverpool , from the ship Hibernia , 14 March 1861 , when he was 25 years of age. He was educated at the day school of James Humphreys , Glandŵr , and at New Quay and Templeton (near Narberth ) schools. He was apprenticed to a tailor at Narberth , but inheriting much of his father's gift for learning languages he went to sea as a sailor to visit foreign countries in order to do so. He learnt Latin from his father; afterwards he mastered Hebrew , French , German , and Italian . He wrote a great deal of prose and poetry , mainly translations, but little of his literary work has been preserved and none was published during his lifetime. His translation from the Italian of the ‘ Lament of Petrarch ’ ( Gwylofain Petrarc ), which has appeared since in several biographical notices of him, is perhaps the best-known; a specimen of his published English verse is ‘ The Grave ,’ which appeared in Y Beirniad , 1863 , iv.

Sources:

  • Y Beiriniad , (1) 1859–71; (2) 1911–19 , 1863 , iv, 244;
  • Y Diwygiwr , 1885 , 93;
  • J. Ll. James (Clwydwenfro), ‘Yetwen a'r Teulu’ in Y Diwygiwr , 1888-90 ;
  • Eminent Welshmen: a short biographical dictionary of Welshmen ... from the earliest times to the present , 1908 ;
  • Ben Davies , Siôn Gymro sef buchedd a gwaith y Parch. John Davies, Glandwr a Moreia, Penfro , Llandysul, 1938 , 1938 ;
  • Geiriadur Bywgraffyddol o Enwogion Cymru , i, 196;
  • NLW MSS 8619-28, 11614, 15132.

Author:

William Williams, F.L.A. (1885-1950), Aberystwyth

Published date: 1959